Position: Center Back
Current Club: Los Angeles FC (United States)
DOB: 21 November 2002
Birthplace: Rufisque, Senegal
Height: 187 cm (6’2)
Weight: 74 kg (163 lbs)
|Los Angeles FC (2021-)
|Major League Soccer (I)
|Las Vegas Lights (2021) (Loan)
|USL Championship (II)
Mamadou Fall is a tall and rangy center back who is capable of playing in a wide role with growing technical ability and positioning awareness. The Senegalese joined LAFC in June 2021 after attending Florida’s Montverde Academy and quickly progressed into the team’s defensive rotation. Fall is very capable on the ball and excels at covering for full backs out wide to close down faster players and use his strong tackling to cut out attacks. At this point Fall’s physicality combined with his potential makes him an exciting prospect for the future.
While Fall has all the physical tools to succeed he lacks the necessary confidence to thrive from game to game at this level. He is often turned by quick dribblers when isolated in space and needs to develop more discipline in the tackle to avoid conceding dangerous free kicks and taking himself out of plays. However, in the modern game and on a team that features attack-minded full backs and wing backs, Fall is a player who has all the physical traits to cover central and wide positions and succeed as a center back at the top level.
General Pros and Cons
+ Excellent physical tools to succeed as a modern center back in a four or three-player back line.
+ Shows promising signs and is growing in confidence with the ball at his feet.
+ Has accumulated valuable experience at a young age with excellent potential suggesting he can develop into a top level defender.
– Has plenty of work to do on timing his challenges and taking up proper positions to engage opposing attackers.
– Needs to be more confident in his decision making and when dealing with unpredictable situations that center backs encounter.
– Must continue to improve in distribution decisions and accuracy of passing.
+ Very good acceleration and speed over long distances for a center back. Excellent range to cover for full backs and engage dribblers out wide.
+ Good vertical that allows him to compete and get a head to the ball in most aerial duels.
+ Good agility off the ball and also on the ball to get around defenders when there is space to maneuver in.
+ Confident on his long range passing. Able to accurately pick out targets with his favored right foot and is growing more confident with his left foot as well.
+ Capable of making runs with the ball at his feet and is becoming better and better when on the dribble.
– Has room to improve on the direction and placement of his headers. Clearing header attempts go to poor positions at times, keeping his side on the defensive.
– Still needs more work on his tackling. Is improving but has yet to maximize efficiency on his defensive duels.
+ Massive potential in general. Continues to improve by leaps and bounds over a short period of time and has excellent physical characteristics to go along with advanced technical ability for his age.
– Capable of making catastrophic decisions on the ball when under pressure. Still adjusting to the high pace of play in Major League Soccer.
– Can be rash in his tackling and when deciding whether to be more aggressive or lay off opposing dribblers. Continuing to develop confidence in his defensive decision making.
+ Continues to improve at advancing the ball as a central or wide defender. Growing in confidence at initiating attacks on the dribble and making progressive runs.
– Plenty of room for improvement when it comes to playing at higher pace of play. Still has moments when he rushes on the ball and is forced into mistakes by high pressure.
– Takes poor defending angles that remove himself from the play. At his position this can lead directly to goal scoring opportunities for the opposition.
Rankings are from the 2022 Major League Soccer season out of 102 center backs who have played 600 minutes or more:
First let us examine Fall’s defensive statistics:
|Def. Duels Won
|Aerial Duels Won
The numbers show that Mamadou is certainly not at the top level in Major League Soccer but there are promising signs. His shots blocked and interception numbers (PA refers to “possession adjusted”) indicate that his physical attributes allow him to disrupt opposition attacks and shot attempts, also showing that he has the ability to anticipate at this level. His general defensive duel numbers and aerial duels show that there is plenty of work to be done with his defending efficiency, however, and that he needs to pick his moments of aggression better and commit to challenges. His average ratings in these categories indicate that there is still plenty to gain from further experience to smooth out the rough patches in his game.
Now let us look at Fall’s statistics when he is on the ball:
|Forward Pass Acc.
|Long Pass Acc.
Fall is continuing to improve his efficiency on the ball and does not rate particularly high on his passing accuracy but it is because he looks to play urgently when on the ball. His progressive runs show how he rates in the top half when moving forward with the ball at his feet and the amount of forward passes he attempts impact his passing accuracy. Fall attempts plenty of long passes and is tasked with a fairly high amount of responsibility at a young age for the top team in MLS which will result in his efficiency suffering. However it shows that Fall is already at quite a high level with the ball at his feet at a young age.
Evaluation: Potential to succeed in a top-4 European league. Currently at an excellent level to develop further.
This scouting report may seem a bit critical of Fall but that is only because he has so much potential and promise. The Senegalese center back continues to prove that he is everything a manager is looking for in a modern central defender with the physical characteristics to potentially succeed as a full back as well. His confidence on the ball when moving forward and ability to pick out targets with long passes will only improve with further experience and a high pace league like Major League Soccer is the perfect level for him to grow in confidence if he can continue as a rotation player for Los Angeles FC.
The videos above that highlights some of Fall’s difficulties show why staying in Major League Soccer is the best development path for him. Fall’s youth and inexperience has brought mistakes that directly lead to goals and goal scoring opportunities for LAFC’s opposition that would see him benched at higher levels. At this point being a rotation option for LAFC is best for Fall but it makes sense for a club in a top-4 European league to purchase him early to develop further. However, MLS will provide the development he needs that is better than being loaned out which would be the case if he moved to a big European club.