Category Archives: Los Angeles FC

Los Angeles FC

The Road to Russia: Vela, Gaber, Beitashour and Ureña from LAFC named to provisional rosters

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Monday was a busy day for LAFC as the club announced four players named to their national team’s provisional squads, respectively. In addition to, Los Angeles will serve as one of the host cities for the Gold Cup in 2019.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is starting to heat up as managers of all 32 countries competing in the 2018 tournament officially released the provisional squad rosters on Monday. Each country’s coach selected between 30-35 players for their provisional squads.

Teams have until June 4 to announce their official 23-man tournament roster. However, some coaches have already announced their final rosters before the deadline. Including, Costa Rica’s head coach Óscar Ramírez.

The month-long tournament will kick off on June 15 with the group stage running till the 28th before going on a two-day break for the knockout phase. The final will take place on July 15 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

LAFC is the only MLS club with the most potential participants in this year’s tournament and is expected to have multiple players called up by their respective national teams:

Steven Beitashour – Iran

For the first time since 2014, defender Steven Beitashour has been called up by the Iranian National Team and has the opportunity to make his second appearance for the squad in the 2018 World Cup.

The San Jose native first featured for the Iranian National Team in 2013 and appeared in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He notched an assist in Iran’s 3-0 win over Thailand in Asian Cup qualifications in 2013 and was on the bench for the national team’s three group matches in Brazil.

Iran is the first team from the Asian Football Confederation to stamp their ticket to Russia. Iran was drawn into group B with Morocco, Spain, and Portugal – arguably the toughest group in the tournament. If selected, Beitashour could face Ronaldo.

Despite, the controversial call-ups of Masoud Shojaei and Ehsah Haji Safi – both players who were initially banned for life last year after playing for their Greek club Panionios against an Israeli team – Beitashour remains on the 35-man provisional roster. There is a chance he will not make the trip as head coach still has less than a month to whittle down his squad to 23 players for the tournament.

Omar Gaber – Egypt

Omar Gaber was named to Egypt’s 29-man provisional squad as The Pharaohs prepares for their first World Cup appearance since 1990. The 26-year-old defender is a veteran of World Cups in youth tournaments for Egypt and now has a chance to make his first appearance for the senior competition led by head coach Hector Cuper.

Egypt was selected to play in Group A with Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and the host country, Russia. Although Egypt won’t play the host country until June 19, Gaber’s presence can be huge for the team. Gaber has played 18 times for Egypt, appearing in five games in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

Carlos Vela – Mexico

Vela has been vital to the black and gold’s current success having scored his sixth MLS career goal this past Sunday in a dramatic 2-2 draw against New York City FC. Named to the 28-man preliminary roster by the boss Juan Carlos Osorio, Vela has a chance to bring his talent back to the world stage.

A veteran of the 2010 World Cup, Vela has been a consistent starter during Mexico’s qualifying campaign and helped his team stamp their ticket to Russia. Vela skipped the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to a long-standing dispute with the national team. However, he returned to the roster later that year. The forward has recorded 67 appearances and 18 goals for El Tri and is now on the verge of his second World Cup appearance.

Mexico was drawn into Group F consisting of Germany, Sweden, Korea Republic. Mexico is set to start their run on June 17 against the current World Cup champions and will need Vela’s help to hold off the German powerhouse.

Marco Ureña – Costa Rica

The 28-year-old LAFC forward Marco Ureña is part of the squad that will represent Costa Rica this summer and has been a key player for both club and country. Costa Rica’s head coach Óscar Ramírez announced his final roster the same day before the deadline, making it Ureña’s second World Cup selection.

The forward recently underwent surgery to repair a facial fracture injury he acquired in LAFC’s home opener against Seattle on April 29. As he continues to heal, it is expected Ureña will make the trip to Russia, and likely to play, too.

Although it is an honor to be called up for national duty, this means Ureña could possibly miss five games including the friendly against Borussia Dortmund, and potentially longer depending on how far Costa Rica advances.

Featured image courtesy: @FIFAWorldCup

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LAFC weekly update: LAFC signs Lee Nguyen and Adama Diomandé

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

This week has been a busy week for the black and gold. Following their historical first home win with a late goal from Laurent Ciman, the club adds Lee Nguyen and Adama Diomande to the roster. Including, returning to late night TV for some soccer practice with James Corden.

Historical Night

It was a night for the books filled with moments like Will Ferrell holding a falcon and the crowd singing the national anthem in perfect harmony. The best moment of all came when Ciman scored the lone goal during stoppage time delivering LAFC their first home victory.

Banc of California Stadium is ready to do it all again this Saturday as the club hosts FC Dallas. Kickoff is at 12:55 pm PT.

LAFC is currently in 2nd place in the Western Conference just behind Sporting Kansas City by two points.

Roster Movements

Nguyen, a 6-year MLS Veteran and US international, joins LAFC after a long career with the New England Revolution. Last season, Nguyen put up 11 goals and 15 assists, his third straight campaign with double-digit assists. Overall, he’s logged 51 goals and 49 assists in six MLS seasons. The 31-year-old requested a trade during the offseason and reported to camp in the latter part of the preseason after a rumored standoff with the club.

