CARSON, Calif. – The signings of former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and Mexican international Giovani dos Santos understandably have earned the Galaxy their share of plaudits this season. But it is the addition of another player that is proving to be one of the team’s shrewdest moves this year.
Chances are only the most diehard U.S. Soccer fans knew about Sebastian Lletget before he joined the defending MLS Cup champions in early May. The 22-year-old native of San Francisco had been languishing in the youth system of English side West Ham United and had made just one appearance with the first team, a loss in last year’s FA Cup match against Nottingham Forest.
But look at him now. Lletget has been nothing short of a revelation in scoring five goals in eight league games – six goals if you count his tally in a U.S. Open Cup match against PSA Elite – and clearly has added a dynamic element to the midfield of the Galaxy, who arguably are playing their best soccer of the season.
“I suppose it’s a surprise for the time I’ve been here,” Lletget said after training Thursday. “I’ve worked really hard. In my mind I’m not surprised because I’ve worked so hard.
“I just hope it keeps getting better.”
The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder made his first start against the Columbus Crew on June 13 and made it count by scoring the Galaxy’s lone goal in a 1-1 tie. He has started the last five games, including a U.S. Open Cup match against Real Salt Lake, and has drawn rave reviews from teammates for his standout play.
Lletget said he likes to use his smarts as much as his ability for his penchant at seemingly being in the right position at the right time.
“I try to use my brain, see where defenders are and also the effort to get into the box,” he said. “I gotta get in there; it’s just my mentality.”
The Galaxy’s Robbie Keane has been surprised by Lletget’s sudden impact.
“He’s not your typical left winger,” he said. “He comes inside a lot, he comes off the line and makes it hard for defenders because you don’t now if he’s coming inside or outside.
“He’s good on the ball, very clever, and he scores goals. The hardest thing to do in football is score goals, and he’s doing it with a lot of confidence.
“He’s doing well for the team.”
Lletget admitted he thought his career was going nowhere in England and remains thankful he got a chance with the Galaxy, who brought him into preseason training in Europe.
“It’s like my career was at a standstill for so long,” he said. “I knew what I could do and I’m just thankful to this club for giving me this opportunity.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of players it happens to. For whatever reason, the position they’re in, it just doesn’t come off for them. That was my situation, and luckily I’m here.”