DeLaGarza and Boateng Join New England
Bruce Arena has found some decent depth players with a large amount of MLS experience. Arena signed A.J DeLaGarza and Emmanuel Boateng to the team this past week. DeLaGarza and Boateng are both familiar recruits from Bruce’s time with the LA Galaxy. The pair of players bring veteran mindsets and show that Arena believes in these player’s contributions. If you’re an “In Bruce We Trust” follower, these are great additions to the team. The players are willing to go to war for Bruce Arena, these are his familiar recruits.
DeLaGarza, MLS Vet: 22,600 Minutes In Regular Season
A.J. DeLaGarza was the 19th overall draft pick of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by the LA Galaxy. He went on to play for the Galaxy in over 17,000 of his nearly 23,000 MLS minutes. The Galaxy was dependent on the versatile defender, joining in the postseason over those 11 years for over 1,700 minutes. DeLaGarza was a mainstay for the Galaxy until Bruce Arena left the team in 2016. He won three MLS Cups and two Supporter’s Shields with LA.
On SuperDraft day in 2017, the Dynamo traded some TAM and GAM to Galaxy for the defender. A.J was on the bench for the Dynamo’s US Open Cup win in 2018. While on the Dynamo’s team, he had an ACL tear in 2018 and a fractured right foot in 2019. At the end of the season in 2019, DeLaGarza was allowed to get out of the contract. Not long after, Inter Miami gave him a contract for the 2020 season. A.J. appeared in five games for Miami in the regular season and played the entire 90 minutes of their postseason appearance.
A.J’s Big Feature
When DeLaGarza starts games, you get a creative defender who can stifle attacks while springing forward his own. A.J. brings the game to another level when he’s a part of the team. A major stat to follow is the team’s goal differential while he’s on the field. For the LA Galaxy, they were up 84 goals while DeLaGarza was on the field during regular season play. While with LA, he only assisted on four goals total in the run of play but clearly made a stamp on the defensive side. He continued this trend with Houston and Inter Miami, although featuring less for them. He also is a very passionate and loyal player, which is why you see him feature for Bruce again.
Boateng, Defensive Winger: Depth Brings Creativity
Between 2013 and 2020, Emmanuel Boateng has played for four teams. Most extensively, Boateng featured for LA Galaxy from 2016 into 2019. He played for the Swedish team Helsinborgs IF before joining MLS in 2016. During his career in MLS, Ema has graced the field for 6,400 minutes in the regular season. Nearly 6,000 of those minutes were with the LA Galaxy and 1,600 of those minutes, Bruce Arena was his coach. Boateng also played for a short time with DC United in 2019 into 2020. Also, the Columbus Crew in 2020. The speedy winger has shown some great ability to dribble and strike from the wing in his years with MLS. His defensive record in the middle third is phenomenal as well.
Boateng’s Big Feature
Emmanuel has been a sub more often than not since 2017. He definitely comes to this team as a depth piece. Boateng will show up like Teal Bunbury does when he comes off the bench. He will be willing to get down and dirty for whatever amount of minutes Bruce brings him from the bench. Also, if needed, he’s willing to put in a great shift starting as well. Especially coming off of a year like 2020, a great squad rotation player is needed, you get this with Boateng. He scored 9 goals and assisted 14 times in his time in MLS. While it’s not much, it is very productive since he is usually subbed in or out of most games.
A.J. and Emmanuel bring Arena some comfort to his team. These are players that Arena has come to know over the years very well. DeLaGarza being the biggest piece in the puzzle, becoming depth that is reliable for Bruce. Boateng brings a new rotation piece to the table, something that the Revolution have lacked. A player who is known for coming off the bench and creating something out of nothing. Both of these players most of all, you know what you’re getting out of them when they play for the side.