To say the pieces simply didn’t fit is an understatement. The names the LA Galaxy assembled were cornerstones for any franchise in Major League Soccer. The task was to mash as many cornerstones onto the pitch as possible.
The Galaxy couldn’t, after being eliminated from the Major League Soccer playoffs last week. Now, the marquee franchise of the league has no choice but to change.
I didn’t approach the subject last week because let’s face it: most of us were all worked up over the presidential election and its aftermath. But I’m tired of reading about that stuff, so here goes.
When the Galaxy first started playing a version of fantasy football instead of soccer, it seemed like a good idea at the time. The problem is that doing so suggests the franchise figured piling on international stars would simply overwhelm the rest of a league full of North Americans. As international fans will tell you, every continent has a fundamental different style of play. European clubs don’t play the same as South American clubs, for instance. Here in North America, the Galaxy took a sort of European/Mexican/American approach and as a consequence, I think there was little cohesion.
Put another way: Who was the go-to guy for the Galaxy? Robbie Keane? Giovani Dos Santos? Jelle VanDamme? Steven Gerrard? Hell, was it Landon Donovan with his brief comeback?
Consistently successful franchises have a plan, find the talent to fit the plan, and execute. The Galaxy was that type of franchise. Now it isn’t, so it’s incumbent upon the front office to simplify. Change is necessary.
Gerrard is likely the first to go. The former Liverpool midfielder suggested as much in a social media post that stated he will miss the city of Los Angeles. I don’t hate Gerrard. Seems like a great guy. He’s right. He didn’t fit.
This may sound absurd, but I think Keane might be next. He’s a free agent and the former MVP has suffered significant injuries the past two years.
The gut feeling is the team might purge older players and rebuild the team around Dos Santos, who is entering his physical prime, is among the leaders of a pretty damn good Mexican National Team and as a Latino, would blunt the competition for fans that expansion team LAFC will try to swipe.
A Galaxy team that returns next season with a healthy Gyasi Zardes with Emmanuel Boetang becomes lightning quick on offense, instead of one that chooses moments to counterattack. And an effective designated player signing, perhaps at midfield, would make up for the losses of two Europeans who are past their prime. Perhaps if Donovan is committed to a full offseason of training, that would be the guy to take.
I wouldn’t change a thing on defense. The Galaxy was effective there.
In the meantime, time’s a-wastin.’ Anyone who thinks the seasons in baseball or basketball is long hasn’t seen enough soccer to understand that we’ll be talking MLS sometime after Valentine’s Day.