clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

LA Galaxy 2020 player postmortem: Nick DePuy

A pleasant surprise in a tough spot.

MLS: LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nick DePuy completed a remarkable transformation in 2020. Drafted out of UC Santa Barbara in 2017 by the Montreal Impact as a forward, he couldn’t find playing time and ended up with LA Galaxy II as a project, the club converting him from forward to center back.

It worked, as he went from being a consistent option in central defense for Los Dos in 2019 to signing a first-team contract to return to MLS in 2020. And he wasn’t just a depth piece, as DePuy got regular playing time.

I don’t think the original plan was for DePuy to start so much, of course. But with Daniel Steres hurt to begin the season, DePuy was chucked onto the field to pair with Giancarlo Gonzalez, and...he looked pretty solid under the circumstances?

Here are DePuy’s stats in 2020:

Nick DePuy 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 16 15 1,409 0 1 9 3 4 0

With injuries and Gonzalez falling out of form for a good chunk of the season, DePuy emerged as a credible MLS center back. Given the expectations for him were pretty low, I think he overperformed and was solid. And I think he’s a player who could continue to improve and be a good rotation center back for years to come, and I expect Greg Vanney to help the player hone his game.

Having said that, the Galaxy have needed defensive upgrades and while DePuy stepped into a tough spot and performed admirably, is he a true starter-caliber center back? I don’t think he is at this point. I think he can make spot starts and like I said, I think he can continue to learn the position and may still show that yes, he can be a good MLS starter, but he’s not really there yet. He’s got the size, he has solid instincts, but he needs more reps and more coaching to really blossom. At 26, he still has time to be a good project and still have a good many years to go, and I think Vanney is the ideal coach to work on a project like that. If it pays off, the Galaxy could develop a starter in-house without having to pay a fortune to buy him.

But we’re not there yet. DePuy did what was asked of him and showed some promise. Was that a flash in the pan or really just the beginning? Time will tell on that front, but I think he’s proved he has earned more time to show what he can do with the Galaxy squad.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.