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LAFC 2022 Player Postmortem: Jesús David Murillo

The anchor of LAFC’s double-winning backline.

MLS: MLS Cup Championship-Philadelphia Union vs Los Angeles FC Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Jesús David Murillo returned for his third season with LAFC in 2022 and in the process, became the central defensive anchor we were hoping he’d become.

Murillo joined very late in the 2020 season, but he seemed like the heir to being the main man in the back after Walker Zimmerman’s departure prior to that season. But a down 2021 for the Colombian left many wondering if he would be the dominant player LAFC needed as they chased glory.

Fortunately, he bounced back in a major way, and while the headline for the defense in 2022 was Steve Cherundolo’s rotation policy of his center backs, the ultimate key in the back was as much Murillo’s consistency as the rotation of the various players around him. Both parts were true, but with Murillo pretty much being there game in and game out, LAFC had their foundation throughout a busy season.

Here are Murillo’s competitive statistics with LAFC in 2022:

Jesús David Murillo 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 29 27 2,343 2 3 16 4 9 0
U.S. Open Cup 1 1 90 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 3 3 300 1 0 2 1 1 0
Total 33 31 2,733 3 3 18 5 10 0

Murillo has a penchant for picking up yellow cards, but he wasn’t even in the Top 10 in that category in MLS for the season. As far as the advanced stats go, Murillo had a solid +0.61 Goals-added number for the year, per ASA, and his FBref.com scouting report graph shows a veteran who is good a lot of things and not good at very few.

FBref.com

It wasn’t meant to be, but it looked like Murillo was going to be the hero in the MLS Cup Final for LAFC, scoring the go-ahead goal to make it 2-1 in the final minutes of regulation. They still won, he still scored in the final! But here’s probably his biggest highlight of the season:

But it was definitely a season in which Murillo returned to form, and played a key role in LAFC winning the Supporters’ Shield-MLS Cup double. No matter if his partner was Mamadou Fall, Eddie Segura, Giorgio Chiellini or Sebastien Ibeagha, Murillo had the physicality, the intimidation factor, the skill, the occasional attacking burst to be the mainstay in the back, and LAFC benefitted from his consistently strong season.

He’s under contract for 2023, and he’ll turn 29 just before next season kicks off, so Murillo should remain in LAFC’s plans moving forward if he stays healthy. He was outstanding in LAFC’s run to the Concacaf Champions League final in 2020, and I think he’ll be eager to get back at it next year, but LAFC will have a lot of games to play in all competitions, so if he’s up for it, he should be central once again. Murillo ended up being a bit of a bellwether for LAFC’s last two seasons, so hopefully his form remains high, and if so, that may mean LAFC are chasing trophies once again in 2023. Here’s hoping.

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