The first of five games that may be the last for Ricardo Pepi in a Dallas uniform.
My friends, all manner of questions hang about our game tonight. LAFC enters the match in 9th place in the Western Conference on 37 points with five games to play. They still have a chance at the playoffs and will be desperate for the three points. But they haven’t been especially dangerous on the road. 0W-1D-2L is their last three road games. 1W-1D-3L in their last five matches overall.
Diego Rossi was sold. Carlos Vela… has not been so Carlos Vela this year (17 appearances; 5 goals). The name you’ll want to pay attention to on the lineup card is Cristian Arango: 8 goals in 12 appearances since joining LAFC from Millionarios in August. The 26-year-old Colombian striker has spent years in Benfica’s system and had several loan stints before finally being sold to Millionarios. Now he’s bringing his offensive bite to LA’s attack.
You might also watch 18-year-old Senegalese defender Mamadou Fall who filled in for the injured Eddie Segura. He’s chipped in three goals too and there may be a toy train-sized hype train getting started in LA.
But the questions… what will Vela do? Will Bob Bradley be back next year? In all seriousness, I don’t really care. Bradley said Vela and Eduard Atuesta were unlikely to travel to Dallas. I’ll leave it at that.
So here’s what I’m interested in: note, these questions aren’t about LAFC and the Black and Gold are largely irrelevant to my concerns.
1) Who deserves to be back next year for FC Dallas? I keep telling myself I’m going to make a more detailed article out of this question, but right now I’m interested to see who Dallas plays in midfield. If Acosta and Quignon continue to ride the bench, does that mean the front office values Servania and Cerillo enough to keep them? Quignon is under contract, but there was a dream of a Homegrown starting eleven. A midfield of Pomykal, Servania, and Cerillo could help that dream.
2) Speaking of, how is Paxton Pomykal doing? He’s under contract for next season (one of the few I can say that about). We know Pepi is highly likely to leave in the next window for a league record fee. There have also been rumors of interest in Jesus. If Jesus goes, too, is Paxton ready to be the centerpiece of this team? If Jesus stays, what formation do we play next year? And where does Paxton play? At this point in his career, he needs a position to call his own – not a place to fill in because the team has a hole.
3) Tafari. His contract is up. Will the club keep him? Funds have already been invested in Matt Hedges and Jose Martinez for the next two seasons. Will Tafari play under Marco Ferruzzi and what does that mean in regard to his value for the club?
LAFC Injury Report:
OUT: Mahala Opoku (left knee), Eddie Segura (right knee), Erik Duenas (left knee), Julian Gaines (pelvic stress fracture), Alvaro Quezada (chest)
QUESTIONABLE: Tristan Blackmon (left adductor), Carlos Vela (right quad), Eduard Atuesta (right shoulder)
Probable Line Up: 3-4-1-2
Arango – Musovski
Edwards – Ginella -Blessing – Kim
Farfan – Murillo – Fall