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LA Galaxy 2020 player postmortem: Sebastian Lletget

Longest-tenure player had good season in spite of the circumstances.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at LA Galaxy Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Can you believe it, 2020 was Sebastian Lletget’s sixth season for the LA Galaxy. That made him the longest-tenured player on the team, with only Daniel Steres, who joined the first team a year after the midfielder, even remotely close.

Lletget is a player who seems to polarize the fanbase. He’s clearly very talented, but there’s been a train of thought that he doesn’t really bring his best to LA, instead really elevating his play every time he features for the U.S. Men’s National Team. On that latter count, it is striking how much better he tends to look when he plays for his country.

But is that a product of Lletget’s effort or his role on a given team? I think it’s almost entirely the latter factor. For long stretches of his Galaxy tenure, Lletget’s played out of position or in a secondary or tertiary role compared to what he’s best at. He’s best at being a winger or even a wide forward, and the Galaxy have really not played in a 4-3-3 while he’s been at the club.

Here are Lletget’s statistics in 2020:

Sebastian Lletget 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 21 19 1,692 6 4 37 18 1 0

In the end, in 2020 Lletget was the second banana in attack, his six goals and four assists his best G+A single-season output in his MLS career to date, behind only Cristian Pavón on the team in both categories.

Lletget’s versatility has been a curse, frankly, with his club. Just because he can do a job as a central midfielder doesn’t mean he should play there, and as time goes by I wish he were unleashed to play a more pure attacking role. Again, we’ve seen him thrive with the USMNT, where he’s basically given the freedom to burn for goal and try stuff.

I’m really curious to see where Greg Vanney plays him, and while it would definitely be a step down if Lletget were merely the replacement for Pavón if the Argentine doesn’t return this season, I think getting him more scoring opportunities and closer to goal is the way to go. Lletget has never been truly prolific, with seven goals in 2015 his high in a season, but he’s still just 28 and I sincerely hope he isn’t drafted to prop up the midfield alongside Jonathan dos Santos, regardless of who the Galaxy bring in to support Chicharito, because I think that will neutralize what Lletget does best.

Lletget is of course under contract for 2021 and seems like he should continue to play a key role moving forward. I think behind Pavón and possibly Julian Araujo, Lletget had the best season on the team, by a long shot. Now, none of them were able to make the Galaxy contenders or even a playoff team with the coach and supporting cast they had, but I think Lletget’s all-around play, consistency and set-piece delivery can’t be discounted. In spite of a terrible season for the team, he was pretty good, and certainly can play a key role on a better team.

Again, I’m eager to see how Vanney plays Lletget and if he can match the country form on the club level. Most players are the opposite, balling out more for their clubs because they spend more time there, but Lletget has been on a better run for the U.S. for a while. Without wishing ill of him on the international stage, here’s hoping he can elevate his play in 2021 and he and the Galaxy can get even better in MLS.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.