The USN had more ships and especially more planes.
It needed the diversion by Ozawa to get Kurida into a favorable position. But Kurida's forces were exhausted by the constant air attacks in the San Bernardino Strait and at Samar, so that it is perhaps not surprising that they were too tired to achieve anything relevant.
It is doubtful that they could achieve anything relevant anyway. It could be argued that the IJN lost the Battle of Leyte before the battle, because of the heavy losses in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and during the Formosa raids.