He came off the bench and played just 12 minutes, and didn’t even get his picture taken by the wire services after making his LA Galaxy competitive debut.
But Gordon Wild was a sparkplug in that debut, setting up LA’s goal in a 2-1 loss Monday against the Portland Timbers in the MLS is Back Tournament and scoring another goal, that was unfortunately called back on an offside call.
It was only 12 minutes, but the German looks like he can add an element to the Galaxy attack moving forward.
First, some background on Wild: The attacker came through the Mainz academy setup in his native country before moving to the United States to play college soccer. After three college seasons, two at powerhouse program the University of Maryland, Wild was drafted by Atlanta United in 2018 but never played in MLS for them, instead going on loan to the USL. The same thing happened last summer, after he was waived by Atlanta and was picked up by D.C. United. He never played an MLS minute there, either, and toiled in USL.
So when the Galaxy signed Wild in the offseason, he looked like a body on the squad who would split time between the first team and Los Dos, and likely get all or most of his playing time in the second-tier.
But in the scrimmage between the Galaxy’s overall roster prior to the MLS group departing for Orlando, Wild scored and looked sharp. And then, after three years of waiting, he got that MLS debut Monday and while it was a losing effort in the end, looked really terrific.
So was that just a fluke or will Wild get more playing time for the Galaxy moving forward? It certainly seems like the MLS is Back Tournament is tailor-made for a player like him, able to get some run off the bench and maybe even a start — I think Cameron Dunbar had a good MLS debut, too, and looked pretty good to start the game against the Timbers, but Wild, seven years older than Dunbar and probably realizing he’s in a “now or never” moment for his career, could get the nod to start Saturday against LAFC.
There is an issue that Wild is best used as a second striker, a position that doesn’t entirely exist most of the time these days. But you can argue that Cristian Pavon kind of plays that role already, combining that with a bit of a playmaker’s role, too.
And while the big issue for the Galaxy has been service to the attack, notably Chicharito, a potential strategy could be to use Pavon and Wild as support strikers/wide playmakers and try to dictate play more often up to goal and to Chicharito. It would likely be a bit of a band-aid on longer-term concerns for LA, but it’s a workable adjustment, something worth trying.
At any rate, 12 minutes is not enough to project a player’s prospects fully, but in that cameo, Wild played an immediate role, and in my mind, he absolutely showed he deserves more playing time for the Galaxy first team moving forward.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.