LOS ANGELES – Every expansion team will inevitably suffer from personnel changes throughout the season and LAFC has been no different.
Between the transfer windows, World Cup call-ups, injuries, and fitness issues, the club’s roster has appeared in a near constant state of in flux.
And with only eight regular season games remaining, the challenges for head coach Bob Bradley faces in selecting his best team on a given night don’t seem to be letting up.
LAFC captain and center back Laurent Ciman was left out of the 18 for the team’s match 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy on Friday night. Bradley referenced Ciman’s focus and commitment when explaining Ciman’s absence.
“I’d be kicking myself out the door if you’ve got a bunch of guys giving everything they have on the field in a game like that and you feel like somebody’s not in it in the right way,” he told reporters after the match.
“Laurent has been an important guy. He’s passionate. He’s also emotional and he’s a guy that when his emotions are running high, sometimes it’s not always clear if he’s ready, especially for a game like that.”
The reason Ciman’s emotions may have been running high could be due to the transfer rumors surrounding the Belgian international. The 33-year-old has been linked with Dijon in Ligue 1 by TVAS reporter Nicolas Martineau while ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, who reported potential interest in Ciman during Friday night’s broadcast, linked Ciman with an unnamed Belgian club.
Source : Laurent Ciman serait sur le point d’être transféré à Dijon, en Ligue 1.
Il n’était pas dans les 18, hier. Dijon avait tenté d’acquérir Ciman l’an dernier sans succès. #LAFC
— Nicolas A Martineau (@nikmartineauTVA) August 25, 2018
Further elaboration re: Ciman absence in the 18 last night while I can also add there is a Belgian club also interested in the defender but Dijon is the “furthest along” from what I hear. Also there is no conflict FWIW between Bradley & Ciman. #MLS #LAFC https://t.co/kbSsMGjyI2
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) August 25, 2018
“I love Laurent. But I don’t think he’s fully focused in the moment. When there’s other things going on, listen, I will defend a team at the highest level. I had a good talk with Laurent yesterday and said, look, right now let’s see if we can get things squared away for you.”
After three seasons with the Montreal Impact, Ciman was acquired by LAFC in a trade following the Expansion Draft in January. He has gone on to appear in 22 of the team’s first 26 matches and scored three goals.
“Football is a funny business,” said Bradley when asked if Ciman has played his last game in Black & Gold. “At the end of the day, I hope not because I think he’s a player who has given a lot.”