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LA Galaxy 2022 Player Postmortem: Nick DePuy

Center back rotated into the action.

SOCCER: AUG 28 MLS - LA Galaxy at New England Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nick DePuy returned for his third season with the LA Galaxy in 2022, but he became more of a rotational option this time around.

After notching a career high in appearances at MLS level in 2021, the center back seemingly beat out Daniel Steres on the Galaxy roster, with Steres traded away in the offseason, but DePuy had to bide his time as Greg Vanney opted for Derrick Williams, Séga Coulibaly and eventually Martín Cáceres generally preferred on the depth chart.

Still, DePuy saw a good amount of playing time, over 1,200 minutes in league play and a fixture in the U.S. Open Cup run for the Galaxy, so he did play a role along the way for the G’z.

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

Nick DePuy 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 18 14 1,289 0 0 9 0 6 0
U.S. Open Cup 4 4 360 0 0 3 0 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 22 18 1,649 0 0 12 0 6 0

Cáceres’ arrival really seemed to push DePuy out of the mix, as almost all of his minutes came prior to September. I don’t think you can disagree with that choice, either — with Cáceres and Coulibaly starting together in central defense down the stretch, LA were red-hot and ended up nearly reaching the Western Conference Final when all was said and done.

As for DePuy’s play, his scouting report graph on, comparing his performance with players across eight comparable leagues to MLS, show perhaps why he was not seen as a long-term option to start in 2022. In particular, tackling, which is where he derives nearly all of his highlight plays as a defender, clock in the bottom quintile in his position, surprisingly.

DePuy remains under contract with the Galaxy for 2023, and I think there is certainly a case to keep him around. In particular, central defense is a position where if a couple players get hurt or are unavailable at once, a team can get gashed if they don’t have ample replacements. DePuy is certainly good enough to post the occasion start and otherwise be at the ready. He just turned 28, he’s at peak age for a professional, and he has shown over the years with the Galaxy that he can step up when few expect him to rise to the occasion. Add to that the fact that the Galaxy will not only be competing in the Open Cup in 2023 but also a vastly expanded Leagues Cup and players like DePuy are almost certainly going to be needed to help keep the squad fresh as the games pile up. This year is likely instructive for how Vanney is planning to use DePuy next year, in having him become a regular outside league play.

At the same time, DePuy has played over 60 times for the Galaxy and by and large, we know his level at this point. I think he’s been put in difficult positions over the years and done well enough, but this year demonstrated that the level rose around him, and perhaps he wasn’t up to really compete for regular starter’s minutes again. That’s ok, improving teams will have situations like this where some players are left behind to an extent, and that seems to have happened here. At the same time, it’s good to have continuity and an insurance policy in case the wheels fall off, which can derail a season if absences hit a vital position like center back.

So we’ll see how DePuy is deployed in 2023, but I expect it will be pretty similar to this year, unless the homegrowns push past him on the depth chart. That is a possibility, but most coaches opt for experience over youth, and I think Nick DePuy has solidified his role as a good squad player for the Galaxy.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.