Los Angeles FC – Match Report vs. Philadelphia Union 09/03/20

Los Angeles FC drew 3-3 with Philadelphia Union in which was a high-level match with a lot of talented players. Los Angeles FC played in a 4-3-3 formation with a single 6. They put very high pressure on Philadelphia and had a lot of movement and variation in midfield, which allowed them to play out of Philadelphia’s pressure and move from their own half to the oppositions box quickly.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Eduard Atuesta

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Colombian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 18/06/1997
  • Current Club: LAFC
  • Career: Independiente Medellín, LAFC
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Eduard Atuesta played as a single defensive midfielder in this match and impressed, even though his performance made me question a few things. When Los Angeles were in possession on their own half, Atuesta would be very actively trying to get into space and receive the ball. The Colombian has good technical ability and is able to play out of pressure using good feints, ball control and dribbling ability. He always wants to get forward and with his off the ball movement, he helps Los Angeles play out of pressure.

Even though he played as a defensive midfielder, he did not hesitate to get into the box and used his smart movement to get into dangerous positions in the box. Also, Atuesta created some chances for his teammates and showed that he has very good vision. The midfielder is capable of creating chances for his side and proved this in the last minute when he put Brian Rodríguez in an 1v1 situation with the goalkeeper, and somewhere in the second half where he put Carlos Vela in front of the goalkeeper.

In defence, Eduard Atuesta played an important role for Los Angeles FC as well. The Colombian often covered the run in behind from Brendan Aaronson well, but let him make a run in behind at once in which he tried to cut the passing lane. Eventually, he did well to make it as hard as possible for Jamiro Monteiro to play the pass and it did not lead to any danger. In another situation, Atuesta covered the run well but could not prevent Aaronson from having a shot on goal.

The 22-year-old often helped out wide when Los Angeles put pressure on Philadelphia and managed to recover possession a lot when he did this. However, against better sides he could get exposed for drifting wide and leaving his position, as there were opponents in space in these situations but Philadelphia did not find them. Also, he proved that he scans well and has good game intelligence. He is able to cover the back of Segura when he drifted wide and Palacios was out of position. In aerial duels, he did very well to use his body to shield off the ball and not allow his opponent to get to the ball.

Overall, it was an exciting game for the Colombian. I will definitely watch more matches to see how he copes against a better side.

Rating – A1

Could be an interesting player for a lot of sides that are in need of a defensive midfielder.

Latif Blessing

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ghanaian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 30/12/1996
  • Current Club: LAFC
  • Career: Liberty Professionals, Sporting Kansas City, LAFC
  • Position: 10 (AM)
  • Secondary position: Right Wing / Left Wing / Central Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Latif Blessing played as a right central midfielder for the first 72 minutes, but moved to right-back after Jakovic got subbed off, which meant that Blackmon moved to centre-back. The 23-year-old Ghanaian is a very intense player who is constantly moving. He always tries to get into space to be able to receive the ball and provide an extra passing option for his teammates. He has very good acceleration but his pace is not that good as his short legs disallow him to keep up with his pace.

The midfielder had a good first touch and did well to link-up with his teammates. His defensive contribution was good, he made sure to intercept passes and recover possession quickly. His intense playing style helped a lot in this and he fits well in this system. At right-back, he nearly scored after he made a good run in behind.

Rating: B1

I’m not too sure if he could step up in the near future, for now he is a strong squad player.

Tristan Blackmon

Player profile:

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 12/08/1996
  • Current Club: LAFC
  • Career: Burlingame Dragons, LAFC, Phoenix Rising (L)
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary position: Central Defender
  • Preferred foot: Right

Tristan Blackmon played as a right-back in the first 72 minutes, but moved to the right central defender position when Jakovic got subbed off. He made some good runs in behind and proved that he can contribute well in attack. Blackmon mostly made overlapping runs but also tucked inside while moving higher up the pitch at times to create space for Carlos Vela to drop deeper and receive the ball near the halfway line.

The American had a rather inconsistent match when it came to on the ball quality. He played some good powerful passes towards the striker, looked press resistant when he could play the pass with his right foot and managed to get past his opponent often in the 1v1. However, at times he looked indecisive in the 1v1 and waited very long with making a move, before trying to get past him, using his physical strength and acceleration. Also, he did not prove to be press resistant when he needed to use his left foot. In other words, he sometimes looked quite clumsy on the ball.

Defensively, he often liked to use his physique which made him win a lot of duels. I will need to rewatch him in the defensive area, when he plays against a side that plays with wingers.

Rating – B1

He looked quite clumsy at times and indecisive, which did not help him in this game. I will need to rewatch him though.

Diego Rossi

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Uruguayan
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 05/03/1998
  • Current Club: LAFC
  • Career: Peñarol, LAFC
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary position: Right Wing / Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Diego Rossi played as a striker in this match and posed a threat with his variation in his play. He had great positional awareness as he always got into space and managed to get into dangerous positions. He either tried to make a run in behind between the two central defenders in or dropped deeper to support the build-up. Especially when Los Angeles tried to counter-attack, Rossi dropped deeper to provide an extra passing option to progress up the pitch quicker.

