CARSON, Calif. – These certainly have not been the best of times for the LA Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget.
The popular midfielder, now in his fifth season, has only one goal and three assists in 20 appearances this season, but he could be seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to his assist on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first of two goals in Saturday’s dramatic but ultimately frustrating 2-2 tie with visiting Seattle Sounders FC at Dignity Health Sports Park.
The 26-year-old said he feels great – finally — and was confident better days are ahead.
“I feel good, mentally and physically. I think I’m in a different place,” he said.
He’d rather not think about where he was earlier this year, when his season was interrupted by yet another injury. The most recent one was a pelvic ailment that forced him to miss three regular-season matches. He originally was hurt after playing only briefly in a 2-1 loss to New England on June 2, he aggravated the condition while playing the first half of a 3-0 loss to San Jose on June 29 and then went to the sideline for good.
He returned to action with a 34-minute stint in a 4-0 loss to Portland on June 19 and now feels fully fit. He gave evidence of that with his perfect pass to Ibrahimovic, whose header in the 45th minute beat Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei to force a 1-1 tie.
Seattle, playing with a man advantage after the Galaxy’s Dan Steres was red-carded in the fifth minute, had taken a 1-0 lead only three minutes earlier on a goal by Raul Ruidiaz.
“You put Ibra in a position like that, he’s going to dominate,” Lletget said of his assist, his first since May 8 against Columbus. “It’s been a long time. Even going back to the last game, playing my position, I think I had a little more confidence, just to get forward to be aggressive. I’ve been doing that in training.
“Players go through times trying to figure things out,” he went on. “I think that just comes with confidence.”
Lletget admitted the assist helped alleviate some of the frustration he’s felt this season.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I feel a little relieved. I definitely want to build on it … it’s definitely a job not done.
“I want to do more and keep contributing to this team. Hopefully we can get that second place (in conference).”
Lletget said if his teammates continue to show the same resolve they displayed Saturday, such a finish easily could happen.
“We definitely should take positives out of this game,” he said. “At least we got a point … I thought we did all right.
“I the spirit of the team has definitely changed. We’ve had had a lot of ups and downs, but I think we’re going to peak at the right time.”