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LA Galaxy 2021 Player Postmortem: Daniel Aguirre

Rookie works his way up to MLS deal.

Courtesy of LA Galaxy

Daniel Aguirre is one of the kinds of rookie stories you can really root for. The UC Riverside product wrapped up his college career with a cancelled 2020 season due to the COVID pandemic, and he was not drafted.

But he got an invitation to the LA Galaxy’s preseason in 2021, played his way into a USL Championship contract with LA Galaxy II, and then leveraged that with a contract at MLS level by midseason.

Primarily a holding midfielder, the 22-year-old played a lot of professional minutes in 2021, making 28 appearances (2,228 minutes) for Los Dos, even scoring three goals, and then getting five shifts, most very short, off the bench for the Galaxy in MLS regular season play.

Here are Aguirre’s statistics for the first team in 2021:

Daniel Aguirre 2021 LA Galaxy Statistics

2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS 5 0 32 0 0 2 0 0 0

Aguirre plays bigger than he is, and he impressed at USL Championship level in my opinion. If that is his ceiling, he should have no trouble finding work around that circuit in the years to come.

At MLS level, his sample size was truly tiny and so it’s hard to making sweeping generalizations about his suitability, honestly. Unlike many teams, where holding midfielder can be a real problem position, the Galaxy had a pretty deep stable of d-mids of varied profiles, from a star (Jonathan dos Santos), a newcomer who started red-hot (Rayan Raveloson), a versatile deep playmaking-style holding mid (Sacha Kljestan), and another youngster getting run (Adam Saldaña). Admittedly, Kljestan didn’t play this role much and dos Santos may or may not return to the team in 2022, so it’s possible Aguirre could find the path open up for him, or not. We’ll see.

It can be hard to really notice defensive midfielders in general, because most of their contributions are off the ball or are the uglier parts of the game, winning the ball off the other team and starting a new possession sequence. I think Aguirre has some potential, but time will tell if that’s at MLS level, and if it will be with the Galaxy for the foreseeable future or if 2021 was just a taste that was short and sweet.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.