EDITORIAL – The LA Galaxy are a bad soccer team. As a club, they haven’t functioned well since Bruce Arena left for the national team job in 2016. The club is on the brink of crashing out of the MLS is Back tournament and it’s become clear that the current state of the club is not set up for success.
Naked Emperors: The LA Galaxy are bad
When Dennis te Kloese and Guillermo Barros Schelotto were hired, the LA Galaxy appeared to be back on track. They were hiring competent and experienced soccer people. The good ole boys club of Chris Klein and Pete Vagenas taking care of themselves and their buddies despite doing a bad job was gone.
DTK had contacts to recruit and sign players. His experience in youth systems could help improve the productivity of the academy. GBS had a system that would win in MLS. Both of these hires would help the Galaxy transition out of the European Star period of MLS 2.0 and into the #PlayYourKids and young South American dominance of MLS 3.0.
The plan at the first team level was somewhat slowed by a year in 2019 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic sucking up all the oxygen in the room. His departure was liberating though much work was needed to improve the team offensively with him gone.
That work hasn’t been done well this year. Javier Valdecantos hasn’t revolutionized the team’s fitness regiment in a way that’s obvious in games. Other than Pavon, none of the Latin American players signed under the current regime have really worked out. The style of play doesn’t appear obvious or good, beyond cross the ball into Chicharito or just give it to Pavon and have him create chances.
Through three games with Chicharito, they seem to still be playing Zlatan ball. The team is too easy to pass through and clearly missed Jonathan dos Santos in Orlando. They clearly need an upgrade at centerback and have since 2017. They’ve had a centerback issue since Jelle Van Damme left.
Furthermore, the star signings of the past few years have been big names that are easy to market but haven’t actually helped the team win. The Galaxy are signing players that fit their brand. Their brand however is firstly about winning. Their recent big money signings (Steven Gerrard, Jermaine Jones, Giovanni dos Santos) have not helped them win, other than Zlatan who came with baggage.
They’ve signed names, but not players who’ve made a difference and turned this team back into a title contender. It’s Cristian Pavon waiting for Chicharito and JDS to get healthy and hopefully they can will an otherwise mediocre team to a playoff birth, only to get outclassed by a team that’s better than them in so many aspects.
The Galaxy have lost their way. They aren’t signing impactful players who are making a difference financially and on the scoreboard. They’re being upstaged by their noisy neighbors to the north. And once again, it feels like they need three new defensive signings just to have a chance to compete.