It seems he finally got the trade he’s always wanted as he enters Bradley’s team – who gave Nguyen his debut on the US national team in 2007 – this week. Nguyen joined the team for his first practice Thursday evening and could debut Saturday.

LAFC then completed their deal with the Norwegian striker before the primary transfer window closed. The 28-year-old moves to Los Angeles after Hull City canceled his contract allowing him to join the MLS expansion side.

Diomandé spent most of his career in his native country and most notably played for Stabaek when Bob Bradley was the coach there. His scoring rate hasn’t been favorable as he only scored 82 goals in 222 club appearances during his career.

However, under the supervision of Bradley, he scored 25 goals in 26 games for Stabaek. So there is hope. Of course, his signing does raise some eyebrows since this addition now puts LAFC over the international slot allotment.

Late Late Soccer Practice

Owner Will Ferrell and LAFC players Tyler Miller, Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour, Jordan Harvey, and Mark-Anthony Kaye appeared on the Late Late Night Show with James Corden for the second time in a row Thursday night. Sadly, the team did not have a rematch – with Corden and LLS FC – but instead opted to play games as the host spun on a wheel donning a soccer ball on his chest. One by one the players took turns at trying to kick the ball through the hole on the wheel.

Featured image courtesy: @LAFC

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LAFC set to host Inaugural Home Opener

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Heart of LA comes to life Sunday night as the Los Angeles Football Club hosts their inaugural home opener in the brand new Banc of California stadium.

Welcome, Home!

The 22,000 seat-stadium is nicknamed the “Heart of LA” as it sits in the historical Exposition Park – which encompasses infamous sites like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California African American Museum, California Science Center museum, and the upcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Decked out in the club’s signature black and gold, this stadium strives to break the mold of a traditional soccer venue. It offers a diverse selection of spaces like the Field Level Club, Founders Club, Sunset Deck, Figueroa Club and the Directors Lounge. All of which can be rented for events. Personally, I would rent the Sunset Deck. It has a swimming pool.

Hidden inside the Director’s Lounge is a room specially designed for the owners and their guests. According to Alex Dwyer from MLSSoccer.com, he states this room is “so exclusive, it’s hidden to the naked eye.” With an ownership group comprised of sports legends, company founders, video game creators, and actors, they had plenty of input in the stadium’s design.

Finally, my personal favorite feature is the breathtaking view of the downtown Los Angeles’ skyline and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Supporters Section

The team has had endless support from its fan base since day one. Fans hosted watch parties across Los Angeles in addition to an official watch party held by LAFC, during the club’s six-game road campaign.

Earlier this week, The 3252 had a chance to test out the new safe standing space. Banc of California stadium is the first stadium in the MLS to have safe space rail seating and is also the steepest in MLS with 34 degrees.

Although season tickets are already sold out, tickets for the supporters’ section are $20.

Transportation

LA traffic is the worst. Luckily, LAFC took this issue into consideration and provides a wide variety of transportation options.

Banc of California is located across the street from USC and is accessible by the Metro Expo Line and the 110 freeway. Including, bicycle parking with a bike valet capability for up to 440 bicycles. LAFC has partnered with Lyft and has a pick-up and drop-off designated location. Like the StubHub Center, they have also implemented the clear bag policy. So plan accordingly.

Featured image courtesy: @LAFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

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From the Soccer Capital of America to the City of Angels

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Hello! My name is Araceli Villanueva. Soccer is not just a sport to me. It’s a religion. Born and raised in Kansas City, I have watched, played, and lived every moment in its existence. Now I get to write about it which is pretty sweet!

It all started with a soccer game. Like most, I played soccer when I was really young and gained an appreciation for the beautiful game as I got older. I still remember going to games when Sporting Kansas City – formerly the Kansas City Wizards – played at Arrowhead Stadium. I was hooked.

My writing career began when I joined my college’s newspaper and covered local soccer teams from all divisions. Shortly after graduation, I started following the English Premier League, La Liga, and Liga MX more closely. After watching these passionate fans both on TV and in person, I became interested in exploring the soccer culture in different cities.

This curiosity has taken me across the country visiting new cities like Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and New York City. Words can’t describe most of my adventures I’ve experienced. My most memorable trip was in 2016 when I attended a Copa America Centenario match in Pasadena, California where I cheered on Mexico with over 80,000 fans in the legendary Rose Bowl. That was truly an experience I’ll never forget.

I began observing Los Angeles FC after the MLS announced its introduction into the league. I frequently travel to Los Angeles and witnessed first-hand the new rivalry brewing between LAFC and LA Galaxy fans. I’ll admit I was hesitant at first after the disbanding of Chivas USA in 2014. However, with a star-studded roster in hand including signings like Carlos Vela, Laurent Ciman and KC’s two favorite players Latif Blessing and Benny Feilhaber they were already making waves.

LAFC kicked off their inaugural season with an impressive start and is quickly gaining attention from across the league. I look forward to digging deeper into the new LAFC and LA Galaxy rivalry and general club news.

If you want to learn more about LAFC, Sporting KC or just general soccer knowledge give me a follow on Twitter.

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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