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LAFC 2020 player postmortem: Jordan Harvey

Defender appears to have found fountain of youth.

Los Angeles FC v Portland Timbers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Jordan Harvey was one of LAFC’s first MLS Free Agent signings ahead of their debut season in 2018, and the ageless wonder continues to go strong.

I suspect pretty much every year since he started at LAFC, the expectation of the club was that this would be the last year for Harvey playing on the squad, surely he’ll hit a wall and will gracefully retire, there’s no way he can keep going.

But 2020 was Harvey’s 15th season in MLS, and while he relinquished his grip on the starter’s role for the first time since he broke through with the Colorado Rapids in 2008, he still played a pretty useful role.

Here are Harvey’s stats in 2020:

Jordan Harvey 2020 LAFC Statistics

2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 11 8 757 0 1 2 0 4 0
MiB Knockouts 2 0 19 0 0 1 1 0 0
Playoffs 1 1 56 0 0 0 0 0 0
CCL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 14 9 832 0 1 3 1 4 0

Most of the season, Harvey was a backup for Diego Palacios at left back, the Ecuadorian taking over as the starter there, as expected.

But Harvey still held off a much younger Mohamed El Munir as the backup, and then the season got really interesting.

After barely playing to start the 2020 campaign, down the stretch Harvey played major minutes. And it wasn’t just that — for a player who had been exclusively a left back in MLS, availability crises at right back and center back meant LAFC needed bodies at those positions, and Harvey filled in several games at center back, in a pinch.

For a player so experienced at a fullback position, it’s pretty rare to start getting minutes at center back so late in the game, but Harvey has a couple attributes that lent itself to an emergency move central: He remained elite at blocks, clearances and aerial challenges in 2020. Honestly, Harvey has hit the point in his career where one of his go-to moves is to put his body in front of any shot from distance, reminiscent of hockey defenders who lay down and just get smashed by pucks. It’s dirty work, it’s dangerous, but Harvey is willing to do his bit if it stops a goal.

I suppose it shouldn’t have been a surprise, therefore, that Harvey was re-signed for the 2021 season recently. He’s just turned 37(!), but he keeps himself in shape, he doesn’t get hurt, and he showed last season he could sit on the shelf for a while and then hit the field and look good. I’m sure Harvey’s being brought back for his intangibles and leadership and stuff too, and I expect LAFC are not expecting him to play a heavy load of minutes this year, but again, the guy just won’t quit, and he continues to do a job.

There are those who think Harvey’s yeoman approach to his position makes him an easy target to want to get rid of, but again, he’s continuing to outperform expectations. The guy has been a steady pro for more than a decade, and even with a diminished role, he still stepped up, and in a pretty significant way, with LAFC desperate. I make no predictions on if 2021 will be the final season for him or not, but I think he’s proven at this point he’s earned the ability to get the benefit of the doubt if he can go another year.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.