It is time to reflect on the lack of offense created by the LA Galaxy 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.
The Galaxy posted one of the most anemic goal records in their history as they scored 27 goals in 22 games, making it the lowest season goal total in team history. While the low goal total is to be expected with the shortened season, it is the goals per game average that paints a more accurate picture. The 2020 LA Galaxy posted a 1.23 goals per game average, which was the fourth-lowest goals per game average in team history. This average falls only behind the 2009 (1.20 gpg), 2003 (1.17 gpg), and 2006 (1.16 gpg) LA Galaxy teams historically.
Before delving into the Galaxy’s attackers performance this season, it is important to address the elephant in the room. The 2020 offense had the impossible task to fill the shoes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 53 goals in 58 games over the past two seasons for the club. While a dip in goal production was to be expected, injuries and poor performance led to the numbers dropping into historically bad territory.
Depending on how you read the released lineups, the Galaxy may appear to play with three forwards. However, after watching them play it became clear that the team played with a single striker, and only a small percentage of midfielders qualified to be identified as attackers. This was the shallowest section of the team roster and more talent will need to be brought in if the club hopes to improve next season.
Without further ado, let’s get to the player grades!
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 attackers fared on the season. Player performance is listed below in order of total stars earned.
Total Stars: 80
Average Rating: 3.64
Best Match: v LAFC 9/6, 5 Stars
Worst Match: v COL 9/19, 2 Stars
Cristian Pavon was voted LA Galaxy player of the year and was deserving of the award as his game stood head and shoulders above the rest of this Galaxy team. Pavon led the team in goals and assists making him one of the most valuable players in the league with his 17 goal contributions.
Additionally, Pavon was also the most durable Galaxy player this season as he played every minute of every match. As the season wore on, some of his moves became a bit predictable but that rarely stopped him from being the most dangerous Galaxy player on the field.
At the time of writing this, Pavon’s status with the Galaxy remains unclear. It is hard to imagine how much worse this team could have been without Pavon, which makes the case that finding a way to keep him in Los Angeles should be at the top of the list for the LA Galaxy this off-season.
Pavon finished with 80 stars, ranking 1st among all players & his 3.64 average rating ranks 2nd (only behind Cameron Dunbar who received four stars in his only start).
Total Stars: 27
Average Rating: 2.25
Best Match: v SEA 11/4, 4 Stars
Worst Match: v SJ 10/14, 1 Star
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had a disappointing season considering that he was brought in this season as the team’s highest-paid designated player decorated with accolades from across the globe. Difficulty finding the back of the net coupled with injuries and off the field turmoil led to one of the most frustrating seasons that we have ever seen from a Galaxy player. Hernandez did look to be revitalized toward the end of the season will look to regain the form that made him Mexico’s most prolific goal poacher.
Hernandez finished with 27 stars, ranking 13th among all players & his 2.25 average rating ranks 20th.
Total Stars: 23
Average Rating: 2.56
Best Match: v RSL 11/1, 3 Stars
Worst Match: v VAN 10/18, 2 Stars
Yony Gonzalez was brought in on loan to help fill in some of the gaps of a struggling offense after some struggles at the beginning of the season and at the MLS is Back tournament. The unfortunate part of Gonzalez’s time with the LA Galaxy is that he was announced prior to the final phase of the regular season but was only able to play nine games after delays with visas to enter the country.
During his nine-game stretch, he never was able to find his rhythm and appeared to be playing out of position or ended up being subbed off due to injury or red card issues. In a different season, perhaps Gonzalez could have added some value to the Galaxy, but with the circumstances in 2020, everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong.
Gonzalez finished with 23 stars, ranking him tied for 15th among all players & his 2.56 average rating also ranks tied for 15th among all players.
Total Stars: 23
Average Rating: 2.09
Best Match: @ LAFC 8/21, 4 Stars
Worst Match: v SJ 9/13, 1 Star
Ethan Zubak entered the season as a backup striker with minimal expectations to contribute. However, with a lengthy injury and recovery for Javier Hernandez, Zubak found himself as the striker with the most starts for the LA Galaxy in 2020. While Zubak got off to a dream start when the season resumed as he scored his first MLS goal in an El Trafico rivalry match, he had some major struggles throughout the season and looked out of place as a regular MLS starter.
Zubak finished with 23 stars, ranking him tied for 15th among all players & his 2.09 average rating ranks 23rd out of 24 players.
Total Stars: 6
Average Rating: 3.00
Best Match: v POR 7/13, 3 Stars
Worst Match: @ LAFC 7/18, 3 Stars
Gordon Wild is a player who looked promising during a brief appearance in the opening match of the MLS is Back tournament only to essentially never be heard from again. There were some calls for Wild to get more minutes given the team’s dire striker situation. The coaching staff did not seem to believe that Wild would have made any meaningful impact as he only played one minute after the tournament.
Wild finished with 6 stars, ranking 22nd among all players & his 3.00 average rating ranks 5th.
Total Stars: 4
Average Rating: 4.00
Best Match: v POR 7/13, 4 Stars
Worst Match: N/A
Cameron Dunbar was another player who had a promising debut during the opening match of the MLS is Back tournament and similarly to Wild, saw very few minutes for the remainder of the season. Personally, I feel like the calls for Wild to get minutes should have been focused on pushing to get Dunbar valuable playing time to help him develop given his age. When given the opportunity, Dunbar looked like he could be a game-changer in future seasons off the bench.
Dunbar finished with 4 stars, leaving him tied for 23rd among all players & his 4.00 average rating ranks 1st (as mentioned above, Dunbar’s single start and four star rating heavily skews the rankings).
Total Stars: 4
Average Rating: 2.00
Best Match: @ HOU 2/29, 2 Stars
Worst Match: v VAN, 3/7, 2 Stars
Aleksandar Katai and the LA Galaxy agreed to mutually part ways on June 5, 2020 after his wife made racist and violent social media posts. Katai only played two matches for the club and did not register any goals or assists.
Katai finished with 4 stars, leaving him tied for 23rd among all players & his 2.00 average rating ranks 24th.
Below you will find a chart with the Grading the Galaxy statistics for the 2020 season for each attacker.
Below you will find a chart with the Grading the Galaxy statistics for every LA Galaxy player for the 2020 season.