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5 Things To Know About Cristian Olivera

LAFC’s new Uruguayan attacker has one speed and one direction: fast and forward

Merriam-Webster defines dynamic as “marked by continuous and productive activity or change; energetic, forceful.” 

The word and its Spanish equivalent, dinámico, certainly apply to LAFC’s newest acquisition, 21-year-old Cristian Olivera, who according to Spanish publication AS.com is “one of the most recognizable faces in Uruguayan soccer.” Here are five things Black & Gold fans need to know about the club’s newest delantero.

HERMANDAD URUGUAYA

Nicknamed “KiKe,” Olivera will fill one of LAFC’s three Under-22 roster spots. He was born in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo – the football-mad metropolis that also produced LAFC’s second all-time goal scorer, Diego Rossi (currently with Columbus Crew) as well as Francisco Ginella (currently on loan to Uruguayan club Nacional). Olivera’s one-on-one skills are reminiscent of another Uruguayan LAFC alum, Brian Rodriguez, currently with Club América of Liga MX.

TURN AND BURN
The first aspect of Olivera’s play that stands out on video is his speed with the ball, both linearly (straight ahead) and when changing direction. Highlights are merely that – highlights – but the Olivera reels on YouTube show a player who consistently blows past defenders in Uruguay’s top division and on South American national teams. The second characteristic that leaps off the screen is Olivera’s directness. In space, he carries the ball straight toward the goal as if there’s a bungee cord connecting him to the opposing keeper. Once there, he’s generous in squaring the ball to supporting attackers.

MORE THAN A FEELING
Olivera just finished playing a full season for Boston River in the Uruguayan Primera division. He collected 10 goals and eight assists in 38 appearances with “the Verdirrojo.” AS.com reports that “in the 2023 Apertura Tournament, [Olivera] was the player with the most dribbles completed (188).” As a U17 player with the highly respected Uruguayan national team, Olivera scored four goals in 19 appearances.

SU MOTOR
Olivera became a father in the spring of 2022 and calls his daughter “my engine.” He and his partner welcomed their second daughter earlier this year.  

THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY
As a teenager, Olivera made an ambitious move to La Liga club Almería (in Spain’s first division), then returned home to play for Peñarol (the Uruguayan giant where Rossi and Rodriguez starred). The pandemic and related challenges hindered Olivera’s development during this period, but Olivera told El Pais in July 2023: “Hoy mismo me encuentro mas maduro y mas profesional.” (“Today I feel more mature and more professional.”)

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