Los Angeles FC’s Laurent Ciman heads to Ligue 1’s Dijon as his team charges toward the MLS playoffs. With Ciman out, Dejan Jakovic must now be the next man up.
If Charles Dickens wrote sports, he’d scribe: For Los Angeles FC, it’s the best of times. It’s the worst of times for them in MLS.
LAFC stand solidly in MLS Western Conference 3rd place. Head coach Bob Bradley wants to make sure they don’t slip as their former team captain follows his heart back to Europe.
Reluctantly announcing Laurent Ciman’s transfer, LAFC spokespeople remembered how he served as their first captain and scored their first home goal. But that’s not the most effective assets the center-back brought.
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The 2018 All-Star likes to tackle. His aggressive defensive style puts him in position to executive this strengths. Those are: Blocking, intercepting balls and playing long balls forwards. In his best game for Los Angeles, June 24 vs. Columbus Crew, he showed a full array of talents. He won an aerial, got in a tackle and rated among the game’s top performers in possession.
Team officials know the skill set they need to replace Ciman with to keep charging. The media keep hearing the names for the next man up with Los Angeles FC. The next man up with the closest skill set would be Dejan Jakovic. LAFC brass and coaches stay mum, but the scouting reports support that rumor.
He shows up even stronger than Ciman in tackling and passing and his gold-star talent is ball interception. Bradley may very well wonder why they hadn’t relied more on Jakovic before. The answer, for now, lies in his statistical record.
In his best game this season, May 19 vs. Portland, he won a couple aerials, got in a tackle and a dribble. He achieved all of this as one of only three defenders in Bradley’s 3-4-3 formation.
Except for a penchant for conceding penalties, he would have already have won more playing time. He drew a red card in first-half stoppage time in May vs. D.C. United that hampered the team’s efforts. If he works his way out of fouling, he’s the best choice to replace Ciman and could easily improve the team’s performance in their playoff run.
Media reports another emerging talent craving to fill Ciman’s spot. That’s Joao Moutinho. This isn’t the Joao Moutinho with Wolverhampton Wanderers. It’s another Portuguese talent on LAFC’s roster, drafted in January. The scouts are still out on Moutinho. He’s appeared on the substitute roster for LAFC this season. Only Bradley and staff know for sure how ready he is.
So as Los Angeles FC keeps charging toward the MLS playoffs, the next man up, for now, has to be D Dejan Jakovic. He’ll need to leave the penalties in the tunnel.