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The rise of Emmanuel Boateng

From raw potential to game-changer?

MLS: LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Boateng joined the five-time MLS Cup Champions in 2016 from Helsingborgs IF as a relatively unknown commodity. Now, he is entering his third season with LA. We’re going to take a look at his rise from a youngster with raw potential to the now game-changer.

It was three years ago when the 24-year-old officially joined the Galaxy as a winger with pace to burn. Former head coach Bruce Arena had this to say at the time:

“Emmanuel is a talented, young, attacking player who will add valuable depth to our offense. He will continue to develop as a player and we are excited to add him to our roster.”

Initially, he was seen as role player, substituting late to wear down already tired defenses.

Emmanuel Boateng - The Speedy Role Player

And Boateng made his first appearance coming off the bench against the Colorado Rapids in the second match of the 2016 season.

His first goal came nearly a month later against - you guessed it - Real Salt Lake. Boateng started that move near the top of the box. He finished it off after the ball rolled off of Gyasi Zardes’ foot in the perfect area. That match really made MLS aware of who Boateng was. The native of Ghana added two assists to his name against RSL, in what ended up being a resounding 5-2 victory at home.

During the knockout round of the MLS Playoffs that season, Boateng scored arguably his most memorable goal to date. Alan Gordon played a little touch pass to the speedster at the edge of the area. Ema proceeded to dance his way through three Salt Lake defenders with ease before sliding the ball past Nick Rimando to take a 2-1 lead in the 26th minute. He added a second goal eight minutes later to cap off a 3-1 Galaxy win.

Emmanuel Boateng - The Everyday Starter

Boateng’s role grew during his second season at the StubHub Center. He played in 34 total matches, with 29 of those coming from a starter role. His goals number grew during the regular season as well, doubling from two to four.

If there was a negative on his individual season, it was probably that he could not complete 90 minutes. Was he not used to the workload, expanding too much energy while on the pitch, or simply lacking endurance?

If he’s going to succeed in 2018, he needs to be better at conserving his energy.

Emmanuel Boateng - The Perfect Compliment?

When taking a look at the LA Galaxy roster for this season, there isn’t really anyone on it who does what Boateng does.

Romain Alessandrini does it all for the G’s. Giovani dos Santos pulls magic out of nowhere while being invisible for 85 minutes each match. Ola Kamara is a proven goal scorer who has lofty expectations for this season.

But who else, other than Emmanuel Boateng, can cause havoc on the pitch with just his speed? No one. He tears defenses apart with a couple of simple dribbles.

Is Boateng the key for success for the Galaxy this season? No, that would be Gio. He will, however play a vital role in what hopes to be a playoff-bound year in a weak Western Conference.