The LA Galaxy have been the dominant team in MLS for the past half decade. Now that they’ve won three of the last four MLS cups, questions have floated around as to whether or not this team can really be called a dynasty. I believe they’re on the verge of becoming more than a dynasty, they’re moving to a whole new level we’ve not seen before in MLS.
Despite sitting sixth in the playoff race (based on PPG), the season has begun to look up in a big way. The Galaxy have made huge moves over the past few weeks to upgrade the team. Steven Gerrard finally made his debut and, according to the LA Times, the team has officially signed Giovani Dos Santos. Suddenly an underperforming squad becomes the favorite to win MLS cup again this year.
The Galaxy Recipe: Stars + Homegrown Talent
Bruce Arena, Chris Klein, and company have developed a winning formula that goes far beyond what we see on the pitch. Fielding a good team is still paramount, but they’ve built the supporting structures that will propel the club into unknown territory for MLS.
The Galaxy are the one team in the league to combine star power with homegrown talent. They’ve signed huge names (Beckham, Keane, Gerrard, Dos Santos) and at the same time been able to create a pipeline of talent from within the system (Zardes, Villerreal). The young stars we haven’t developed we’ve either poached from other teams or paid blackmail money to aquire.
Other teams around the league have shown the willingness to sign big names (NYCFC, Toronto FC). There are teams who have done an excellent job of developing homegrown players (FC Dallas). But none have shown the ability or willingness to master the both sides of the equation. Only the Galaxy have put it all together.
A Pipeline for the Future
Signing a player the quality of Gio Dos Santos in his prime will certainly be huge for the club going forward. But as future generations look back on the growth of MLS they may point to other developments the Galaxy have pioneered that ultimately paved the way to dominance.
The Galaxy are creating a huge pipeline of talent for the future. It begins by being located in one of the regions of the country absolutely loaded with soccer talent. They created Los Dos (LA Galaxy II), to give players a chance to mature before breaking through to the full squad. But, until recently, there was a huge gap between the talent base and Los Dos.
Within the past year the Galaxy have worked to close the gap. They announced a partnership with CSU Dominguez Hills to help players develop on and off the field. Now apparently they are starting a high school for players in the Galaxy system.
It’s not La Masia, but combined with the willingness to spend big on star players it’s light years ahead of the rest of the league. And to dominate MLS, we don’t have to be better than Barcelona, just better than the rest of the league.
Handcrafting the Future
With all these building blocks in place, "dynasty" is too small of a description for what this club could become. MLS, already a single entity system, is shaping up to be known for a single entity: the Los Angeles Galaxy.
For Galaxy fans the stars couldn’t be shining brighter. MLS is becoming our silver screen, and everyone else will be just extras.
Welcome to the future of MLS, handcrafted in L.A.