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LA Galaxy 2020 player postmortem: Joe Corona

He worked hard, but it didn’t quite click.

Los Angeles FC v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Joe Corona returned in 2020 for his second year with the LA Galaxy. After a debut campaign in MLS where he played nearly every game, Corona looked set to be a key player once more, and he was under Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

When Corona first emerged as a professional, helping Club Tijuana rise to Liga MX and win the league title, the San Diego native was a midfielder who played a two-way game but had a knack for making an attacking foray to considerable success.

He made his way to the U.S. Men’s National Team, but over time, Corona fell out of order with Xolos and bounced around Mexico a bit, before coming to the Galaxy and making a fresh start of sorts.

So, how did he play in 2020? Good question.

Here were Corona’s statistics in 2020:

Joe Corona 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 16 12 986 1 0 10 6 2 1

I think to his credit, Corona always tore around the field, getting stuck in and working hard each shift, with Schelotto often opting to take him off in the 2nd half of games.

Corona was certainly at an MLS standard, that’s for sure. He was a steady hand in midfield, and that was needed for the Galaxy.

However, I think he was somewhat disappointing in his play with the Galaxy. He was a box-to-box midfielder but basically played as one of two holding midfielders. I think some games he was good in disrupting play in the middle, and others he wasn’t as adept. Unlike his counterpart, Perry Kitchen, who played as a pure destroyer pretty well and throughout his career, sanding off the edges for Corona took away his attacking impetus and left him as an average holding mid.

And it’s worth wondering if like so many of the Galaxy players, the poor tactics from Schelotto really didn’t do Corona any favors. The team was crying out for attacking reinforcements, and Corona was stuck trying to put out fires on the other end. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t expect him to score 10 goals in a season at age 30, but I think at his best he could easily contribute five goals and five assists, and you know, that could have helped the Galaxy get a couple more results along the way.

I just think he was a square peg in a round hole in the end. He brought something to the team, but it wasn’t the full complement. There’s a good chance the tactics were holding him back.

And so Corona is moving on this offseason, but what’s weird is he’s done it several times over already. After going out of contract after the season, he was selected by Austin FC in the expansion draft, which gave LA a great assist by flipping them some allocation money and exemption from the next expansion draft for losing a player.

Days later, Corona then signed a free agent deal with the Houston Dynamo. So what happened was the Galaxy got more out of the expansion draft for Corona than Austin FC, remarkably.

We should get a better sense of Corona’s level at this point in his career in MLS with the Dynamo. I think there is a chance he’s well past it, there’s a chance he may improve quite a bit with the Schelotto handcuffs off, or maybe it will be something in the middle. Again, I think he was a good professional, always good to talk to, someone who visibly worked hard, but I also think it was a good time to move on and try to upgrade at the position. We’ll see what happens for Corona from here on out, and best wishes to him.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.