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LAFC 2020 player postmortem: Danny Musovski

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Living proof you gotta shoot your shot.

Los Angeles FC v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Danny Musovski got a second chance at MLS, and made the most of it in 2020.

The forward had been drafted out of UNLV by the San Jose Earthquakes, but he never got on the field for them, and was cut after a season. He went a bit closer to home to his native Nevada, and signed with Reno 1868 FC after a successful loan stint there while on the Quakes roster, and found success in a competitive USL Championship Western Conference.

I’ll be honest, when Musovski signed I wondered if he would see the field for LAFC in 2020. That’s not really meant as a slight on the player, to be honest. But ahead of him on the depth chart coming into the season was Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, Brian Rodriguez, Adama Diomande and Bradley Wright-Phillips — could a young American with no MLS game experience really break through that forward corps?

Well, some things out of his control broke his way, with Diomande exiting the club midseason and Vela out injured the majority of the MLS season, and he took advantage of his opportunities.

In his third appearance off the bench for the black-and-gold, Musovski scored a garbage-time goal. When you’re a forward, garbage-time goals can be valuable! They were for this guy.

Two games later, he got his first start, the disastrous loss at Real Salt Lake. Then he came off the bench for 10 minutes in the next game, and — guess what? — another garbage-time goal. Two goals just like that, in just a handful of games, mostly off the bench.

Here were Musovski’s stats in 2020:

Danny Musovski 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 15 6 629 5 1 20 15 0 0
MiB Knockouts 2 0 23 0 0 2 1 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CCL 3 3 148 0 0 4 1 0 0
Total 20 9 800 5 1 26 17 0 0

By that point, Musovski was in the middle of a 14-game run where he played every game, some starting, some off the bench. He scored a brace against the Seattle Sounders, when LAFC were extremely shorthanded and few thought they would win, and he got MLS Player of the Week for his exploits.

And then he scored the winning goal in the rivalry against the LA Galaxy, a contested goal, yes, but it won the game and his part in it wasn’t contested at all.

So I’d say Musovski’s rise was nothing short of remarkable. In a season where a lot more players than usual got a chance to run around and show what they could do, he was by far the biggest beneficiary, and really showed he not only could play in MLS, he could also contribute winning goals, too. With Dio gone and Vela out much of the season those five goals turned out to be pretty useful, never mind the source.

I think 2021 is going to be a really interesting year for Musovski. When it came to the run to the Concacaf Champions League final, he played major minutes but looked a bit off, whether that was rust, injuries he was still shaking off or just an elevation in the level of the competition. Still, I think his willingness to run hard and battle for balls on mostly hopeless chases was useful, to help create space for Vela and Rossi and to wear out defenders for a fresh forward to come on in the second half.

If he stays healthy, Musovski will get more playing time, although Bob Bradley is likely to rotate between him, Corey Baird, Christian Torres and Mahala Opoku and see which player, if any, stand out and make the case for more playing time. It could very well be Musovski, but I think if he gets more playing time, there will be an expectation, inside and outside the club, that he’ll need to step his scoring rate up. Not because the five goals he tallied last season was bad, but because expectations regarding his ceiling have been raised, and he’ll be asked to raise his game.

So the story of Danny Musovski was absolutely one that was a pleasant surprise for LAFC. Another player who got a chance at MLS level after a successful USL stint, he seems to have more room to grow, and if he does progress, then LAFC will have a diamond in the rough they’re polishing to get even brighter. I’m excited to see what the future holds, and who knows, this could be just the beginning of an unorthodox but successful MLS career.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.