When he dropped deeper to support the last phase of the build up in the final third, he liked to carry the ball and look for passing options close by to link up with his teammates and move higher up the pitch in the tight spaces to eventually get into shooting position or creating a chance for his teammates. He did the latter a few times as he showed good vision and awareness when he needed to play in the tight spaces and nearly assisted a Carlos Vela goal in the second half.

Diego Rossi scored three times in this match, but two of them got ruled out for offside. In one of them, he made the run slightly too early, but in the other one it can be said that he pass should have been played earlier. In the goal that did count, he showed very good composure and finishing ability to cut inside and curl the ball top corner. In one situation, he sneaked backwards to get into space in the back of the defender and got into scoring position.

The Uruguayan player occasionally switched positions with Carlos Vela and seemed more than capable of operating from the wings as well. He manages to glide past opponents using his great agility, close control and dribbling ability. Overall, it was a very exciting performance by the Uruguayan and it can not take long before he will make a step towards an European top 5 league team.

Rating – A1

He did well to stay out of the duels and showed that he is a striker with a lot of variation in his play which poses a threat for every defence in the MLS.

Eddie Segura

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Colombian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 02/02/1997
  • Current Club: LAFC
  • Career: Deportivo Pereira, Atlético Huila, LAFC
  • Position: Central Defender
  • Secondary position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Eddie Segura played as a left central defender and formed a defensive partnership with the experienced Jakovic. Overall, he did not have an outstanding match, even though he only made one mistake, in which he lost the ball on his own half and Los Angeles nearly conceded a goal. He did well to scan often to see whether he needed to close the gap and to cut the passing lanes towards the running man in behind. He often did well to clear the cross and scored the equalizer in the second half. He looked comfortable on the ball.

Rating – B2

I think he did quite well, but I’m not sure about his potential yet.

Diego Palacios

  • Nationality: Ecuadorian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 12-07-1999
  • Club: Los Angeles FC
  • Career: CS Norte América (Y), CS Norte América, SD Aucas (Y), SD Aucas, Willem II (L), Los Angeles FC
  • Position: left-back
  • Secondary position: left winger
  • Preferred foot: left

Diego Palacios played as a left-back in this match. The Ecuadorian left-back exploited the space that he got on the left well and made a lot of overlapping runs. He is very skilful on the ball, but sometimes was reluctant to use his right foot to play out of pressure and often decided to play a backwards which did not help the build-up. Palacios has a good first touch and is able to play a good long through pass. He got himself into trouble at once when he tried to hold off the ball in his own half, but did not manage to keep hold off the ball in a dangerous area.

In defence, he liked to put pressure very high up the pitch which often was good, but he got caught out a few times when Philadelphia played an over the top pass to the right midfielder, which left Segura isolated. He defended well in the 1v1 duels, he kept looking at the ball and managed to intercept the ball almost every time. He lost most aerial duels as he is not the tallest and struggled in the physical duels. Also, he got a yellow card after he tackled his opponent very wildly in the final third.

Rating – A2

Has a lot of potential, which he already showed at Willem II. Will be interesting to keep track of him in the coming months and years.

Brian Rodríguez

  • Nationality: Uruguayan
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 20-05-2000
  • Club: Los Angeles FC
  • Career: CA Peñarol (Y), CA Peñarol
  • Position: left winger
  • Secondary position: second striker and right winger
  • Preferred foot: right

Brian Rodríguez played as a left winger in this match. He mostly positioned himself close to the sideline to receive the ball in space and being able to attempt a dribble. When he received the ball, he liked to carry the ball aggressively towards the opponent, but when he needed to start his action he looked indecisive and often lost the ball. Also, on a few occasions he took a heavy touch when he was close to the opponent which helped the opponent intercept the ball.

The Uruguayan winger showed that he is able to play passes with both feet, as he played a very good long pass with his left foot in which he proved to have a good technique with his left foot as well. He often liked to slightly cut inside to play a powerful pass with his right foot towards the edge of the box. This was very effective at times, as either Diego Rossi or Carlos Vela was on the end of the pass and they could be dangerous when in space on the edge of the box.

Brian Rodríguez liked to make an immediate move on his first touch when he was being put under pressure immediately, which was very effective as it often resulted in a throw-in for Los Angeles. This is a good way to play out of pressure and to be able to regroup. During the times that he moved centrally, he was more dangerous as he is capable of linking up with his teammates to create space and danger near the box. In the last minute, he missed an easy 1v1 which could have led to the 4-3 for Los Angeles.

Overall, his dribbling ability needs to be improved and he did not finish off his chance in the last minute. He looks dangerous when he plays more centrally and should move inside more often, also to create space for the left-back (in this case Diego Palacios).

Rating – A2

Needs to improve a lot, but he certainly has talent and should play in a slightly different role which would suit him more.

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