As Greg Vanney continues his makeover of the LA Galaxy roster, the club unveiled a familiar face to the new head coach on Wednesday in the shape of latest signing Victor Vazquez. The midfielder was part of Vanney’s 2017 Toronto FC side that won the domestic treble and signals the head coach’s priorities for his new team in attack.
“Arguably, he’s one of the most intelligent soccer players that I’ve ever been around,” Vanney said in a virtual press conference Wednesday. “His ability to organize the game, understand what the game needs, visions for the final pass, his leadership within our group I think is going to be important as we, again, establish the culture and the vision moving forward and his technical ability is off the charts but his mind is as fast as anyone I’ve ever seen.”
Vanney also mentioned how Vazquez can aid forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who has yet to truly launch himself in the league after scoring only twice in 12 games last year.
“His recognition of things is excellent,” Vanney said of Vazquez. “I think for a player like Javier who, again, one of his strengths is his running and his movements and second and third runs to get himself open, a guy like Victor is going to recognize those runs and put the ball where he needs it.”
In addition to Vazquez, the team added another attacking player when they officially signed winger Samuel Grandsir from Monaco last week. However, Vanney admitted that roster construction remains ongoing.
That includes potentially re-signing Cristian Pavon after his loan ended in December and he returned to Boca Juniors.
“I don’t think [signing Samuel Grandsir] necessarily signifies we’re moving on from Cristian,” Vanney said. “We are continuing to look to build the roster, whether that is with Cristian or without Cristian is still a little bit to be determined. Samuel was going to be added regardless of whether Cristian was here or not. He is another piece. There is another wing that needs to be filled and there might be one or two more.”
In February, Pavon had surgery on both ankles that was expected to keep him out for two months. Earlier this month, he was charged with rape in Argentina and ordered by a court to give testimony on his charge on March 23. He has denied the allegations.
“To be candid, I think all options are on the table,” Vanney added. “We need to continue to move forward, keep our options open and keep looking at possibilities, assess the situation and when it’s time to move and get it finalized or move and move on, we need to be prepared to do so. I think when those conclusions are met and are clear, we’ll be ready for either one and so that’s our responsibility here over the next few weeks, to try to get clarity on this whole situation.”
The coach believes his roster remains incomplete, especially with the fact that the number of international activity this year means several key Galaxy players will likely miss several weeks of the season with their national teams. For the upcoming international window at the end of the month, the Galaxy will be without the US men’s national team‘s Sebastian Lletget and Mexico’s Jonathan dos Santos and Efrain Alvarez.
Midfielder magic 🇺🇸🇲🇽@SLletget, @jona2santos & @efrain_alvarez1 called up to @USMNT & @miseleccionmxEN rosters
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 17, 2021
“We need to continue to make sure that we have options,” Vanney said. “Some of those, we have in house now and some, one or two, we probably need to add. Obviously, Victor provides us with a little bit of that on the attacking midfield side but we probably still need to provide a little bit of depth, at least one more guy in the middle of midfield as we continue to build our group.”
The group Vanney is working with in preseason currently includes LA Galaxy II defender Mauricio Cuevas and forward Augustine Williams, with Vanney sharing that Williams has found “ways to score goals” so far in preseason. It seems that, for now, the younger players in the team remain long-term projects, and that a roster that allows for rotation is key.
“We just need to have depth in all of these positions that we can rely on,” he said.