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LAFC 2022 Player Postmortem: Eddie Segura

A return to action for stalwart defender.

MLS: Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Semifinals-LA Galaxy at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Eddie Segura suffered a torn ACL in the middle of the 2021 season that seemed to ultimately doom LAFC’s hopes of reaching the playoffs. The center back, nicknamed “Steady Eddie” by fans for its rhythm but also because that’s what he is, is not a demonstrative defender who defies physics while making monster stops on opponents. He’s a guy who more often positions himself well in order to not have to make the big tackle that will go on the highlight reel.

With Steve Cherundolo favoring a rotation system with his center backs, Segura was able to take his time in returning to action and it paid off. While the Colombian was unavailable, the lion’s share of the minutes were taken by his compatriot Jesús David Murillo and wunderkind Mamadou Fall, but Sebastien Ibeagha and Doneil Henry put in duty, too.

By the time Segura made his 2022 season debut in late-June, there had been a shift at the position. Murillo remained a fixture, Ibeagha was still available, but Henry was waived to make room for more, Fall had been de facto benched, for some reason, and Giorgio Chiellini had joined the fray. Once Segura started getting minutes, he ended up in a rotation with Murillo, Ibeagha and Chiellini.

Here are Segura’s competitive stats in 2022 with LAFC:

Eddie Segura LAFC 2022 Statistics

2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 14 8 827 0 0 3 1 2 0
U.S. Open Cup 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 1 1 90 0 1 0 0 0 0
Total 15 9 917 0 1 3 1 2 0

Cherundolo preached patience with Segura, first in seeing him back in action and then in seeing him get regular minutes. Segura’s first competitive start came in mid-August, and he was fairly regular the rest of the regular season, helping LAFC win the Supporters’ Shield as the black-and-gold dealt with a bump in the road down the stretch before doing just enough to get that title.

In the playoffs, it was more of a mixed bag for Segura. He started and went the distance in the 3-2 win over the LA Galaxy, assisting on Denis Bouanga’s opening goal for LAFC. But he picked up a leg injury, and missed the win over Austin FC, and then was an unused sub on the bench for the MLS Cup Final. It would have been nice if Segura had been able to play in that game, but considering Cherundolo went with Ibeagha, his fourth choice of four in that group for the biggest game — and to be fair, Ibeagha was immense — I think means that Segura really couldn’t go for a full game, which is a shame.

Segura’s advanced stats from the year show him as a player who is still working his way all the way back to his best. His passing skills and primary defensive metrics on his FBref.com scouting report graph are good, but not quite all the way really elite as we’ve come to expect.

FBref.com

In addition, Segura’s Goals-added metric from ASA this year remained positive, at +0.24, but it was the lowest mark to date in MLS, and well off his stellar +1.98 Goals+ mark in 2019. So if it feels like he wasn’t as dominant this year as when he first arrived, the numbers help back that up.

Segura is out of contract, but when LAFC announced their initial roster decisions for 2023, they said they were in talks to bring him back. Segura isn’t a full MLS Free Agent, so it’s unclear if he would look to go elsewhere in the league at all, but there’s also the option he could go abroad and sign on a free, which may be something he’s interested in. Certainly I think he’s found a home at LAFC, and at his best he’s MLS Best XI caliber, but the last couple years have been a roller coaster — suffering a major injury and missing significant time, but coming out the end of it with another Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup. He may want to stay in LA for the long haul, or he may think the smart move is to wrap it up on top and move onto a new challenge. While there’s certainly a chance he’ll never get back to his best form from 2019, not re-signing Segura would be a big deal for LAFC. They’ve had a lot of instability over the course of the club’s history at center back, and having good veterans able and ready to play is not always a given. Plus, with LAFC playing in so many competitions next year, they need as many competent bodies as possible.

So I hope Segura re-signs, but we’ll see what happens. No matter what, seeing him back on the field this year was great, and he’s been a key player for this club for several years and so seeing him win the double with the black-and-gold was special. What’s next for Eddie Segura? Time will tell.

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