Los Angeles FC Set Build on the Success of Last Season?

LAFC MLS Champions

The 2023 Major League Soccer (MLS) season kicked off on February 25, with supporters of all 29 teams having high hopes for the campaign. Los Angeles Football Club fans have exceptionally high goals for the season, having shone brightly in 2022, winning the Supporters’ Shield for the second time and becoming MLS Cup champions for the first time in their short five-year history.

Los Angeles FC was established in late October 2014 and began playing in the MLS during the 2018 season. The team got off to an impressive start, finishing third in the Western Conference and fifth overall. The following season saw LAFC take the MLS by storm, finishing first in both the conference and overall standings. They also reached the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup and the semifinals of the coveted MLS Cup. However, a couple of mediocre campaigns followed before head coach Steve Cherundolo worked wonders during his first season in charge, guiding LAFC to glory in the MLS Cup again.

A Hugely Successful Season

LAFC won 21 of their 34 fixtures last season, drawing four and losing nine. Those 21 victories set a new record for a first-year coach and are one of the reasons why LAFC are favorites to win the 2023 MLS Cup with the best online sportsbooks in Vegas and further afield.

The team now playing its home fixtures at the BMO Stadium, gained global recognition in 2022 when Welsh superstar Gareth Bale joined the team after leaving Spanish giants Real Madrid. Bale wanted to keep his game sharp in the run-up to the 202 FIFA World Cup, and he put on some dazzling performances in an LAFC jersey, including scoring in the 128th minute in the MLS Cup, sending the game to a penalty shootout, which LAFC ultimately won. Bale has since called time on his long and illustrious career.

Star striker Cristian Arango has also left the club, with the Columbian fan favorite joining Mexican outfit Pachuca. Arango scored 30 goals in 51 appearances in the famous black LAFC shirt, including 16 in 34 games last season. LAFC supporters were sad to see Arango leave, but they have a new superstar to cheer: Denis Bouanga.

Bougana Steps Up To The Plate

Bouanga started his career in France and has played for teams such as Lorient, Strasbourg, Nimes, and Saint-Etienne. LAFC paid $5 million to secure Bougana’s services, and it looks like money well spent. The Gabon international, who wears the number 99 on his back, has scored seven goals in 14 games since joining the team and has six goals and two assists in LAFC’s opening seven games of the 2023 MLS regular season. Bougana and Mexico’s Carlos Vela, whose performances are defying his 34 years, have been unstoppable at times and are one of the main reasons LAFC remain unbeaten (at the time of writing) after the season’s opening seven games.

Two of the team’s other new signings have also hit the ground running. Timothy Tillman, a summer signing from German outfit Greuther Furth, is running things from midfield and has completed more than 86.5% of his passes. Croatian Under 21 international Stipe Biuk has mostly made substitute appearances so far but always makes a nuisance of himself and has shown glimpses of his capabilities.

2023 Has Started Superbly

At the time of writing, LAFC has played seven games, won five, and drawn two, scoring 15 goals and conceding only five. Goalkeeper John McCarthy has kept three clean sheets from the six games he has been in goal, an impressive figure helped by having veteran central defender Giorgio Chiellini and Ecuador’s Diego Palacios in front of him.

LAFC has talent throughout the team, talented that is high on confidence. There is a long way to go before the 2023 MLS Cup, but it would be a massive surprise and shock if LAFC is not there or thereabouts when the MLS Playoffs commence.

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