New year, new race to seis. 2016 ended on a weird note for the Galaxy with rumors of Landon Donovan off to Real Salt Lake or an unnamed Eastern Conference team. The Galaxy have been rumored in pursuit of several potential new Designed Players, but nothing has come to fruition. Training camp begins in a few short weeks, yet Galaxy fans feel like coal was dropped in their stocking. By Curt Onalfo.
So let’s start 2017 with some Galaxy New Year’s resolutions while dealing with the remaining heartburn from 2016.
What the Galaxy should resolve to do in 2017 in priority order:
1. Sign a DP that’s not an aging player close to retirement (aka, stay away from “marketing value”)
Giovani Dos Santos was a good choice. Robbie Keane was an amazing choice. Lodeiro for the Seattle Sounders was an excellent choice. Sebastian Giovinco is a treasure. LA needs another find that doesn’t replicate what Gerrard was for them in 2016: injury prone, slow, and a defensive blackhole. There are rumors that the Galaxy are cost cutting. This might force them to avoid the “marketing” signings that are great in name only.
Note: I didn’t like the Jermaine Jones signing for this exact reason. He shouldn’t be receiving DP dollars, and I hope the Galaxy avoid that desperation.
2. Find a central attacking midfielder (...and then a winger)
Oh the days of Sarvas and Juninho and tiki taco football. With Juninho coming home to MLS, but signing with the Chicago Fire (on loan), he’s no longer an option. I would have taken him over Jermaine Jones yesterday. Lletget should get a shot centrally, but he has his limitations. Dos Santos isn’t a #10. Zardes should be playing with Gio up top, and it looks like the Galaxy will finally play him there this year. LA needs another player to unlock defenses and this should be where they are scouting the hardest.
After that task is done, another winger to pair with Boateng (and leaving Lletget centrally positioned) would be a good bet. Otherwise the Galaxy will serve up the Lletget/Husidic revolving door on the right hand side, which doesn’t do anyone favors.
3. Message to Curt: don’t just play route 1 football
Folks who watched Los Dos said that they were organized, but that they were uninspiring. With the type of players the Galaxy are looking to get, and their history, lumping the ball forward to Gyasi Zardes’ head (and watching Giovani Dos Santos aimlessly wander the field) is a recipe for losses, annoyed fans, and a quick exit for Onalfo.
Whether the last part of that sentence is an evil the fan can take...that is up to you.
4. Have Bob Bradley on Speed Dial
Just in case. (If he’s not signed by LAFC)
5. Don’t sign a new GK
Brian Rowe played just fine this last year minus a few brainfarts that he seemed to learn from, and Diop continues to grow. Don’t waste money where it doesn’t need to go.
6. Build depth at fullback
This is Ashley Cole’s last year, no one should be surprised. Finding a fullback candidate in the college draft or through scouting, this is a position that needs some long-term thought. AJ DeLaGarza can play there, but he’s more defensive than offensive, and after watching the Galaxy try to beat down defensive walls with nothing but a butter knife, more offensive prowess is needed.
7. Jelle Van Damme as Captain
He wore the armband several times in 2016, and should be a calming presence in a locker room that needs some bandaids and time to right itself after what appears to be a tumultuous end to the season. He’s well-liked by players and fans, and deserves it after a super 2016. Onalfo shouldn’t leave this decision hanging.
8. If possible, (re-)sign Landon Donovan
Left this one for last because it looks impossible, but if the Galaxy whiff on the DP front, it may be doable. Putting sentimentality aside (seeing him in an RSL jersey lining up against the Galaxy would be beyond odd), and the fact that Earthquakes fans must be laughing with glee, Donovan would be a great assistant coach, locker room presence, and attacking brain for the team. That’s a luxury, but if the Galaxy don’t have a second DP lined up, it’s a potential luxury they could afford.
Any resolutions missed? Feel free to add them in the comments.