A Shrinking Galaxy

This season hasn’t been an easy one thus far for the LA Galaxy; with more long term injuries so far this season than significant signings in the last off season, the already-thin Galaxy team has found a way to use the deepest reaches of their roster to string together an eight game unbeaten streak after an ugly start to the season.  

Currently, the LA Galaxy somehow sit 5th in the Western Conference with a 6-5-4 record on the season, despite having eight players on the injured player list, along with Giovanni Dos Santos who is unavailable due to national team duty with the Mexican National Team. Of the eight on the injured players list, six of those are currently listed as “out” and would have been considered first team starters at the beginning of the season: Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Lleget, Baggio Husidic, Daniel Steres, Brian Rowe and Jermaine Jones. The time tables for return vary for each player on the list, but they don’t seem to be coming soon enough for head coach, Curt Onalfo, who was forced to dress only 17 players, with no defensive subs on the bench and captain Jelle Van Damme suspended due to yellow card accumulation, for their recent home game against the Houston Dynamo on June 17th.  

In MLS regular season games so far this year, Onalfo has used 26 of 27 players on his roster, with Robbie Rogers being the lone exception, as he is unavailable due to his ankle injury from last year. While the LA Galaxy took some heat for promoting Onalfo from the LA Galaxy II head coaching role, this move may have proved helpful with the personnel decisions he has been forced to make this year due to a limited roster. The team’s current leader in goals, assists and shots, Romain Alessandrini, is finding support from players who have been looking for their opportunity to break through and get first team minutes, including Galaxy II veterans, Rafael Garcia, Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal, who are very familiar with Onalfo’s coaching decisions.

 Despite a 2-5 record to start the season, the Galaxy have an eight game undefeated streak of 4-0-4 since their loss at home to the Seattle Sounders on April 23rd. Unfortunately for LA Galaxy fans who are used to the StubHub Center being a fortress, the team struggles more at home than on the road; this season LA has a 1-3-3 record at home as opposed to a 5-2-1 record on the road. If the LA Galaxy continues their forward momentum, however, the LA Galaxy fans may just be alright with experiencing a few draws at home if it means a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs for their team later this year.