Dennis te Kloese originally inherited a mess.
Years of bad management had reduced the standard bearers of the league for two decades into a head-shaking quagmire. When the Mexican Football Federation executive was hired as the new general manager in December, the roster was an uneven mess, a mish-mash of personalities cobbled together from different ideas and managers. The much vaunted academy was failing to keep up with the competition, and the kids with talent were quickly finding a way out of Los Angeles.
The club needed a lot of work.
Nine months later, the fruit of his labor is apparent.
After luring Boca Juniors manager and former league MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto to LA, the pair collaborated right away to give young academy talents playing time, going so far as to send money to Colorado to sign 17-year old Julian Araujo, a genius decision in hindsight. The likes of Efrain Alvarez, Diedie Traore and Emil Cuello have also been given genuine first-team opportunities that will serve to benefit them and the club in the long run.
The academy is still undergoing renovations, but the signs are promising. LA Galaxy II head coach Mike Munoz was recently dismissed while highly renowned developer of youth talent Juan Carlos Ortega was scooped up by te Kloese to lead the academy.
In the transfer market it’s tough to double-guess a single decision from the Galaxy GM, who has worked wonders on a limited budget. After selling Ola Kamara to China for a handsome profit, the former FMF executive used his connections to rescue Uriel Antuna from Manchester City Loan Hell. Convincing the captain of Uruguayan side Nacional in Diego Polenta to come out of retirement was brilliant outside-the-box thinking.
Bringing Joe Corona to LA on a free. Acquiring highly rated Costa Rican international Giancarlo Gonzalez from Bologna. Securing Favio Alvarez on a loan. All shrewd pieces of business, but nothing compared to what the organization just pulled off, signing Boca Juniors winger and Argentina international Cristian Pavón on a free loan with TAM funds. Signing a 20 million dollar talent without sacrificing a Designated Player spot? Now that’s a neat trick.
For the first time since the Bruce Arena days, you get the distinct impression the organization under Dennis te Kloese is in safe hands.