Transfer — This morning, LAFC announced the acquisition of forward Corey Baird. LAFC secured the 24-year-old forward by sending $500k in GAM, as well as a 2021 International Roster Spot and future considerations. The GAM will be spread out over 2021 and 2022.
Baird’s arrival adds to the depth up front, providing yet another option in attack.
LAFC Acquire Forward, Corey Baird, From Real Salt Lake
Time With RSL
Signed in 2018 as an RSL homegrown, Corey Baird hit the ground running. Named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2018, Baird has featured in 83 matches for RSL over his three-year run. While he only netted two goals in 2020, he tallied 15 goals and 13 assists in his time with RSL. While those numbers may not jump off the page, when you consider he had a hand in 25% of the teams offensive production in his three years, the numbers say a lot.
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) January 11, 2021
What This Means for LAFC
The most intriguing aspect of the deal was the inclusion of an International Roster Spot. For LAFC, this means one of two things. Either some players are set to receive Green Cards, or players, at least, are set to move on from the black and gold. To be fair, both could happen as LAFC tend to like to keep a free spot open, just in case.
It is the opinion of this writer, that the writing is on the wall, for a Brian Rodriguez departure. While Diego Rossi is the one LAFC player most teams around the world are keeping eyes on, his price tag remains a sticking point. However, Rodriguez is a player young and affordable enough to be move.
In terms of on the field, this fills the hole left by Bradley Wright-Phillips. In a club statement, Co-President and GM John Thorrington said, “Corey is a dynamic attacker and we are excited to welcome a player of his caliber and qualities.”
Those qualities that Baird brings would be perfectly suited in a super substitute role for the club. He also brings a level of experience that brings comfort should he need to start for period of time.
The Last Word
This acquisition may have come out of left field, but it is not all-together surprising. Whether it was Adama Diomande, or BWP, LAFC have always wanted to keep depth in attack. While Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi have their starting roles set in stone, it is always a good idea to keep options on deck. Regardless of what happens with Rodriguez, Baird will likely see a fair amount of playing time.
With Carlos Vela not getting any younger, and with young starlets like Christian Torres needing more time to season, an acquisition like Baird is a great move for the future of the club.