With the coming and going of seasons comes a near-constant flow of drafted players, most of whom have lasted just a single season, if that.
Ricky Lopez-Espin is no exception to that rule, but there’s an interesting wrinkle to his story. Most former draft picks don’t land in MLS — plenty have landed in USL, and that’ll probably continue to be the case with some real frequency.
Lopez-Espin, however, was selected in the MLS Waiver Draft by LAFC.
Now, Lopez-Espin didn’t get there through his Real Salt Lake appearances — he had just one. He probably didn’t get there through his USL performances with Real Monarchs, given he had just eight of those.
Now, there are mitigating factors here. He underwent a knee surgery mid-season that cost him at least two months, if not more, of action. It’s the sort of injury that can completely derail a season, and in his case, it very much did.
So it’s with a questioning tone that I have to ask: What have we missed with Ricky Lopez-Espin? I actually understand why we let him walk — that doesn’t worry me, even though I do think he can be a good forward in this league. It’s part of our ongoing academy player signings project, where homegrown players take up the majority of the back half of our roster.
The future for Lopez-Espin is very much unwritten. The 23-year-old has every chance to be a good player for LAFC, and I’m hopeful that he can make that potential known.
Just not against us. Please, not against us.