New England Revolution

Sebastian Lletget leaving LA Galaxy to chase success with New England Revolution is a sign of the times

Chris Smith
Lletget played the best soccer of his career under Bruce Arena with the LA Galaxy.
Lletget played the best soccer of his career under Bruce Arena with the LA Galaxy. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Times have changed in Major League Soccer and Sebastian Lletget's reasoning for his move to the New England Revolution from the LA Galaxy is perfect evidence of that.

Once upon a time, the Galaxy ruled the roost in these parts, creating a dynasty that yielded five MLS Cups in 13 years, and three out of four between 2011 and 2014. David Beckam, Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard. The big names all flocked to LA.

But speaking to the press following a move to the Revs that could hit the $1.3m mark in General Allocation Money (GAM), Lletget made his intentions quite clear: "I want to win."

Lletget continued: "I haven’t been able to do that at the Galaxy for one reason or another, but I think this is going to be the challenge that I’m looking for.”

Less than a decade ago, Lletget would have been widely mocked for making this move on the basis of a desire to win silverware. But it's not just him who has struggled to win with the Galaxy - the league's flagship club are without a trophy since that 2014 MLS Cup triumph and even finished rock-bottom of the overall standings in 2017.

Lletget has instead joined a team fresh from winning the Supporters' Shield with a record regular-season points total, sitting 12 points clear of their nearest challenger.

Of course, there's an argument to be made that Lletget wouldn't be joining the Revs if not for the presence of Bruce Arena. The 29-year-old played the best soccer of his career under the veteran head coach during that time together in LA in 2015 and 2016, when Lletget scored 14 goals and set up another seven in 66 appearances across all competitions. It was Arena who brought him back to the United States after a tough spell in England with West Ham United.

But then, would New England have managed their Shield triumph if not for Arena's methods? After all, the 70-year-old has lifted MLS Cup five times as a head coach alongside a host of other trophies, while he's won the MLS Coach of the Year award a record four times.

"I’m just super excited," Lletget said about the prospect of reuniting with Arena. "It’s kind of a full-circle moment. He’s the one that brought me to LA Galaxy, he’s the one that gave me my first cap on the [United States] National Team. Now circling back with him in New England, it’s set up to be something great."

The midfielder didn't hold back when asked to pick out Arena's best qualities as a coach.

“With Bruce, I think you’re going to hear that a lot from me and I’m sure you’ve heard it from other players. I don’t know how he does it. He has this secret sauce about him as far as managing groups and managing players as individuals," he said.

"Since day one, since he signed me with the Galaxy, I could definitely understand right away why he’s had so much success. The fact that he’s proven it again and again, now coming into a new club, especially after everything with the [United States Men’s] National Team and stuff like that, it just proves everything, what we all thought about him. In my experience, he’s always been great. I’ve always been grateful for him, for giving me that first opportunity.

"Now, being more experienced, I’ve played in a lot of games, played in different types of games, I think now I can really offer something different as opposed to when I was younger. I think he knows that. He’s always valued veteran types of players, players with experience and that’s what I want to bring to this team."

With this latest addition slotting in alongside MVP Carles Gil and Argentine forward Gustavo Bou, there's little reason to suggest the Revolution will do anything but get better next season - providing they manage the depature of Tajon Buchanan.

Lletget and Arena are clearly a match made in heaven. The only surprise is it's taken a move from the Galaxy to the Revs to chase more success together, not the other way around.

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