By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
The Los Angeles Football Club kicked off their six-match preseason with a 3-1 victory against Toronto FC on Sunday evening.
Andre Horta, Diego Rossi, and newcomer, Peter-Lee Vassell scored all three goals for the home side, while Toronto’s Drew Moor pulled one back for the visitors late in the match.
Baggio Husidic, former LA Galaxy midfielder, who is on trial with the club – made his debut for LAFC after entering for Eduard Atuesta before halftime. If given a contract, he can provide some depth in the midfield area.
Although it was only the first match and the results don’t benefit much, it was nice to see a win from the Black and Gold after a string of losses that ended their season early last year.
LAFC will host Columbus Crew, Atlanta United, San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver in Banc of California stadium for the remainder of preseason.
Supporters and the public are invited to attend the second-ever international friendly and season ticket members will have an opportunity to attend the final preseason match on Saturday, Feb. 23.
USMNT Update: Zimmerman and Ramirez scores in Sunday’s win
The United States Men’s National Team kicked off a new era under new head coach Gregg Berhalter on Sunday, opening their 2019 campaign with a 3-0 shutout against Panama at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Following the opening goal from Chicago Fire’s Djordje Mihailovic in the 40th minute, LAFC’s favorite duo Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez scored a pair of goals back-to-back – securing the 3-0 shutout.
January has been a busy month for Zimmerman. After much speculation, Zimmerman and LAFC agreed to a new four-year contract. The center back returns as an elite defender in his prime years – having six years of MLS experience and has been a regular for the U.S. Men’s National Team over the last year.
But Zimmerman wasn’t the only player from the Black and Gold to contribute – Ramirez, 27, earned his first international cap and marked the special occasion with a goal in the 89th minute.
Zimmerman and Ramirez will get another chance to shine on Saturday, Feb. 2, as the USMNT take on Costa Rica in San Jose, California.
Tyler Miller Returns to LAFC
Walker Zimmerman, Christian Ramirez, and Tyler Miller recently completed three weeks of USMNT camp in Chula Vista, California. Unfortunately, the team would leave behind four players, including Miller, before departing to Arizona.
The 25-year-old goalkeeper immediately returned to training with LAFC and played a vital role in Sunday’s contest.
LAFC’s friendly against Vissel Kobe
With the re-signing of Walker Zimmerman and the subsequent return of defenders Danilo Silva and Dejan Jakovic a day later, LAFC is bringing back 18 members of its inaugural squad. And in returning that core, a season after setting the standard for first-year teams in MLS, the club and its fans are asking: What can this group of players achieve with a full season under their belts?
The Black and Gold will have a chance to answer that question as they host Vissel Kobe for a preseason friendly this Thursday.
Vassell, Perez, and Mendoza are Black and Gold
LAFC surprised fans when they traded their first-round pick to FC Cincinnati during the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago.
But head coach Bob Bradley isn’t to be underestimated and the club didn’t leave empty handed as LAFC selected Peter-Lee Vassell, Javi Perez, and Kevin Mendoza.
Here’s what we know about these three draftees:
- Peter-Lee Vassell – 40th overall pick
Before hitting the pitch, Vassell is already an interesting case.
The 19-year-old is one the few players who did not get selected out of college. Instead, the midfielder found his route to the SuperDraft via the 2018 Caribbean Combine, being selected MVP and earning an invite to the main MLS Combine. Additionally, he is on the senior international with Jamaica – having recorded eight caps and five goals, thus far.
- Javi Perez – 64th overall pick
At just 20-years-old, the Spanish midfielder wanted a change of scenery after playing for Spain’s La Liga club Valencia CF – serving as the team’s captain for twelve years.
Perez spent the last two years at the University of Pittsburgh, having started in all 35 games he played. As a senior in 2018, he ranked second on the team with eleven points, four goals, and three assists.
A junior transfer from Spain, Perez was a two-time captain for the Panthers, earning USC All-South Region Third Team honors in 2018 and Second Team All-ACC in 2017-18.
- Kevin Mendoza – 73rd overall pick
Mendoza spent the past four years at Liberty University, earning all-conference honors all four seasons, including first team accolades from 2016-18. A two-year captain for the Flames, Mendoza finished his collegiate career with 32 goals and 15 assists.
The 25-year-old midfielder graduated from Colegio de Bachilleres in his hometown of Mexico City, while also playing for Cruz Azul’s U-17 and U-20 squads.
- Beita Time is back! Steven kicked off the second season of his now infamous interest show when he sat down with Latif Blessing.
- Last week, Mark-Anthony Kaye and Lee Nguyen spoke with media during the team’s first training session.
- LAFC earns multiple award honors in Chicago including four MLS 2018 Club and Executive Awards
- Is Vela next to leave? It was widely rumored that Barcelona has shown interest in the forward. According to the Angels on Parade, Vela did not appear for his time slot but did give an interview to ESPN Deportes addressing the matter.
Featured image: @LAFC
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