LAFC in Review: Defenders

LA Sports Access is continuing its review of the LAFC squad during their inaugural season. This time around, we are putting the defenders under the microscope.

Let’s get things started.

Walker Zimmerman

The 25-year-old central back, Zimmerman, emerged as one of the better young defenders in U.S. soccer. His defensive metrics soared, especially after LAFC’s captain to begin the year departed for Belgium.

Zimmerman’s reading of the game was superb. He cleared the ball away from danger over 4.5 times per match, while creating under 2.5 interceptions.

But, the Georgia native created opportunities on offense well, especially towards the later stages of the season. Zimmerman notched four goals, all off of set piece opportunities.

There is no wonder why Zimmerman is gaining interest from a variety of potential suitors during this upcoming transfer window.

Laurent Ciman

With the 6’0 Belgian patrolling the back line, LAFC’s defense was menacing. Not only was the current Dijon center back an excellent defender, Ciman thrived further up the pitch.

He would win the ball in the attack third before either sending in a wicked cross into the area or attempting shots from distance. Ciman could also rip free kicks from all sorts of distances, as long as it was more central to the game.

However, once Ciman departed for Ligue 1, cracks appeared in the LAFC back line. To say he was an important figure would be an understatement.

If Ciman stayed the entire season, who knows how far this club could have gone.

Danilo Silva

After coming in on a five-month loan from Internacional, Danilo Silva solidified the hole that Ciman left following his departure. While he was not as physical as Ciman, Silva was a sturdy defender in his own right.

Often times, the Brazilian would find himself in situations where he was often the last line of defense. But time and time again, Silva made the necessary defensive play to keep the ball from going into the net.

Jordan Harvey

The 34-year-old defender had a very solid season for the Los Angeles club. Harvey completed over two tackles a match while clearing the same amount away from goal.

Steven Beitashour

The veteran outside back did not have the greatest of seasons under Bob Bradley. It is probably one of the main reasons why the club let him go this offseason.

Often times, Beitashour looked lost and was out of position, leading to dangerous attacks from the opposition.

Joao Moutinho

Joao Moutinho played fewer than 1,000 minutes of soccer this season for LAFC, starting only 10 matches and coming off the bench for another four.

But with Beitashour’s departure, expect the young Portuguese defender to see his minutes go way up next year.

Dejan Jakovic

Jakovic did not see much playing time during LAFC’s first year in Major League Soccer. However, he was steady during his 15 matches, which included 13 starts.

Omar Gaber

The Egyptian international could have provided vital depth during the closing part of the season. However, due to a family matter, Gaber left LAFC early to return to his home in Egypt.

Tristan Blackmon

At 22, the young defender spent time developing at USL side Phoenix Rising FC. This was good for him, especially as the club reached their first ever USL championship.

How does LAFC get better at the back next season? Replacing the departed defenders. Will the replacements be half as good as the defenders that left? Or is LAFC going to take a step back? All of this will be unveiled throughout the offseason.

Check back next week when we review the crop of midfielders.

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