Steve Carrillo

ESPN Poll Votes Giovani dos Santos as “Most Overrated” in MLS

Things aren’t going well for Giovani dos Santos.

First, he had to suffer through a horrendous season that saw the LA Galaxy finish at the bottom of the table (8-18-8), and now, after scoring just six times in 2017 – with only three of those goals coming from the run of play – he’s been voted the “Most Overrated” player in Major League Soccer in an anonymous poll conducted by ESPN.

In the poll, 104 current players from around the league voted anonymously for the most overrated and the most underrated player in the league. Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti walked away with the most underrated award in this years poll, but it was Dos Santos who fell on the opposite side.

Dos Santos received 11-percent of the vote while edging out Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley who received 10-percent of the “most overrated” vote. In the 2016 poll, Dos Santos was ranked as the sixth most overrated player but didn’t appear in the 2017 version.

It should be noted that these polls were conducted before to the start of the 2018 season and they definitely reflect on the prior season’s form. That doesn’t help Dos Santos out when you consider the disaster that the Galaxy fell to in 2017 – a poorly constructed roster, injury-riddled, and seemingly without a plan to move on from the older core of players that were not brought back.

“Because he’s the leader on the team that finished last in MLS in 2017” – Western Conference Player on Giovani dos Santos

Dos Santos is believed to be on the final two years of his contract and made $5.5 million in 2017 according to the MLS Players Union salary figures. He was announced by the Galaxy in July of 2015, and in 10 games scored three times. In 2016, his best year with the club, he scored 15 goals and assisted on 13 in both the regular season and the playoffs.

But his numbers haven’t matched the 2016 highs and he often “goes missing” on the field with the Galaxy offense content to bypass him.

For comparison, during the 2017 season, Dos Santos made $220,000 per game (25 games), $2,513 per minute played, and $916,667 per goal (six goals). Romain Alessandrini, another of the Galaxy’s high paid Designated Players – making $1,999,400 last year – made $66,647 per game (30 games), $819 per minute played, and $153,800 per goal.

GIOVANI DOS SANTOS$5,500,000252,1896$220,000$2,513$916,667
ROMAIN ALESSANDRINI$1,999,400302,44113$66,647$819$153,800

With Dos Santos gearing up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, there was hope, among those that follow his career closely, that he would find some form before the tournament. But throughout the preseason and into the beginning stages of this year, he’s been unimpressive, invisible, and now, injured.

His injury, suffered in the Galaxy’s 2-1 loss to NYCFC, is expected to keep him out of this weekend’s clash at Vancouver (March 24) but will probably allow him to come back for the Galaxy’s next home game against LAFC (March 31).

While the ESPN poll is certainly not a scientific condemnation of Dos Santos on any level, it does show that frustrations from the coaching staff, reporters, and fans do have some merit.

If the highest level of flattery is getting the nod of approval from your peers, then the opposite of that should be the biggest slap across the face. Or perhaps, the biggest motivator? The Galaxy front office, the coaching staff, and the fans are certainly hoping for the latter. But at this point, I’m not sure anyone is expecting a drastic turnaround.