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2020 LA Galaxy player postmortem: Kai Koreniuk

Los Dos played got promoted and one moment to shine.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Kai Koreniuk was a promising signing by the LA Galaxy in 2020, the attacker coming up through the LA Galaxy II ranks before getting a deal with the first team, something I think a lot of fans were looking for from the club to do more often and more effectively.

The Florida native, eligible for both the United States and Netherlands, had a strong debut season in the Galaxy organization in 2019 and starting the 2020 season on fire too, scoring a brace in a big road win for Los Dos in the season opener in March.

And by the time the season restarted, he got that move, signing an MLS deal ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament and staying with the first team the rest of the campaign.

Here were Koreniuk’s stats with the first team in 2020:

Kai Koreniuk 2020 LA Galaxy statistics

2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 4 0 12 1 0 2 2 0 0

And then, as you can see, Koreniuk barely played, coming on for garbage time minutes, with Guillermo Barros Schelotto unwilling to rotate his lineup and reluctant to use his full complement of substitutes, no matter the game state.

That left the 22-year-old on the outside looking in, on both sides of the equation. He was with the first team but didn’t play much, and with the first team and Los Dos separating after the USL Championship team dealt with a coronavirus outbreak, his potential for regular playing time dried up. And that had to be pretty disappointing.

Still, Koreniuk showed a glimpse of what he could do, with one of the best highlights of the entire season, scoring a stoppage-time winner against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Oct. 18.

So the good news is Koreniuk opened his MLS account and did it while playing almost no minutes, which is no small feat. His goal was not a fluke, and he’s shown with the reserves he has a nose for goal.

But will he get another chance to earn playing time under a new coach in 2021? If so, would he get some real minutes or be left to sit it out on the bench? Can he give it a go in MLS elsewhere? Is his ceiling at the USL Championship level?

None of these questions have answers at this point. The sample size is nearly nonexistent, so it’s hard to actually assess Koreniuk’s run. He was directly responsible for one win, which is good, but it’s still all potential. His age means that could still come good in the future, but it will depend on his situation. Will that be with the Galaxy? We’ll have to wait and see, but we’ll always have that goal against the Whitecaps, at the very least.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.