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LA Galaxy 2020 player postmortem: Carlos Harvey

Project midfielder made another step in career this year.

MLS: 2020 MLS Headshots USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Harvey was a long play for the LA Galaxy, and in 2020, he made the next step in the progression, as the Panamanian came up to the first team for the first time and made his first appearances in MLS.

Harvey joined LA Galaxy II ahead of the 2019 season, on loan from Panamanian powerhouse Tauro FC. A teenager at the time, Harvey made just one appearance for Tauro before moving stateside, and he established himself with Los Dos last year with a strong season that made him a standout in the USL Championship.

After starting 2020 at Galaxy II, Harvey got a loan move to the first team (quick aside: How could Harvey be on loan from Tauro and on loan from Los Dos? It’s because the United States is considered an exception to FIFA’s general rules on loans and players moving around multiple teams in a short span of time), ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament. And while the Galaxy had plenty of experienced options at defensive midfield on the roster, there was some hope he might break through and get some playing time.

Here’s Harvey’s statistics in MLS in 2020:

Carlos Harvey LA Galaxy 2020 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 6 1 104 0 0 0 0 1 0

So Harvey did get on the field in MLS, although it wasn’t a ton of time. And unlike some of the other young Los Dos products on the squad, Guillermo Barros Schelotto seemed to build up to giving Harvey more minutes, bringing him off the bench five of his six appearances on the season in a row, and capping it off with his first career start.

Unfortunately, that start was Schelotto’s final game, the glum blowout loss at the Portland Timbers. And with the Galaxy chasing shadows in that game, and uncertainty surrounding Schelotto, Harvey showed some inexperience before he was replaced at halftime.

Not to make excuses, but I think he was thrown into a tough situation, and it’s unfortunate his big chance came in such pressure. Obviously, there are players who can rise to an occasion like that, but LA were struggling badly at that point in the season, and so let’s just say Harvey was truly thrown into the deep end, and uh, he kind of stayed suspended in the middle.

At the same time, he didn’t get a ton of playing time at MLS level, so that single start looms large in evaluating his season. But it’s a small sample size. I’m not sure he can become a star defensive midfielder in MLS, but he also hasn’t had a lot of time, so the jury is out.

I do think the potential is there. Harvey is just 20, and was a long-term prospect for the Galaxy. Under a new coach who is interested in more seriously rotating his squad in a season, who’s willing to give new players a chance when things aren’t going well, Harvey could get more run and a chance to show if he’s up to MLS level.

Of course, he has to come back first. The Galaxy said they’re in talks with Tauro to bring him back for 2021, but there’s no guarantee yet that a deal will be done. I expect there’s a good chance he will be back, and I think if he does, he would be a backup/split time with Los Dos player. However, I think if he comes back, there should be a path where he’s able to play 500-1,000 minutes at MLS level in 2021, to keep the development track going.

So we’ll see what happens. Harvey plays in a position that’s one of the most thankless on the field, and I think based on his performances for Los Dos, there’s promise for him to become a new starter who was a diamond in the rough. But there’s a lot of maybes along the way, and it remains to be seen what the future holds for him.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.