The L.A. Galaxy fell to Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Finals in 2013, and made a couple key moves in the off-season. The core of Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Juninho, and Omar Gonzalez is still there, but the pieces around them continue to change.
Some past moves have failed miserably (Carlo Cudicini), while the jury is still out on others (Robbie Rogers).
At its best, the Galaxy was the best side in MLS, by far. But this side isn’t at its best anymore. With David Beckham, Mike Magee, and Josh Saunders gone, the side faltered. It remains to be seen whether the Galaxy can be the league’s superpower again. That depends on a variety of replacements to those key players stepping up and playing well. This off-season’s departure of Sean Franklin adds another key spot where the squad needs a solid replacement.
It is MLS Cup or bust for this L.A. side. Nothing less will do.
- Baggio Husidic via free transfer
- Samuel via loan from Brazil
- Rob Friend via free transfer
- Stefan Ishizaki via free transfer
- Sean Franklin option declined (now at D.C. United)
- Michael Stephens out of contract
- Jose Villarreal loaned to Cruz Azul
- Hector Jimenez traded to Columbus
Judged by last season alone, the Mike Magee for Robbie Rogers swap was a drastic failure. But Rogers was always going to struggle coming back during mid-season. His acquisition made sense because he has a much higher ceiling than Magee. This year is the moment of truth for the former USMNT player. If he performs well, this L.A. squad can be scary. If he doesn’t, they’ll still be good, but not great.
I think Rogers will have a stand-out year for the Galaxy. He probably won’t be back at his USMNT form, but he’ll become a regular starter and key contributor. That adds a potent weapon.
That said, the story of this Galaxy squad over the last few years has been Omar Gonzalez. When Omar is healthy and playing, the Galaxy plays well. When he isn’t, Bruce Arena’s side isn’t even a playoff squad.
The Galaxy will be without Omar for two months for World Cup duty, but I still expect the Galaxy will snag a top-3 spot in the West. I think a Galaxy player (Keane or Donovan) will win the league’s MVP award this season. I don’t think this Galaxy team will win MLS Cup, though.
Just for Laughs
Bruce Arena won’t kick a ball that’s still in play at any point during this season.