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LA Galaxy 2022 Player Postmortem: Chase Gasper

Left back provided different look on backline.

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

Chase Gasper was a surprise addition to the LA Galaxy in 2022, the left back moving west in early-May in a trade from Minnesota United.

From the Galaxy side, Gasper seemed to fit a need. With Jorge Villafaña ruled out for the season due to an ongoing knee injury, LA were very thin at the position. And even though Raheem Edwards started the season very well at that spot, he’s a utilityman who began his career as an attacking winger, so finding a more defense-minded fullback — which Gasper is — to platoon at the position made a great deal of sense.

Meanwhile, Gasper took a leave of absence to begin the season with Minnesota, entering the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program to deal with personal issues. Those issues were not made explicit publicly, but all indications were that Gasper saw he needed help and sought it, and to have a person be self-aware enough to realize they were falling into trouble and to address it, is impressive. Coming in a high-pressure environment like pro sports, all the more so. And so I think his move to LA, returning to the city where he played NCAA soccer with UCLA, seemed like a good change of scenery and a necessary break from the past for him.

Here are Gasper’s competitive stats with LA in 2022:

Chase Gasper 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 17 8 836 0 0 2 0 5 0
U.S. Open Cup 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 17 8 836 0 0 2 0 5 0

So Gasper indeed platooned at left back with Edwards throughout the season. His playing time was not concentrated in a particular part of the season, although he had a run of starts in July, probably the month where his minutes were most regular. As he was cap-tied with Minnesota in the Open Cup, he couldn’t play in that competition for the Galaxy, and so it was league or bust for him.

As a defensive-minded fullback, Greg Vanney used Gasper in a way he used to with players a lot in Toronto, bringing the left back off the bench to help shore up or change the game state in the 2nd half.

In looking at his scouting report graph on, Gasper wasn’t especially impressive in defense compared to players at his position across eight competitions, and in fact, he was elite at progressive (i.e. forward) passing among fullbacks, which makes the “defense-minded” title a bit misleading. His possession capabilities are his clear strength, while attack and, in fact, defense are much more pedestrian.

Gasper is 26, and somewhat surprisingly, he’s under contract through 2025. I don’t think he played his best soccer in 2022, and he could bounce back in a second season with the Galaxy, that’s entirely possible. At the same time, he can definitely be a depth player, but is that his ceiling at this point?

Then again, I don’t think it’s likely there’s much of a trade market within MLS for Gasper at this point, so the Galaxy are likely to run it back and hope he is more settled in 2023 and can lift his level. Given he’s gotten a U.S. Men’s National Team call-up in the last couple years, and left back is a difficult position to fill in the sport in general, that will likely help him get some more looks and again, there’s the potential to make a step up next year.

But that somewhat overlooks the year overall for Gasper. Above all, here’s hoping he’s in a better mental space than he was a year ago, and hopefully getting back to work has not been too much to handle. Nothing on the field seems to indicate that, so hopefully he’s gearing up for 2023 and will run it back stronger on the field.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.