Olivier Giroud the cherry on the cake for electric LAFC

There was a time this season where things seemed to be falling apart for LAFC. After two seasons of unprecedented success, including a maiden MLS Cup in 2022 ( Who could forget that memorable final against the Philadelphia Union?) and a losing final appearance in 2023 (2-1 to the Columbus Crew), the start of 2024 was mediocre for Steve Cherundolo’s side, failing to win seven of their opening 11 games.

A blistering run of form for formidable LAFC

Since their last defeat (3-1 at San Jose Earthquakes on May 5th), the black and gold falcons are unbeaten in eight in MLS, winning seven and elevating themselves to the top of the Western Conference, scoring 19 goals and conceding just 4 in a blistering run of form that has seen them leapfrog early pacesetters Real Salt Lake on goal difference.

Central to LAFC’s return to winning ways has been French-born Gabonese star Dénis Bouanga, formerly of Lorient, Nimes and Saint-Étienne in his country of birth, his 12 goals and seven assists providing firepower in a team that initally struggled to recover from losing Mexican club legend Carlos Vela at the end of last season. Polish attacking midfielder Mateus Bogusz has stepped up to the plate too, notching seven goals in 18 appearances, but the general consensus has been that there is a need for a genuine number 9 to complete a team that already very much looks like MLS Cup material once more this season.

Giroud the missing piece

Step forward Olivier Giroud. At 37 years old and out of contract with AC Milan, the French striker and Les Bleus all-time record goalscorer is seeking a new challenge to finish his career, treading the same path as compatriot Hugo Lloris in trading high level European football for the sunshine, glitz and glamour of California.

In many ways a typical number 9 with formidable aerial prowess but also a considerable level of technical ability that has seen him hit 286 goals in 718 games across some of the world’s biggest clubs, the Frenchman is considered one of the most underrated strikers of his generation and would offer a different dimension to Cherundolo’s attack. Often doing their best work in offensive transition, a focal point in Giroud will provide another angle to the team’s offence and allow for more variety going forward, enabling more crosses into the box, an outlet when the team is under pressure and a lethal penalty box presence that is sometimes missing from the 2022 MLS champions’ arsenal.

A dedicated professional who works tirelessly in training and on the field, Olivier Giroud could prove to be the final string in LAFC’s multi-faceted bow as we approach the second half of the season with the team sitting ominously at the top of the standings once again.

Get Football Jack McArdle

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