The LA Galaxy are coming off their worst season in team history, one in which they finished with a woeful 32 points (from 32 games played) and earned themselves the Wooden Spoon for finishing dead last in the league. The team needed a major overhaul to avoid the same fate for the upcoming 2018 MLS season, and head coach Sigi Schmid was able to accomplish just that.
Off-Season Grade: A
It’s difficult to give any team such a high rating for an offseason, but the LA Galaxy may have had one of the better off-seasons in recent MLS history. Going into the off-season, the LA Galaxy were in need of… *deep inhale* goalkeepers, defenders, a defensive midfielder, and goalscorers, as well as needing to shake the disease and clear out some roster spots to make room for new players.
They started the process by declining the option of twelve players as soon as the regular season ended. Then came the moves. The Galaxy were able to sign goalkeepers David Bingham and Brian Sylvestre, defenders Jorgen Skjelvik, Rolf Feltscher and Emrah Klimenta, midfielders Chris Pontius, Perry Kitchen, Servando Carrasco and forward Ola Kamara, while re-signing Baggio Husidic and Ashley Cole to new contracts, as well. If you’re following along at home, those moves check off all of the boxes listed above.
Key Player: Ola Kamara
Ola Kamara gives the LA Galaxy something they were desperately missing last season. A goalscorer who had proved he can score in MLS. Throughout last year, it seemed as though that piece was missing for the Galaxy; there were frequent reports over star players not having anyone to connect with to score goals. Hopefully, for the LA Galaxy, at least, Kamara addresses those concerns.
Acquiring Kamara helped the LA Galaxy in more ways than are apparent at first glance. Not only were the Galaxy acquiring a proven MLS goalscorer to address their issues uptop, they were able to trade Gyasi Zardes in the process. While it sounds harsh, Zardes could benefit from a change of scenery and clearer direction from coaching staff to end the frustration for him from the last couple years in LA. Both players get a new start that will help benefit their new clubs.
2018 Best Case Scenario: MLS Cup
Head coach Sigi Schmid has already said that their goal for the year is to make the playoffs, because anything is possible after that. This team will have what it takes to make a serious run for the Cup if it can learn to be a cohesive unit early on and avoid the injury bug that struck the team hard last season. The team has the motivating factor of how excruciating last year was for them, so maybe that will be the push they need to go all the way.
Bold Prediction: Zlatan buys a house in LA but doesn’t play for the Galaxy
Zlatan rumors have been hovering over this team for years, and have been gaining momentum each year with increasing urgency akin to the Jaws theme. The music is getting louder and more intense on this possibility; as Zlatan’s age and injury woes grow, the scene just kind of gets scarier as to what kind of player he might actually be when he gets to LA. I’m predicting that Zlatan’s window of opportunity to play in LA closes before he gets the chance to take it.