clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LA Galaxy 2021 Player Postmortem: Nick DePuy

Defender appears to be coming into his own.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at LA Galaxy Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

It remains kind of mind-blowing to remember that Nick DePuy entered MLS as a forward. At 6’5, he seems like a natural central defender, and over the past several seasons, he’s put in the reps to move from one end of the field to the other.

The California native was solid on a bad LA Galaxy team in 2020, stepping up in a general breach to become a regular on the backline, and his progress continued under a new regime in 2021. While Greg Vanney seemed determined to upgrade center back, bringing in Derrick Williams and Sega Coulibaly, there was a revolving door between the trio and Daniel Steres, and DePuy saw plenty of playing time once again.

Here are DePuy’s stats for 2021:

Nick DePuy 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 25 18 1,856 0 1 11 4 6 0

In looking at DePuy’s advanced stats, per FBref.com, you can see where his strengths lie. He’s a good passer, which makes sense for a guy who played in an attacking position previously. He’s also a good tackler, and he pretty clearly goes for the tackle or the clearance when under pressure. In contrast, he doesn’t step to the ball, and a little surprisingly, he doesn’t win as many aerials as you might expect considering his size.

(You can also check out DePuy’s stats on his FBref.com page).

I think DePuy is a solid squad player and while he’s 27 now, he may still have some room to continue to hone his game still. I think he’s been a better player than most anyone expected when he got promoted to the first team, but the Galaxy defense has also been poor as a unit in both years he’s been in the fold. Vanney needed to get upgrades, and frankly, it’s still unclear if Williams and/or Coulibaly are the answers in the long term.

But Steres, the ultimate “underdog who continually outplays the players brought in to replace him,” was finally moved on this offseason, and DePuy looks like the third man in central defense heading into the start of 2022 training camp. Given the rigors of a season, if that is the plan he should still see a good amount of playing time. But if Vanney seeks to upgrade the defense yet again, which would make a certain amount of sense, then the fallout for DePuy could be unknown.

So I think DePuy is an easy guy to root for, and his knack for making tackles in LA’s box that looks foolish before you see him cleanly strip opposing players bearing down on goal is impressive, probably one of the best at that skill in the league. But will he see major time in 2022 or will he need to wait for his opportunity? That remains to be seen.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.