It’s been a tough season for the LA Galaxy, and the hits keep on coming. Among the notable events in recent days:
Exhibit A: Bob Bradley talks to Galaxy, agrees to coach LAFC
A report on MLSsoccer.com by Sam Stejskal on Friday claimed that five separate unnamed sources claim the Galaxy spoke to Bradley when they were trying to find a replacement for Curt Onalfo. While the report does not state if Bradley turned down the Galaxy, before going on to sign on the dotted line for Los Angeles Football Club, it seems reasonable that’s what happened rather than the Galaxy preemptively opting to say no. Either way, Bradley’s building a brand-new team, a venture that does not come without considerable risks, but he doesn’t have to deal with the mess that is the Galaxy’s present roster.
Exhibit B: Whispers starting that Sigi Schmid may not coach the Galaxy beyond this season
Just asked an MLS higher-up if he sees any way Sigi survives these repeated beat downs. One word response: "Can't."— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) September 21, 2017
Same reporter, and this is essentially one person’s hunch, which may or may not reflect what the Galaxy brass are thinking, but this is a remarkable turn of events for Schmid, who was expected to come in and immediately right the ship after Onalfo was fired. I don’t think too many figured the Galaxy would contend for MLS Cup, but I do think most figured he would help get them in place to be competitive and at least make a half-hearted attempt at the playoffs. That hasn’t happened, with the Galaxy coming off back-to-back 4-0 losses in the past week.
Exhibit C: Players are publicly frustrated
Following the 4-0 loss to Atlanta United on Wednesday, Giovani dos Santos, who has absolutely had a poor season by his lofty standards, expressed frustration with the players around him.
“I can make a run, but if your teammate doesn’t see you then your run doesn’t matter,” said dos Santos, who hasn’t scored in a league match since May 27 and has only six goals in 2017. “There are a couple things right now that we’re still building on. If you see last year, I remember my numbers were different. This time, I’m working harder than last year. I’m making good runs, but not getting recognition from the team.
“It’s difficult. When you don’t get shots, you can’t expect great things,” he continued. “Everyone knows what we want. Especially it’s frustrating [for me] because I know people look at me while I’m on the pitch. It’s difficult, but you have to understand the situation as a team. We just need to keep working to come back stronger next game.”
To be fair, he has a point, and if there were more productive players around him his numbers would almost certainly be better. Still, the Galaxy have reached the point where players are indirectly pointing fingers at each other in the press.
Exhibit D: Fans are objecting to the bad season
The Galaxy have built up a fanbase that is rightly accustomed to winning in recent years, as well as one that used to debate whether Bruce Arena should be fired if he didn’t use his substitutes well enough in a draw. Pretty sure those fans would love to have Arena back these days, but even the levelheaded supporters are speaking out, and it’s not going very well!
The @LAGalaxy tried to sell me season tickets again and when I said no, I wasn't happy with the club, I was told I was a bad fan— Ryan Rosenblatt (@RyanRosenblatt) September 22, 2017
"You don't sound like a fan" and "a good fan sticks with the team"— Ryan Rosenblatt (@RyanRosenblatt) September 22, 2017
So what does all of this tell us? In light of the deluge of tough times for the Galaxy, everybody is talking about how LAFC will reap the rewards next year, lap up all the fickle fans, dominate a Galaxy front office perceived to be less equipped to handle the post-Arena era than anticipated, and just kick ass to the top.
That might happen, and in the short term, it seems highly unlikely the Galaxy will rebound enough for 2018 that they won’t cede some ground to LAFC.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before LAFC nation collectively high fives over the demise of the Galaxy, let’s consider that while the Galaxy’s roster is badly constructed, they have a full roster already, as well as a full development system in place. LAFC have five players under contract, including one Designated Player, and a partial academy. Will it be easier to build a brand new roster from scratch, or to fix a flawed roster? We don’t know! We’ll find out next year.
And for all of the ways the Galaxy appear to have shot themselves in the foot this season, consider that LAFC will still be an expansion team, and getting close to the sky-high bar that Atlanta United is setting this year will take a ton of smart work and a good dose of luck. Also, don’t be surprised if the fanbases of LAFC and the Galaxy wax and wane depending on how well each team is doing in the standings in the long run. This is the case with literally every team, but it’s especially true in Los Angeles sports writ large, and guaranteeing LAFC will be a flawless product with an endlessly devoted supporter base is risky, even if it is a worthwhile ideal to aspire to.
So: Are these developments with the Galaxy in 2017 good for LAFC? Almost certainly. What will it mean for 2018 and beyond? Who knows. All I know is that a very short time ago Galaxy supporters thought their team would be contenders indefinitely. It didn’t take very long at all for it to fall apart, and that’s true of any MLS team.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!