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LAFC 2021 Player Postmortem: Danny Crisostomo

Local gets a chance in MLS.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Crisostomo got the chance to make the step up to MLS in 2021. The midfielder, raised in Fontana, wrapped up a NCAA career at UC Irvine in 2018 and made his dream of playing professional soccer a reality, when he signed with Orange County SC in 2019, with fellow USL Championship team Reno 1868 FC pursuing him before inking his first deal.

After two strong seasons with OCSC, in which Crisostomo played a two-way midfield role most of the time, he made the move over to Las Vegas Lights FC in 2021, after they became LAFC’s reserve team.

It was a savvy move in the end, as getting playing time on an admittedly unsuccessful Lights FC team led to an MLS contract and a chance to play in the top flight, with Crisostomo signing his deal in early August.

Here are Crisostomo’s statistics with LAFC this year:

Danny Crisostomo 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 10 5 393 0 1 2 0 2 0

LAFC were 6-3-1 when Crisostomo played, and while he wasn’t the person dictating everything on both sides of the ball, the team got results more often when not when he did feature. I think it’s tough for non-attacking midfielders to really stand out — even a maestro like Eduard Atuesta is often pretty anonymous if you’re not totally keyed in on him while you’re watching a game — and Crisostomo’s two-way role meant he was mostly playing behind the scenes, so to speak.

But he also got a lot of criticism from some LAFC fans. I have to say, on several players, I think the straight-up hate they receive from fans is unwarranted, and I can’t quite tell if Crisostomo became a target in some ways because he was adjusting to MLS or because he wasn’t a star name. If it’s the latter, that’s pretty unfair! He can’t help it if he’s not N’golo Kante.

I think ultimately, he played simple and helped eat up minutes for a squad that was dealing with lots of absences late in the season. In that way he did his job. Did he show he’s ready to be an MLS starter? Probably not yet, but he could probably do a job as a squad player.

LAFC did not pick up his contract option for 2022 and it looks like he won’t be returning. The good news is if another MLS team doesn’t pick him up, he’ll get multiple offers right away from USL clubs, and I think he is a very good player at that level. Crisostomo has beaten the odds before, and he’s still got a lot of soccer ahead of him, and I’ll certainly be pulling for him moving forward.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.