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LA Galaxy 2021 Player Postmortem: Sebastian Lletget

Midfielder wraps up Galaxy tenure with another quixotic season.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at LA Galaxy Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

I’m going to throw my cards out on the table when it comes to Sebastian Lletget: The LA Galaxy played him in the wrong role throughout his tenure with the club.

Lletget is a talented, versatile midfielder/attacker who puts in the work no matter where he’s deployed, and that’s valuable indeed. But we’ve seen his success with the U.S. Men’s National Team, where he’s a remarkably consistent attacker and one of a few MLS players to be a fixture in Gregg Berhalter’s version of the USMNT.

Seeing Lletget running free as a winger/wide forward/No. 10, it’s strange to see him consistently played further back for the Galaxy, in a two-way or even defensive-minded role around other players. Lletget’s not a squad player, he’s one of the most talented players on a club that frequently struggled to score goals while he was on the roster.

Spending every international window on a call-up with the USMNT, Lletget played heavy minutes for club and country in 2021.

Here are Lletget’s stats with the Galaxy in 2021:

Sebastian Lletget 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 26 21 1,836 3 5 24 6 0 0

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I didn’t come to this conclusion about Lletget being miscast in LA overnight, but instead found myself wondering why he typically looked like a much worse player for the Galaxy compared to the U.S. I think if various Galaxy staffs had played him further up the field, he would have been far more useful and considering how narrowly LA missed the playoffs a couple seasons, it may have made the difference!

Lletget’s tenure with the Galaxy has come to an end, as he’s been traded to the New England Revolution to be reunited with Bruce Arena. Lletget, who is good for an occasional extremely candid quote, admitted recently he believed he was being played in the wrong position.

“As far as positionally, I’ve always been an attacking central midfielder,” Lletget said. “That was part of some issues that I had at my previous club, that I bounced around from position to position, and I’ve never been given that chance to master one position. That’s always been something that I’ve never really understood, but it’s always kind of panned out that way.

“Maybe because I can play other positions, but it’s always been my goal to master one. I think that’s one of the biggest conversations that I’ve had with Bruce is, ‘Is that the type of role that I can play on this team?’ and his answer was, ‘Yes.’ That’s kind of what he was already thinking. We definitely saw eye to eye on that.”

I don’t disagree with him. I think Lletget could be an MLS Best XI attacker, and taking one for the team hurt him and the Galaxy, ultimately. It’s one thing to slot into a weird spot if Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan are running riot in attack. It’s another if the team isn’t a contender and desperate for goals.

So I think it was best for everyone that Lletget moved on, talented as he may be. He was frustrating to watch with the Galaxy, because he seemed to disappear for games at a time. He may seem like a nice guy, albeit one who used a homophobic slur and was suspended by the league early in the season as a result, and Galaxy fans may have wanted to see more from him, even though he was called up as an MLS All-Star in 2021, but that fits the quixotic nature of the longest-tenured Galaxy player through the 2021 season. Again, I think he was miscast once again in 2021 in terms of his on-field role, but it was time for the parties to part ways. Hopefully the Galaxy can bring in a good player or two with the windfall from the trade, and hopefully Lletget will get his wish to play his preferred role. In other words, hopefully this turns out to be mutually beneficial.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.