Los Angeles Football Club, commonly referred to as LAFC, is an American professional soccer team based in Los Angeles. The club competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league's Western Conference. The club was established on October 30, 2014, and began play during the 2018 season as an expansion team. The club plays their home matches at Banc of California Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium located in Exposition Park.

The managing owners of the club are Brandon Beck, Larry Berg, and Bennett Rosenthal. Los Angeles FC also has a variety of other part owners. The club's inaugural head coach was Bob Bradley, who served from 2017 to 2021. During their second season, Los Angeles FC won the Supporters' Shield with club captain Carlos Vela earning the MVP Award. In 2020, Los Angeles FC were the runners-up in the CONCACAF Champions League, losing to Tigres.

Since they started playing, Los Angeles FC have had a fierce rivalry with the LA Galaxy, the older of the two Los Angeles-based MLS teams. The rivalry between the two clubs has been dubbed El Tráfico by the supporters of both clubs.

History

Groundbreaking ceremony for Banc of California Stadium in 2016

On October 30, 2014, Major League Soccer awarded a new expansion team to Los Angeles, filling the vacancy in the market created by the dissolution of Chivas USA three days earlier.[3] On September 15, 2015, the club announced that Los Angeles Football Club, which had previously been used as a placeholder name for the club, would be the official team name.[4] Henry Nguyen, Los Angeles FC's principal owner at the time, hinted at this possibility shortly after the club was announced in describing the name as "timeless".[5]

LAFC announced Bob Bradley as its head coach in July 2017,[6] joining general director John Thorrington in a search for players.[7] Mexican forward Carlos Vela was signed as the club's first designated player on August 11, 2017.[8]

On March 4, 2018, LAFC played its first MLS game, a 1–0 win against Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. LAFC designated player Diego Rossi scored the club's first-ever competitive goal in the 11th minute, assisted by Vela.[9]

On March 31, 2018, LAFC suffered its first MLS loss, giving up a 3–0 lead to lose 4–3 to LA Galaxy in the MLS debut of Zlatan Ibrahimović.[10][11] LAFC was the second team ever to lose an MLS game after leading 3–0 during the match.[12] Despite the loss, LAFC won 4 of the 6 games on their road trip to start the season, becoming the first team to earn 12 points from a season opening road trip of 6 games or more.[13] They finished the season with 7 road wins which is the most for an expansion team in the post-shootout era.[14]

LAFC accomplished the best regular season for an MLS expansion team, earning 57 points. The total surpassed the 56 picked up the 1998 Chicago Fire, also coached by Bob Bradley, as well as the post-shootout era record of 55 set in 2017 by Atlanta United.[15] LAFC's seven road wins also tied for the most ever by an expansion team in the pre or post shootout-era with the '98 Fire who had two road wins come via the shootout. They finished second all-time in goals scored by an expansion team in a season, with 68, just behind Atlanta's 70.[15]

On October 6, 2018, LAFC clinched its first playoff spot after a 3–0 victory against the Colorado Rapids[16] finishing third in the West, but were knocked out at home in the first round in a 3–2 loss to sixth-place Real Salt Lake.[17]

2020 CCL run

Los Angeles had appeared for the first time, in the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League, and advanced in the round of 16 after defeating Club León 3–2 on aggregate after going down 2–0 after the first leg.[18] Following the hiatus of the tournament from the Covid-19 pandemic, Los Angeles subsequently defeated Cruz Azul (2-1) and Club América (3–1) in the quarter- and semi-finals.[19] They became the third MLS side to advance to the Final, where they were defeated by Tigres UANL 2–1, who have been runners up in previous editions of the tournament.[20][21]

Colors and badge

The club's colors and logo were unveiled on January 7, 2016, at Union Station.[22][23] The club's primary colors are black and gold, with red and gray used as accent colors. The Art Deco-inspired logo incorporates a shield outline referencing the city seal, with a winged "LA" monogram and the words "Los Angeles" and "Football Club" in Neutraface. The crest was designed by Matthew Wolff.[24]

