LAFC’s Diego Rossi named MLS MVP finalist – Press Enterprise

Diego Rossi won the MLS is Back Golden Boot as the tournament’s highest goal-scorer during the summer.

Sunday, he captured the regular-season award as well. Rossi, 22, finished with 14 goals and became the youngest player in MLS history to capture the Golden Boot. He played in 19 of LAFC’s 22 games this season.

“As a forward, you always want to score and you always want to help the team in that way,” Rossi said. “You have to work hard for that, improve yourself, and be ready when you have a chance to put it in.

“Yeah, this is a trophy also for the team, because without my teammates, this is impossible to make.”

Rossi follows Carlos Vela, who won the award in 2019, giving LAFC the first back-to-back winners in MLS history.

“I’m very happy for Diego to win the Golden Boot,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “We talked about his maturity this year and so that’s something that he has earned.”

In three seasons, Rossi has scored 42 goals in 85 goals for LAFC.

Wednesday, he was named a finalist for both the Landon Donovan MLS MVP Award and the MLS Young Player of the Year Award.

“It has been great to see the way he continues to move himself forward and he’s been our best and most consistent player throughout the season,” Bradley said.

Unfortunately for LAFC, barring a late change to the guidelines, Rossi and teammates Brian Rodriguez, Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios will miss the first-round playoff game Nov. 24 at Seattle.

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All four – Rossi and Rodriguez with Uruguay, Cifuentes and Palacios with Ecuador – are on international duty for World Cup qualifying. The players will be back in the U.S. in time for the game, but will not be through the nine-day quarantine period required to rejoin their clubs.

The Sounders will have Xavier Arreaga, Raul Ruidiaz and Gustav Svensson on international duty. However, there is a strong possibility Ruidiaz, who leads Seattle with 12 goals, will be available for the game with LAFC.

Ruidiaz, who tested positive for COVID-19 during the last international dates with Peru, is considered a “recovered person,” which would not force him to quarantine after returning.

Award season

Along with Rossi, LAFC has two other finalists for MLS awards.

Bradley Wright-Phillips is a finalist for the Comeback Player of the Year and Mark-Anthony Kaye is a finalist for the Humanitarian of the Year.

CONCACAF Champions League

When the MLS season was halted in March, LAFC was days away from starting its round of 16 home-and-home series in the CONCACAF Champions League with Cruz Azul.

CONCACAF recently announced all remaining games and rounds – quarterfinals, semifinals, final – would be played at one location. LAFC will now face Cruz Azul in a one-off game, set for either Dec. 15 or 16 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.

The semifinals will take place Dec. 19 and the final Dec. 22.