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LAFC 2020 player postmortem: Francisco Ginella

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Midfielder was quietly consistent in debut season for black-and-gold.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Francisco Ginella joined LAFC and was thrown straight into the fray, starting for the black-and-gold in their 2020 curtain-raiser, the road game in Concacaf Champions League against Club León.

The Uruguayan midfielder was one of two additions in the middle of the field for LAFC in 2020 that provided more depth and showed a succession plan of sorts for the near future, alongside Jose Cifuentes.

At first, Ginella got the opportunity and took advantage, needing to slot in for Eduard Atuesta with the Colombian not yet available in Champions League. And Ginella looked great in his debut.

From there, how did he do? I will say I think he hit a wall as the season wore on, and he ended up playing in nearly every LAFC game during the season, which probably wasn’t the plan coming in. As Cifuentes, who was a bit of a slow starter in 2020, came on and got comfortable, Ginella seemed to fade a bit down the stretch, although I wouldn’t say he was bad or totally unworthy of playing time.

Here are Ginella’s stats in 2020:

Francisco Ginella 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 22 14 1,159 1 4 10 5 3 0
MiB Knockouts 2 0 35 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 1 0 17 0 0 1 0 0 0
CCL 4 1 141 0 0 1 0 0 0
Total 29 15 1,352 1 4 12 5 3 0

In looking at his advanced stats on FBref.com, Ginella’s profile compares favorably with his LAFC teammates, who pretty much profile well across the board. Ginella is strong all over the place, except on most of his “pure” defensive metrics.

Still, I think this gives a deeper look at his debut season in MLS, and shows that while he wasn’t really producing wows late in the season, he was still at the very least a steady hand for LAFC throughout.

In fact, I think Ginella, who just turned 22, is probably an analogue for Atuesta in the end. Both players can score occasionally, both put in the work defensively, albeit on a quiet basis, but they are both strong passers. On top of that, Atuesta showed glimpses of his potential in his first season in MLS, before really settling in his second season with LAFC and turning into a star. I can’t guarantee Ginella will hit that same progression, but I would not be shocked if he makes a big step up this year, now that he has a year of experience stateside under his belt.

And frankly, he may need to, with competition likely to be fierce in midfield in 2021 for LAFC. With five players who are not only starter-capable, but most or all of them in contention for MLS Best XI, the main midfield corps is absolutely stacked. I think Bob Bradley will rotate his midfield to keep everyone fresh anyway, but Ginella’s path to the lineup is far from set in stone, and hopefully that pushes him to get better and keep working on his game.

Let’s close with his goal on the season. It was a promising debut season for Ginella, but I think there’s the hope that we’ve only seen the beginning, and if that’s the case, the Uruguayan’s signing will be another savvy pickup by LAFC.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.