LAFC emerged victorious over LA Galaxy by a score of 3-2 in the latest edition of “el trafico.” As with most meetings between these two teams it was a very open game with lots of chances for both teams. LAFC played in a 4-3-3 that heavily relied on Carlos Vela creating chances from wide areas. The Galaxy played a 4-4-2 with Dejan Joveljic dropping deeper off of Chicharito.
- Nationality: Ecuador
- Age: 23
- Date of Birth: 12/03/1999
- Current Club: LAFC
- Career: CD Universidad Catolica, CD America de Quito
- Position: Centre Midfielder
- Preferred foot: Right
Jose Cifuentes played as one of the dual eights for LAFC in this match. He played quite an attacking role, often occupying advanced pockets of space and even rotating out to the wing when Carlos Vela moved into more central positions. He had an extremely strong match, performing well in all aspects of the game.
Cifuentes was often positioning himself high up the field to receive the ball in pockets of space. He showed fantastic off-the-ball movement, which allowed him to receive the ball in good areas and distribute it. It also allowed him to score two goals, both of which were due to him evading markers and having more or less a free header. He also created a good chance for himself by playing a 1-2 at the edge of the box but his eventual shot on goal was stopped. He had the pace to get forward and join attacks, even if it was his pass that started the move.
Cifuentes also dropped deep to pick the ball up and dictate the tempo of play. He had a strong first touch and a good range of passing. There were a couple of times when his passes went astray but it was usually when he was trying to make something ambitious happen so I think it’s forgivable. He was able to play short passes in tight areas and play more long-range progressive passes as well.
Cifuentes is not exactly a ball-winning midfielder but he was very willing to track back and made some timely defensive interventions, winning the ball back frequently. His defensive pressure often forced opponents into making mistakes. His defensive work was key to LAFC’s 3rd goal.
There was one instance where he got quite upset with a teammate who he got his wires crossed with. He did turn right around and go back to playing so it wasn’t necessarily the sign of a terrible attitude but I don’t like to see players berating their teammates.
Cifuentes has been a top 5 player in MLS this season and this game was another strong entry. I think he could comfortably play in a big 5 league or a Champions League level club in a smaller league. If Cifuentes is still wearing an LAFC shirt this time next year then scouts in Europe aren’t doing their jobs.