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Los Angeles FC 2018 outlook: lone expansion franchise

In the past, expansion teams entered Major League Soccer in pairs. This year, Los Angeles FC will join all alone and make the total number of teams an uneven 23.

Head coach: Bob Bradley

2017 finish: N/A

Season recap

As a 2018 expansion side, LAFC spent 2017 preparing for its MLS debut.

Bradley’s back: Returning to MLS for the first time since 2006, Bob Bradley created instant buzz when LAFC announced him as head coach. Bradley, 59, served as an assistant under former U.S. men’s national team coach Bruce Arena with the 1996 and 1997 MLS Cup champion D.C. United teams. He left to become the inaugural coach of the Chicago Fire in 1998, leading that team to a championship in its first year. He also coached the New York MetroStars and Chivas USA before taking over as head coach of the national team from 2006-2011. Since then, he’s led the Egyptian national team and coached in Norway and France. He also became the first American to coach an English Premier League team (though that didn’t go very well and he was fired by Swansea City after just 85 days). Oh, he’s also the father of USMNT and Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley.

2018 goals

LAFC is generating plenty of attention and is linked to big-name players all over the world. There’s some impressive names among the players already signed, too: 2015 MLS Defender of the Year Laurent Ciman, U.S. men’s national team midfielder Benny Feilhaber, and 24-year-old former FC Dallas centerback Walker Zimmerman all have been highly successful in the league. There’s also Mexican national team forward Carlos Vela. Plus, the team has brand-new Banc of California stadium to play in and a coach with proven success building a team from the ground up. No doubt LAFC is hoping to enter the league with a bang like Atlanta United FC did in 2017.

Bradley told Sports Illustrated in November, “The basic vision we have of a team that’s exciting and that plays good football—a team that players are excited to be a part of and a club that does things the right way. Those are all the kinds of reasons that i wanted to be a part of this. … Then you want to take your experiences, vision and ideas and turn it in something that, football-wise, can be a little special.”

Season opener: March 4 at Seattle Sounders, 5 p.m.

Expansion moves

Signings –Monday Bassey Etim (free), F Carlos Vela (transfer from Real Sociedad), F Rodrigo Pacheco (loan from Lanus), D/M Omar Gaber (loan from FC Basel), GK Tyler Miller (Expansion Draft), F Latif Blessing (Expansion Draft), F Marco Ureña (Expansion Draft), D Jukka Raitala (Expansion Draft), D/M Raheem Edwards (Expansion Draft), D Jordan Harvey (free agent).

Trades –Jukka Raitala and D/M Raheem Edwards traded to Montreal for D Laurent Ciman. Acquired D Walker Zimmerman from FC Dallas in exchange for $250,000 in General Allocation Money, $250,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and No. 1 allocation ranking (LAFC gets Dallas’ No. 11 ranking). Acquired M Benny Feilhaber from Sporting KC in exchange for $200,000 General Allocation Money and $200,000 Targeted Allocation Money. Acquired 2018 international player slot from Atlanta United in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2018 MLS SuperDraft.

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