Sponsorship

On January 31, 2018, LAFC announced that YouTube TV would be the club's jersey sponsor in addition to broadcasting local matches in English.[25][26] On October 11, 2019, LAFC announced it would participate in a sleeve sponsorship with Target.[27] On March 26, 2021, LAFC announced that FLEX power tools would be the new sponsor for the club.[28]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Sleeve sponsor
2018–2019 Adidas[29] YouTube TV
2020 Target
2021–present Flex[30] Target
Postmates

Stadium

Banc of California Stadium
Banc of California Stadium during one of LAFC's games

On May 17, 2015, the team chose the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena site to build a 22,000-seat state of the art stadium for the MLS in Exposition Park, estimated to cost $250 million. The group estimated the project would create 1,200 temporary construction jobs and 1,800 full-time jobs, generating $2.5 million in annual tax revenue.[31] The environmental impact report, arena demolition, and stadium construction were expected to take three years and delay the team's debut to 2018.

On May 6, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council approved the stadium, clearing a way for the construction of the stadium.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 23, 2016. At the event attended by owners and construction crews, LAFC announced a 15-year, $100 million naming rights deal for the stadium with the Banc of California.[32][33][34] Demolition of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena began shortly after the groundbreaking and was completed by October 2016.[35][36]

The first public event at the stadium was an open practice and dedication ceremony held on April 18, 2018.[37] The club's first home match was played on April 29, 2018, against Seattle Sounders FC, with the home side winning 1–0.[38][39] The lone goal was scored by Laurent Ciman in stoppage time in front of a capacity crowd of 22,000.[39]

Club culture

The 3252 Supporters unveiling their first tifo in the home inaugural game vs. the Seattle Sounders

After the launch, supporters were consulted on many of the club's early decisions including the team colors, the look of the crest and the design of Banc of California Stadium, built on land previously held by the LA Sports Arena.[40] Much of the marketing focus was to millennials, which led to the decision to play near downtown Los Angeles.[41] LAFC took a grassroots approach to building the club by founding the LAFC academy and signing younger prospects including Americans Walker Zimmerman and Los Angeles native Tristan Blackmon, Portuguese draft pick João Moutinho,[42] and Uruguayan prospect Diego Rossi.

The club shares the Los Angeles market with the LA Galaxy; the two teams' rivalry is nicknamed El Tráfico.[43]

Supporters

The 3252 section unveil a tifo before the second El Tráfico.

LAFC supporters are known collectively as "The 3252", a reference to the number of seats in the safe standing supporters section at Banc of California Stadium, as well as adding up to 12, a reference to the supporters being the team's 12th man. The 3252 is the club's independent supporters union, which encompasses a growing number of affiliate supporter groups and independent supporters with active season memberships.[44][45]

Falcon program

The club's falcon program includes three live falcons who participate in various gameday and community events. One falcon is released pre-game by an honorary falconer (usually a celebrity or community figure) and flies around the stadium. The first honorary falconer was co-owner Will Ferrell.[46] The three falcons are named after famous streets in Los Angeles: "Olly" (Olvera Street), "Fig" (Figueroa Street), and "Mel" (Melrose Avenue).[47]

Rivalries

Los Angeles FC's main rival is the LA Galaxy, who play in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson. The series between the two teams is known as El Tráfico (Spanish for "The Traffic"), a term coined by MLS fans and adopted by media outlets following polls by SB Nation blogs LAG Confidential[48] and Angels on Parade.[43][49][50] It refers to the notorious traffic congestion in Los Angeles,[49][51] among the worst in the United States and the world, while serving as a play on "El Clásico".[52] MLS has no plans to trademark the name.[53] The rivalry has also been called the "Los Angeles Derby",[54] a moniker that was also used for the SuperClasico.[55]

LAFC also has an on-field rivalry with the Portland Timbers. The teams played two games in 4 days in July of 2018, both at Banc of California Stadium: the first, a league match, ended in a scoreless draw; the second, a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, was a testy match that ended in a 3-2 Los Angeles victory.[56] Their matches in 2019 led MLS writer Brian Taylor to call the matchup "a new rivalry…between Western Conference heavyweights"; LAFC swept the league matches 4-1 in Los Angeles and 3-2 in Portland, but the Timbers would take revenge in the Open Cup with a 1-0 quarterfinal victory.[57][58]

