The LA Galaxy named midfielder Riqui Puig a Designated Player for the 2023 Major League Soccer season, adjusting his contract after one campaign with the Western Conference giants. 

“We are excited to announce Riqui Puig as our newest Designated Player,” LA head coach and sporting director Greg Vanney said in a release.

“Riqui is an exceptional talent that has the capacity to impact games in many different ways. He is a tireless competitor with a combination of awareness and precision at high speed that is truly unique. We look forward to his continued contributions to the club for years to come.”

He now joins Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez and Douglas Costa as the team’s DPs, while Dejan Joveljic, Efrain Alvarez and right-back Lucas Calegari stand as U22 Initiative Players. 

The young player arrived from FC Barcelona on a three-and-a-half-year contract through the 2025 MLS season using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).He made an immediate impact on Greg Vanney’s side, tallying three goals and five assists in 10 regular-season appearances. 

In just his first nine starts spanning August 28-October 9, 2022, Puig led MLS in assists (5), passes attempted (678), passes completed (623), successful passes ending in the final third (213). Additionally, Puig ranked fourth in the league in duels won (55) and tied for 12th in possessions won (54).

He is expected to be an integral part of the team this season, as the Galaxy attempts to reestablish their dominance in the Western Conference. The team concluded the 2022 campaign in fourth place, reaching the Conference semifinals before falling 3-2 to the reigning MLS champions LAFC. 

Puig, alongside Mark Delgado and Gaston Burgman, form one of the most exciting midfield trios in Major League Soccer. The current roster should be enough to propel Greg Vanney to a trophy, potentially ending a nine year dry spell. 

The Galaxy last lifted a major trophy in 2014, defeating the New England Revolution 2-1 to win the MLS Cup for the fifth time. But the team has remained without a Cup or Supporters Shield since. 

The team kicks off the 2023 MLS campaign on Saturday, March 4 against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium after their season-opening El Trafico fixture was postponed due to weather conditions in Los Angeles.

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