When Bruce Arena announced the signing of 22-year-old Emmanuel Boateng’s, during the preseason on a transfer from Swedish side Helsingborgs IF, little was known about him other than supposedly he was fast and had a left-footed attack.
Since then, we’ve seen Boateng’s growth in finishing skills. He notched his first assist and goal back in April but since then hasn’t added much to his tally beyond another assist in spite of starting in 9 league matches (season total), making 15 appearances. His last assist came in Portland back in July in a match LA won 2-1. Yet, while his Last weekend, against Colorado Rapids, however, there were flashes of the same fearless play that has earned him a rotating spot on the starting lineup, with 4 shots, 2 on-target, an ability to dribble around his opponents at breakneck speed, usually only being taken out by sheer physical size not skill, ‘Ema’ was on point. It didn’t go unnoticed by his teammate, Gyasi Zardes who commented afterwards, “He’s very fast. You can see that in training, he’s finishing plays off. I think if he just keeps running at players, he’s going to be a tough time for players stopping him.” Noteably, he does often get stopped but seems to always get back up and bounce back.
Boateng is likely to play a huge role in his team’s lineup over the next couple weeks with LA set to once-again play three matches in one week, first at Yankee Stadium against top dog in the east NYCFC, then at the Chicago and finally at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps on August 27th. That’ll be followed by another busy week in September before slowing down into the leadup to the playoffs. The upcoming away matches versus eastern conference teams are becoming a must in order to rack up points to stay competitive in the Supporters Shield race. “You have to get a result against those guys because other teams part of the west coast, playing against them can get an advantage,” Zardes offers as a dose of reality.
Boateng’s rapid run around the Rapids and on-frame shot in the 61st minute is prime example of what makes him so dangerous.
Fascinating to watch as he builds on his speed to evade defenders, Boateng’s humble confidence still has a long way to go till the finishing is there but paired with the likes of Robbie Keane and a healthier Gyasi Zardes, he’s a player to watch. He’s a mere 5 foot 6 inches but all heart on the pitch.