Beginning with Wednesday’s Los Angeles Football Club match in Austin, Texas, Major League Soccer’s rosters will be locked until the MLS Cup on December 11.
With a third of the schedule left before the season begins, the roster freeze date, September 15 at 5 p.m. PT, is the last chance for the 27 teams to tinker with the names on the back of their jerseys.
On Monday, LAFC announced its final move to 2021, signing free agent goalkeeper Jamal Blackman. The 27-year-old came in as Chelsea youth academy product Pablo Cisniaga, opening day starter who turned out to be a wiser for Tomas Romero, underwent a minor corrective procedure last week to repair an injured nose.
Against Austin FC, LAFC will support Romero with MLS pool goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsinh, who suited up for Orlando last week.
“As always, it’s part of making sure we have all situations covered as we go down the stretch,” said LAFC head coach Bob Bradley. “It’s the end of the year and it’s important to have some depth.”
Cisniaga is one of 10 players officially listed as LAFC chiefs in Austin, although only two, Eduard Atuesta (ankle) and Sebastián Ibegha (yellow card accumulation) contributed during the most recent stretch when the club placed a potential nine. Scored seven points from After four straight losses.
Since Carlos Vela extended his right quadriceps on 21 August, Atuesta captained the latter three games, and the Colombian midfielder grabbed the role with a neck crack.
“We have, in fact, been working on Eduard’s leadership for the last two seasons,” Bradley said. “It’s a role that he feels he can develop into. That he feels he has pluses as a leader. We would all agree.”
Late in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake, Atuesta became animated and scolded South Korean defender Kim Moon-hwan, who ran the length of the field late for joining the attack at a time when the captain was caught. was focusing on what he had.
Bradley said, “Leadership isn’t just the captain’s armband, it’s holding everyone accountable to each other that in these moments everyone has to react as a team and make sure the situation doesn’t stand a chance for the other team.” become.”
During the last two games, Atusta’s goal and three assists, which was good for the team’s best-of-seven, were just as important as his on-field presence.
Atuesta has teamed up with his countryman, forward Christian Arango, who has brought life to the LAFC attack since joining the team in early August, finding the lucky Senegalese defender on the receiving end of two perfect crosses. The year-old Mamadou Fall is performed. .
“We try to hold each other accountable,” Fall said. “It’s not easy, but we keep improving everyday in practice and try to get the job done. And I think we’re getting better.”
Playing without Atuesta in Austin, LAFC (8-9-6, 30 points) cannot afford to drop points.
After a 3–0 loss in Houston, Austin (5–14–4, 19 points) has the worst record in the Western Conference prior to the third meeting with the LAFC.
This marked LAFC’s first visit to the Q2 Stadium in Austin after an early 2–0 loss at the Bank of California Stadium. The mid-match of a season-long series that won three games in July resulted in a similar scoreline.
Sweeping the season series on Wednesday would give LAFC its second nine-point stretch of the year, and improve the team’s 5-0 record against expansion teams – all shutouts.
LAFC vs Austin FC
When: Wednesdays, 6 p.m. PT
where: Q2 Stadium, Austin, Texas
TV: Bali Sports SoCal, Estrella TV (Spanish)
radio: 1110 AM, 980 AM (Spanish)