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Galaxy teenager Efrain Alvarez flashes his considerable potential with stunning winner over Whitecaps


Efrain Alvarez is one of the highest rated young players in Major League Soccer and the 18-year-old midfielder was a pivotal part of the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, scoring the winning goal deep into extra time.

Alvarez has been known for his stellar left foot since his days in the LA Galaxy Academy, and on Saturday night his game-winning shot came on a left-footed half volley from inside of the box, beating Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

“It was honestly a moment that I had been waiting for a long time,” said Alvarez. “I saw Nick [DePuy] going up for the ball and I was like, ‘I’m going to stay back and see if I can get the rebound.’ I had in mind what I was going to do and I was ready for the opportunity.”

After being tied 0-0 going into halftime, the Galaxy opened the scoring against the Whitecaps in the 47th minute with a tap in finish by Javier Hernandez that was assisted by Sebastian Lletget.

The 1-0 scoreline remained until the 89th minute when the Whitecaps scored an equalizer and the game looked to be heading towards a draw if not for Alvarez’s late intervention.

“Today is a reminder for (Alvarez) and for all of us about the talent that he has”, said LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez.

The goal was a clear sign of Alvarez’s technique, but he did not start the match and throughout the season he has bounced back and forth from the bench to the starting lineup without much consistency.

“He is very young but I always tell him that he is a national team player and we need to expect a national team player’s performance like today,” said Hernandez. “When he comes onto the pitch or whether sometimes he starts, that is what all LA Galaxy club and fans expect from him.”

Hernandez is the latest player with European pedigree to take Alvarez under his wing. During Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s time with the Galaxy he labeled Alvarez, “the best talent in MLS by far”.

The talent has also lead to looks from both the U.S. Men’s National Team and the Mexican national team. In March received his first call-up to the senior Mexican national team, earning his first cap for El Tri, and is on its 60-man provisional list for the 2021 Gold Cup tournament this summer.

Alvarez’s moment of brilliance against the Whitecaps helped the Galaxy bounce back from their midweek loss to the Seattle Sounders and the Galaxy will be hoping it is the start of Alvarez emerging as a key player for the Galaxy.

“I want the team to be in first place and this is what we are working on,” Alvarez said. “I’m happy that we got the three points and it’s a step closer.”


  1. I know it sure looks like we lost the kid to Mexico, but is it entirely for sure yet? I know he played in a friendly, but I don’t know how that works with one-time switches and all that. Is he anticipated to make their final Gold Cup squad?

    He strikes me as a luxury player at the moment — someone who maybe isn’t going to necessarily give you the kind of consistency you need over 90 minutes, but when you need a bit of magic, someone who can make that happen. But I’d love the option if that were still a possibility — like, if we were to beat Mexico twice in a row in a tournament final and coax him back or something. But he sure seemed chummier with the Mexico internationals during his goal celebration.

    • at some point american fans need to realize everything is not a meritocratic competition for 90 minute slots and that a smart coach playing actual games might want tactically useful players with specific qualities for his bench. the team could use some speed — someone else — and could use some technical snipers. there are a few more of the type, llanez and mendez come to mind.

      i mean we used to grasp the preki supersub thing and then this became an all star team concept. your best 11/18/23 complete players with 90 minute fitness are not necessarily your best team unit to cover your tactical bases for a working team.

      setting that aside, we also use to grasp that when someone flashes this kind of talent you cap tie them and then figure out their usefulness. you don’t want to lose him to mexico because you told yourself his game has issues which he then sorts out next week. you cap based on promise — to stake him down here — then weigh out what his role in the pool is. personally i find the laissez faire “go try the other teams out” berhalter approach to be childish and will probably cost us a few players over time eg akinola already. to me we need to be more aggressive. and this tournament was one of our last pre-WCQ chances to be aggressive.

      • and to be blunt i have no idea why the emerging regional leader should be passive. the old way was we want players who want to be american and don’t play games. that dovetails fine with an emerging squad ready to compete on a world stage as we did before. it’s a little aggressive but we also are going to be the best, most fun team to play for. GB should have slapped akinola around some and said i only want american players but why on earth do you want to go play for canada so honduras can eliminate you every time? it’s not even that hard of a sell. ditto rubin in guatemala. mexico is a closer debate but still the last game should suggest a change in the pecking order. if you want to go play for second place have at it. we should discourage the shopping around and reward commitment. i actually think we would find the current gamesmanship would drop down and we’d win more of the dual national jousts, if they were rewarded more for being decisive and less for bullying the coach with posturing.

      • Didn’t I say I’d like to have the kid? (I did. That was rhetorical.) I mean, that was the whole point of my writing – to ask if anyone knew the status of things for sure.

    • Well since we lost him five years ago under Klinsmann’s regime and a player doesn’t have to take a cap your whole whining rant about how we should cap tie him is pretty ridiculous. We invited him to camp last winter, he had the opportunity to file his switch and play but chose not to. His Twitter profile says Mexican National team and has a picture of him holding the Mexican Flag as his profile pic. I was watching Efra in 2018 for Galaxy II with Mendez and Llanez, I like his game. However his goal was just his second in 32 appearances for Galaxy. Your you need a sharp shooter on the bench is not a bad idea, that the guy with 2 goals in 32 matches is that guy that’s another story.

  2. About half way through his stint on the field the LA match announcers agreed that Alvarez didn’t seem in sync. As a matter of fact, he had lost some balls on turn overs and had some inaccurate passes. So, this goal really came out of the blue, like a bolt of lightning from a clear sky. My favorite youngster on the team, Araujo, started and played consistently well the whole game. When he went forward, which was often since the Galaxy dominated possession, he made a number of good crosses and his passing was sharp all game.

    • you want some people around as steady 90 minute contributors but you want some people around because they can run 100m in 10.5 seconds and create a mismatch, or others because as a sub they can hit a shot like that. when people are like x starter needs to work on his shooting but is otherwise good, well, when we need a goal in the 85′ this is the sort of sub you need around. or you can hope reyna sorts out his shooting.

      kind of like late in a game when we need a wing to get separation, you maybe don’t always want the next moderate speed wing we have, you maybe want at least one sub to be a weah or lewis or someone fast — whose game needs some sandpaper — and hope they create enough chances to offset the sloppy.

      we need to think more about how the goals happen and less about decontextualized pecking order politics. the next best complete player is maybe not the next best sub if we need a goal. you might want someone specific to deliver the balls. you might want some speedy players to get in space. you might want someone to take that shot. and fwiw as much as people want to change this into a ground ball team we are aerially dominant. lot of pefok mckennie header goals.


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