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MLS midseason grades are out

How did the Galaxy do?

MLS: Columbus Crew at Los Angeles Galaxy Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Approaching the halfway point in the 2018 season, Major League Soccer senior editor Matt Doyle posted a comprehensive report card for each team in the league, dishing out praise and criticism with reckless abandon.

What grade did the Armchair Analyst hand out to Sigi Schmid’s side?

The LA Galaxy have not been good, but they have also not been as bad as that one-month stretch from early April to early May suggested. Good teams ripped the Galaxy apart, which is to be expected given the weakness in this team’s backline. But they’ve generally handled bad teams, are 4-1-3 in their last eight, and have good, dominant wins over RSL and Columbus (both above the playoff line) in their last five.

So it’s a work in progress. I have questions about what the final form will be, and suspect that no matter what it is they won’t be able to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in MLS. But unless Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets hurt, I’m pretty sure they’re going to make the playoffs, and as long as you do that you’ve probably earned yourself a passing grade.

What they could’ve done better: Built the defense. The guys they added over the past 12 months have been subpar, both individually and as a collective.

Doyle nails the last point. It’s fair to say center backs Michael Ciani and Jorgen Skjelvik have been terrible signings in terms of value for money. Did anyone anticipate a Scandinavian league import in Skjelvik to fully earn his $900,000 reported salary, or like the Ligue 1 veteran, was he overpaid from the start?

There’s a somewhat antiqued pattern to these deals that clash with the more sophisticated transfer market of the MLS 3.0 era. Aging European imports have continued to reap diminishing returns, and the organization can no longer afford to dish out bloated contracts.