clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LA Galaxy 2022 Player Postmortem: Martin Caceres

Fall rental was quietly brilliant.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at LA Galaxy Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Martin Caceres was a surprise addition to the LA Galaxy roster in late-August. The veteran defender, now 35, had criss-crossed Europe for the past 15 years, playing for teams great and pedestrian over the years. After the Galaxy swooped to remake their midfield with Riqui Puig and Gaston Brugman, it seemed the wheeling and dealing was done. But Caceres joined on a free transfer after the transfer window was closed and it was certainly unexpected.

Ok, a veteran on a basic rental deal joining with about six weeks left in the season, would he play any role? Boy howdy, did he ever.

Here’s Caceres’ stats with the Galaxy in 2022:

Martin Caceres LA Galaxy 2022 Statistics

2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 6 5 429 0 1 2 0 1 0
U.S. Open Cup 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 2 2 174 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 8 7 603 0 1 2 0 1 0

After coming off the bench for five minutes in his MLS debut, Caceres was a fixture in the lineup the rest of the season. I will admit I was totally and fully wrong about pretty much everything about Caceres in LA, I thought maybe he would play left back but, aside from a short stint on the flank, he was firmly a center back with the G’z, slotting in seamlessly alongside Sega Coulibaly.

And while I think Puig was the player who fully unlocked LA’s fairly dormant team for the better, Brugman and yes, Caceres played big roles, too. With Caceres on the field, the Galaxy were 3W-2L-3D in the regular season and playoffs, and in his starts, the Galaxy allowed 10 goals in seven games, a per-game average improvement on LA’s average the rest of the season without him.

Most importantly, I think Caceres quietly brought a combination of experience, skill, steady play and leadership in the back, which is pretty much exactly what the Galaxy needed on the backline. It seemed pretty clear that Coulibaly and Derrick Williams weren’t destined to ever fully click together, and Caceres’ arrival was a force multiplier in defense, a lesser effect to Puig’s on the entire lineup.

Obviously the Uruguayan isn’t young, and he’s never stayed long at any club in his career (a four-season stint at Juventus is very much an outlier), and he was left exposed in the Expansion Draft for St. Louis City SC, so Caceres’ future is up in the air at this point. Can he replicate his excellent play across a full season in MLS? Who knows but it sure looks like he deserves the shot, if he wants it. Of course, he’s on his way to the World Cup with Uruguay, and he’s probably fully focused on that for the time being.

But regardless of what happens, Martin Caceres was a sneaky-great upgrade for the Galaxy defense late in 2022, and he deserves credit for raising the team’s level right when they needed it.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.