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LAFC 2021 Player Postmortem: Eddie Segura

Torn ACL sunk player’s — and team’s — season.

Los Angeles FC v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Eddie Segura has been one of LAFC’s iron men the past two years, and it looked like it would continue in 2021, the steady center back anchoring the black-and-gold defense. But the soccer gods had other plans.

The Colombian started all but one game, until he was cut down with a torn ACL in late-July, which arguably wrecked the team’s season along with his.

The 24-year-old is the “ice” to his typical center back partner’s “fire,” whether that was Walker Zimmerman previously or Jesus David Murillo more recently. With Segura’s more subdued play, it can help bring out the best in the other starter. When that “fire” guy is out or Segura is, the defense has tumbled off a cliff. And while the struggles of LAFC’s defense persisted throughout the season, Segura’s absence in the final months of the campaign was arguably as significant as Carlos Vela’s for most of that span, as the club missed the playoffs entirely for the first time.

Here are Segura’s stats in 2021:

Eddie Segura 2021 LAFC Statistics

2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS 15 14 1,285 0 2 8 2 1 0

Segura’s comparison to other players in MLS took a hit in 2021, and while he plays more progressive passes for his position than just about anyone, and is generally sound at the ball- and man-playing defensive categories, he also didn’t put up MLS Defender of the Year numbers, something I’ve thought him capable of doing in the past.

Assuming he comes back at a comparable level from his torn ACL, and these days nearly every player does, I think that is the challenge for Segura moving forward. Under Bob Bradley, Segura was something of a safety pin for a backline that was under extreme pressure most of the time. When the whole team was playing well, scoring almost at will, demoralizing opponents and just dominating the game, the defense could handle the pressure and put together good numbers. When there was any test of depth, however, the defense was normally the unit that crumbled fastest and hardest. Segura had been the lock in the back, but his season-ending injury weakened the team even further. The only silver lining was the emergence of teenager Mamadou Fall down the homestretch of the season, but once Segura is healthy one expects him to be back in the starting XI more often than not.

Given Bradley’s attack-first mindset, if the next head coach offers more balance, that should help the defense collectively and make Segura’s job easier. And if the team is truly successful, perhaps he’ll be back in the mix as one of the league’s best defenders. I think when healthy, Segura is a player you can and should build a team around for as long as possible — we’ve seen the sustained reaction to Zimmerman’s departure, after all, and it’s safe to say that top MLS center backs still don’t grow on trees. Hopefully there’s more growth yet in Segura’s game and he can help LAFC reach greater heights in the future, after a 2021 full of adversity.

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