LA Galaxy 2021 Player Postmortem: Sacha Kljestan

Sacha Kljestan isn’t the player he was in his prime, but 2021 has been something of a return to form.

The midfielder is one of the most versatile in MLS: Capable of playing as a playmaker, deep midfielder, defensive midfielder, box-to-box midfielder and even winger, he has had periods of his career when he did a bit of all of this. His first stint in MLS was as a pure forward, before being recast as a defensive-minded midfielder in Europe, then returning to MLS as a pure playmaker, where he was for a time the king of the league.

With the LA Galaxy, Kljestan entered his second season in 2021 and he was deployed as a part-time starter, showing an ability to add to the game even when coming off the bench. Playing just under 800 minutes in the league last year, it was unclear how Greg Vanney would use him in 2021.

Turns out Vanney kept Kljestan in the mix a lot and doubled his minutes in the process.

Here are Kljestan’s stats in 2021:

Sacha Kljestan 2021 LA Galaxy Stats

2021 Games played Games started Minutes Goals Aids Blows SOG Yellow cards Red cards
2021 Games played Games started Minutes Goals Aids Blows SOG Yellow cards Red cards
MLS 31 13 1,394 5 4 20 9 3 0

Believe it or not, but Kljestan was second in the team in goals scored in 2021, and contributing a smattering of assists has also come in handy. This, while occasionally working shifts as a midfielder, once again able to fill a variety of roles depending on the needs of the team.

In fact, it’s quite remarkable that Kljestan played almost every game. The merit of his preparation, his good health and his ability to make the most of his time on the pitch. In a team where a secondary scoring option has been a persistent problem, Kljestan gave them more goals than I expected. And his fire, intensity and clear vocal leadership were absolutely assets to a team still looking to fulfill those intangible qualities.

Kljestan has proved his worth enough, in fact, that he re-signed for 2022 in recent days. He’s 36 and probably nearing the end of his playing career, but I think he’s shown his value to the team in more ways than one. Ideally, he’d be better off not playing major minutes, as he’s tied to a terminal wall at one point, but he seems to have gained the benefit of the doubt by continuing to get playing time. other options are moving forward and that it will be difficult for him to enter the pitch, and he can still participate in training and be an essential vocal leader for the team, but time will tell how that will go .

Anyway, after many Galaxy fans were skeptical about Kljestan joining, he seems to have won over just about every fan. It’s a good one, and a semi-revival season was great to see in 2021.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.