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Grading the Galaxy: 2020 Season In Review (Midfielders)

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A look back at how LA Galaxy midfielders performed during the 2020 season.

The LA Galaxy finished the season with a 6-12-4 (W-L-T) record after playing 22 games for the 2020 MLS regular season. The season was unique as it was broken up over several phases between the regular season opening matches, the MLS is Back Tournament, and the final phase of regular-season matches with reduced travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Heading into the season, the midfield looked to be one of the more solid sections of the team. Unfortunately, there is a reason why the phrase “the game isn’t played on paper” is as relevant as ever. While there were a couple of players who looked good in spurts, the midfielders simply under performed as a whole this season. The few exceptions to the rule who can be viewed as having a positive season are only able to do so because merely meeting expectations occasionally was enough to be a standout midfielder in 2020.

The midfield may be a crowded position on the roster sheet, but the Galaxy are still in dire need of the right kind of midfielder who can act as a playmaker in getting the offense involved. Many players will return for 2021, but starting level reinforcements will need to be brought in if the midfield is to improve next season.

Players were graded after each game on a five-star scale and no half stars were awarded. Let’s take a look at how the midfielders fared on the season. Player performance is listed below in order of total stars earned.

Editor’s Note: We’ve split Cristian Pavon from this group. He spent time at striker and there are so few of them on the Galaxy that we felt, to balance it out (it’s not even close), we’d move Pavon to the Forward category.


MIDFIELDERS

Total Stars: 66

Average Rating: 3.14

Statistics

Best Match: v LAFC – 9/6, 5 Stars

Worst Match: @ LAFC – 10/25, 2 Stars

Sebastian Lletget posted his best statistical season since joining the club in 2015. At times throughout the year, Lletget was the Galaxy’s most important player on the field outside of Cristian Pavon. It was nice to see Lletget look more dangerous in front as he attempted more shots in the 2020 shortened season than he had in the two seasons prior. While this was a bounce-back season for Lletget, he will need to continue this level of consistency if wants to remain in the US National Team fold in the upcoming World Cup cycle.

Lletget finished with 66 stars, ranking 2nd among all players & his 3.14 average rating ranks 3rd.

Total Stars: 53

Average Rating: 2.65

Statistics

Best Match: @ LAFC 8/21, 4 Stars

Worst Match: @ LAFC 7/18, 1 Star

Perry Kitchen arguably had his best season in an LA Galaxy shirt as he returned to being a regular starter by starting 19 out of 21 possible games. While the stat sheet might reflect a stellar season, Kitchen’s style of play often did the dirty work of breaking up plays and imposing himself physically on the opponents. Kitchen showed that he can still add value to an MLS first-team roster after missing much of last season due to injury.

Kitchen finished with 53 stars, ranking 4th among all players & his 2.65 average rating ranks 10th.

Total Stars: 40

Average Rating: 2.67

Statistics

Best Match: @ POR 9/2, 4 Stars

Worst Match: v SJ 10/14, 2 Stars

There was a lot of pressure on Efrain Alvarez to make a leap this season as his reputation as a young prodigy precedes him. While still only 18 years old, being dubbed one of the best players in MLS by Zlatan Ibrahimovic comes with expectations. Alvarez did see an increase in minutes and managed to score his first MLS goal this season. However, there is still room for improvement as he will need to continue to work hard to break in as a regular in the starting lineup.

Alvarez finished with 40 stars, ranking 10th among all players & his 2.67 average rating ranks 9th.

Total Stars: 39

Average Rating: 2.60

Statistics

Best Match: @ POR 9/2, 4 Stars

Worst Match: v VAN 3/7, 1 Star

Joe Corona saw a decrease in production as he only started 54% of the matches in the 2020 season. Corona shifted from a regular starter to a spot starter and bench option. Part of the missed games were due to injury, but Corona didn’t bring the same quality that he brought in previous seasons even when he was healthy. The Galaxy and Corona may be looking to part ways unless Corona is willing to take a reduced role moving forward.

Corona finished with 39 stars, ranking 11th among all players & his 2.60 average rating also leaves him tied for 11th.

Total Stars: 33

Average Rating: 2.54

Statistics

Best Match: v RSL 11/11, 4 Stars

Worst Match: v SEA 9/27, 2 Stars

It is a bit jarring that we are recapping the midfielders for the season and the team captain, who is also a designated player, does not get mentioned until the middle of the pack. Jonathan dos Santos had a season that was plagued by injury in addition to missing time for international duty. At the end of the day, seven starts and zero goal contributions just isn’t good enough for a player who is supposed to be the engine for your team. Even at full health, the Galaxy may need to explore options such a contract renegotiation or looking for outside suitors as it looks like relying on dos Santos to play consistently has become an issue.

Dos Santos finished with 33 stars, ranking 12th among all players & his 2.54 average rating ranks 17th.

Total Stars: 26

Average Rating: 2.60

Statistics

Best Match: v POR 7/13, 4 Stars

Worst Match: v POR 10/7, 2 Stars

Sacha Kljestan was brought in for his veteran experience and leadership qualities to help round out a young and talented Galaxy squad. Unfortunately, Kljestan just didn’t seem to get meaningful minutes and struggled when he did get his opportunities. The other side of the coin is that his leadership was apparent off the field as he was a loud voice for the club during times of social injustice and was once of the few to face the media after some of the season’s most embarrassing losses.

Kljestan finished with 26 stars, ranking 14th among all players & his 2.60 average rating leaves him tied for 11th.

Total Stars: 13

Average Rating: 2.17

Statistics

Best Match: v HOU 7/23, 3 Stars

Worst Match: @ RSL 9/23, 1 Star

Emil Cuello was given some opportunities to have an impact coming off the bench, but more often than not Cuello was a liability. The 2019 SuperDraft selection will not be returning in 2021 which is likely a result of Guillermo Barros Schelotto being let go. Schelotto often turned to Cuello to fill in the gaps in favor of other more promising options.

Cuello finished with 13 stars, ranking 18th among all players & his 2.17 average rating ranks 22nd.

Total Stars: 10

Average Rating: 2.50

Statistics

Best Match: v VAN 10/18, 3 Stars

Worst Match: v SJ 10/14, 2 Stars

Carlos Harvey did not get very much playing time in 2020 which makes it difficult to accurately assess where he stands. When he took to the field, he was never totally out of place, but he also didn’t look to be the type of player who could be a game-changer. At 20 years old, Harvey still has room to work himself into the roster as a depth piece.

Harvey finished with 10 stars, ranking 20th among all players & his 2.50 average rating ranks 18th.

Total Stars: 0

Average Rating: N/A

Statistics

Best Match: v VAN 10/18, 1 Goal

Worst Match: N/A

A curious case to include Kai Koreniuk in the grades section as he never received any stars due to only playing 12 minutes all season long. Coaches were high on Koreniuk and his highlight of the season was an extra-time game-winning goal that served for a brief moment of relief during a poor stretch of games.


HALL MONITOR

Below you will find a chart with the Grading the Galaxy statistics for the 2020 season for each midfielder.

PlayerPositionTotal StarsAverage Rating
Sebastian LletgetM663.14
Perry KitchenM532.65
Efrain AlvarezM402.67
Joe CoronaM392.60
Jonathan dos SantosM332.53
Sacha KljestanM262.60
Emil CuelloM132.17
Carlos HarveyM102.50
Kai KoreniukM0N/A