INDIO, Calif. — Goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, joined LAFC to give his family the Los Angeles experience. He also wanted to be a part of the Los Angeles-based side because of its recent success (e.g., 2022 MLS Cup Champions).
On Wednesday, Lloris had a little taste of Southern California on a sunny Coachella Valley Invitational afternoon. He made his first open-to-the-public game appearance against St. Louis City SC, losing 1-0.
The most capped French national joined LAFC from Tottenham over the offseason on a free transfer, and he played 45 minutes in his public debut. Lloris allowed a goal on a shot that he had little chance to stop 20 minutes into the game.
“We didn’t get the result that we wanted,” Lloris said postgame. “I don’t think we had a good performance. But, step by step, we tried to build our fitness. And in our mind, the most important is to be ready for the 24th of February.”
Defender Omar Campos also debuted publicly against St. Louis after joining LAFC after playing for Santos Laguna in Liga MX. He is still adjusting to LAFC’s tactics, but Cherundolo is excited about his future.
“One of the most exciting left-backs in Mexican football right now,” said head coach Steve Cherundolo about Campos. “We’re over the moon to have him at LAFC, and you’ll see much more of him. He’s still learning our system and getting to know our players, but he’s got a really bright future.”
Slow play and sloppy passing led to LAFC’s scoreless outing despite a few bright moments.
Three minutes into the match, defender Ryan Hollingshead played a through ball to forward, Nathan Ordaz, in a dangerous position, but he was offside.
Six minutes into the match, forward, Denis Bouanga fired a curling shot towards the top corner of the net, but St. Louis goalkeeper Roman Burki tipped it off target for a corner kick. The chance was arguably LAFC’s most dangerous one, but nothing came from it.
Eventually, St. Louis found themselves on the front foot, scoring on a shot that Lloris had little chance to stop 20 minutes into the game. It was their first significant chance, and they put it away.
LAFC nearly responded 29 minutes into the match when Bouanga drew a penalty kick. However, he double-touched the ball on the attempt, which he scored, disallowing the goal.
LAFC failed to equalize despite a few other chances. Most of their starting lineup played at the start of the second half, aside from Lloris, who Abraham Romero replaced at halftime. The rest of the squad were substituted in the 64th minute.
Romero did not allow any goals, making a massive save in the 78th minute on a close-distance shot.
Cherundolo said LAFC will integrate a couple more players as Lloris and Campos continue to familiarize themselves with the team.
“We still have a couple more players to integrate,” Cherundolo said. “Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks before our first game, but that process is pretty free-flowing and organic at LAFC.”
Next, LAFC plays the Chicago Fire on Sunday in their second and final game in the Coachella Valley Invitational.