Ownership

In 2016, three local investors—Brandon Beck, Larry Berg and Bennett Rosenthal—took over as managing owners of the club with Berg serving as lead managing owner.[59][60] As of 2017, Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group and entrepreneur Peter Guber is executive chairman, former National Basketball Association executive Tom Penn is president, and venture capitalist Henry Nguyen is vice-chairman.[61] The ownership group in 2019 also included businessman Ruben Gnanalingam.[5] Other part owners and investors include Will Ferrell, Natalie Mariduena, Nomar Garciaparra, Mia Hamm-Garciaparra, Chad Hurley, Magic Johnson, Joseph Tsai,[62] Tucker Kain, Kirk Lacob, Mitch Lasky, Mark Leschly, Mike Mahan, Irwin Raij, Tony Robbins, Lon Rosen, Paul Schaeffer, Brandon Schneider, Allen Shapiro, Mark Shapiro, Jason Sugarman, Harry Tsao and Rick Welts.[5][61][63][64]

In February 2020, LAFC owners began the process of buying out a 20 percent ownership stake held by Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan. The buyout resulted in a $700 million valuation for the club, the largest on record for a Major League Soccer team at the time.[65]

Broadcasting

All locally broadcast LAFC matches are televised in English by KCOP. Max Bretos serves as the team's lead play-by-play announcer[66]

YouTube TV previously carried live games for the team from 2018 to 2020. It marked the first time that a major U.S. professional sports team has sold their regional broadcast rights to an online streaming service as opposed to a traditional television broadcaster or regional sports network.[25][26][67]

All locally broadcast LAFC matches are televised in Spanish on Estrella TV station KRCA, with Francisco X. Rivera serving as the lead play-by-play announcer.[68] Regular local radio coverage of LAFC matches is provided in English by KSPN (ESPNLA 710), with Dave Denholm serving as the radio play-by-play announcer. Spanish radio broadcasts are provided by KFWB (980), with Armando Aguayo as the play-by-play announcer.[69] The club also partners with KIRN (670) as part of the station's weekly sports report.[70]

Players and staff

Roster

As of June 30, 2022[71]
No. Pos. Player Nation
2 DF Franco Escobar  Argentina
3 DF Jesús David Murillo  Colombia
4 DF Eddie Segura  Colombia
5 DF Mamadou Fall  Senegal
6 MF Ilie Sánchez  Spain
7 MF Latif Blessing  Ghana
8 MF Francisco Ginella  Uruguay
9 FW Cristian Arango  Colombia
10 FW Carlos Vela (DP)  Mexico
11 MF José Cifuentes  Ecuador
12 DF Diego Palacios  Ecuador
14 DF Giorgio Chiellini  Italy
15 DF Mohamed Traore  Senegal
16 GK Maxime Crépeau  Canada
17 FW Brian Rodríguez  Uruguay
18 DF Erik Dueñas (HG)  United States
19 FW Ismael Tajouri-Shradi  Libya
21 FW Christian Torres (HG)  Mexico
22 FW Kwadwo Opoku  Ghana
23 MF Kellyn Acosta  United States
24 DF Ryan Hollingshead  United States
25 DF Sebastien Ibeagha  United States
26 FW Cal Jennings  United States
28 DF Tony Leone (HG)  Mexico
29 FW Danny Musovski  United States
30 GK Tomas Romero (HG)  El Salvador
44 DF Doneil Henry  Canada
77 GK John McCarthy  United States
80 DF Julian Gaines  United States
95 FW Nathan Ordaz (HG)  El Salvador
FW Gareth Bale  Wales


Coaching staff

As of February 9, 2022[72]
Technical staff
Head coach Steve Cherundolo
Assistant coach Ante Razov
Assistant coach Marc Dos Santos
Goalkeeping coach Oka Nikolov
Performance director Gavin Benjafield

Team management

As of March 31, 2021[73]
Front office
Lead managing owner Larry Berg
Co-managing owner Brandon Beck
Co-managing owner Bennett Rosenthal
Executive chairman and owner Peter Guber
Vice-chairman and owner Henry Nguyen
Director and owner Ruben Gnanalingam
Director and owner Mitch Lasky
Co-president and chief business officer Larry Freedman
Co-president and general manager John Thorrington
Senior vice president and assistant general manager Will Kuntz
Director of Football operations Marco Garcés
Head coaches
Coach Start End
Bob Bradley July 27, 2017 November 18, 2021
Steve Cherundolo January 3, 2022 present

Honors

Team

The 2019 Supporter's Shield Champion LAFC
In 2019, LAFC won their first major MLS trophy, the Supporter's Shield. They won it with a record breaking 72 points in just their second season in existence.
International
Competitions Titles Seasons
CONCACAF Champions League 0
National
Competitions Titles Seasons
MLS Cup 0
Supporters' Shield 1 2019[74]
U.S. Open Cup 0
Western Conference (Playoffs) 0
Western Conference (Regular Season) 1 2019

Players

Honor Player Name Season
Landon Donovan MVP Award Carlos Vela 2019[75]
MLS Golden Boot Carlos Vela 2019[76]
Diego Rossi 2020[77]

Records

List of seasons

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by LAFC. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Los Angeles FC seasons.

Season League Position Playoffs USOC Continental / Other Average
attendance
Top goalscorer(s)
Div League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name(s) Goals
2018 1 MLS 34 16 9 9 68 52 +16 57 1.68 3rd 5th R1 SF DNE 22,042 Mexico Carlos Vela 15
2019 MLS 34 21 4 9 85 37 +48 72 2.12 1st 1st SF QF DNQ 22,251 Mexico Carlos Vela 38♦
2020 MLS 22 9 8 5 47 39 +8 32 1.45 7th 12th R1 NH CONCACAF Champions League
MLS is Back Tournament

QF
22,117[78] Uruguay Diego Rossi 18♦
2021 MLS 34 12 13 9 53 51 +2 45 1.32 9th 17th DNQ NH DNQ 20,204[79] Colombia Cristian Arango 14

^ 1. Avg. Attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top Goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in League, MLS Cup Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, MLS is Back Tournament, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.

Player records

As of April 28th, 2022

Matches

# Name Nation MLS Playoffs USOC CCL Total
1 Latif Blessing  GHA 130 4 10 5 149
2 Diego Rossi  URU 104 3 7 5 119
3 Carlos Vela  MEX 102 4 8 5 119
4 Eduard Atuesta  COL 96 3 6 3 108
5 Mark-Anthony Kaye  CAN 77 2 3 5 87

Goals

# Name Nation MLS Playoffs USOC CCL Total
1 Carlos Vela  MEX 63 2 3 5 73
2 Diego Rossi  URU 48 3 6 2 59
3 Adama Diomande  NOR 20 2 2 0 24
4 Cristian Arango  COL 20 0 3 0 23
5 Latif Blessing  GHA 14 0 2 1 17

Assists

# Name Nation MLS Playoffs USOC CCL Total
1 Carlos Vela  MEX 41 3 1 0 45
2 Eduard Atuesta  COL 23 0 2 1 26
3 Diego Rossi  URU 21 2 2 0 25
4 Latif Blessing  GHA 21 1 2 0 24
5 Mark-Anthony Kaye  CAN 18 0 0 1 19

Shutouts

# Name Nation MLS Playoffs USOC CCL Total
1 Tyler Miller  USA 19 0 1 0 20
2 Maxime Crépeau  CAN 5 0 1 0 6
3 Pablo Sisniega  USA 3 0 1 0 4
Tomas Romero  SLV 4 0 0 0
4 Kenneth Vermeer  NED 1 0 1 0 2
5 Jamal Blackman  ENG 1 0 0 0 1

Development system

Academy

On February 1, 2016, the club announced the founding of the LAFC Academy.[80] The academy is launching with a fully funded U12 USSDA academy team with a roster of 26 players. Todd Saldana currently serves as academy director.[81]

On August 21, 2018, the U-13 squad won the CONCACAF Champions League, as champions of North America.[82]

On July 8, 2020, LAFC signed its first three Homegrown players from the academy in Club history – Tony Leone, Christian Torres and Erik Dueñas.[83]

Affiliates

Orange County SC, competing in the USL Championship, was affiliated with Los Angeles FC as part of a multi-year affiliation agreement with the team that started on December 7, 2016, and ended after the 2018 season.[84][85] On March 12, 2021, LAFC announced their partnership with USL Championship club Las Vegas Lights.[86]

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External links