The LA Galaxy season is over. In the end, it may have come as a kind of relief considering how difficult it was, how difficult just about everything was in 2020.
That’s certainly true, but while the results were not up to par, it’s worth acknowledging the hard work and risks taken just to complete a season this year during an ongoing and raging coronavirus pandemic.
There will be plenty of time to break down the season that was for LA, but let’s do some basic comparisons, where applicable, in Galaxy history to see where this campaign ranked.
Points per game
The easiest point of comparison, considering how few games the Galaxy played this season, is points per game. This year, they finished with an even 1.00 ppg, their second-worst mark in history, ahead of only 2017’s 0.94 ppg. That certainly tracks with the level of disappointment between those two seasons in particular being quite similar.
All-time, the Galaxy have a ppg average of 1.52, which gives you a sense of how far off their own historical pace they were in 2020.
The aforementioned 2017 season remains LA’s worst all-time, as that year they “won” the Wooden Spoon by finishing last in league play.
This year, they finished 20th overall out of 26 teams, so that’s better, although I wouldn’t pat the Galaxy on the back too hard, since five of the six teams below them were within two points. Only the woeful FC Cincinnati, fresh off their second straight Wooden Spoon, were really out of reach for the “prize.”
More tangibly, in the Western Conference, where the Galaxy played all of their games this season, they finished 10th out of 12 teams. Again, it was close, with last-place Houston Dynamo posting one less point in one more game played on the season.
All-time, 10th in the Conference and 20th overall is in adjusted terms second-worst in club history behind 2017, although obviously MLS is only 26 teams strong just this year, and the league’s growth means a true apples-to-apples comparison is tricky over 25 years.
This season was just the 6th time in 25 seasons the Galaxy have missed the playoffs. However, more concerning, it’s the third time they’ve failed to reach the postseason in the past four years. Only the playoff drought between 2006-08 was longer in consecutive seasons.
Sadly, this is the first season in club history in which the Galaxy didn’t play any other competitions. They were due to play the U.S. Open Cup and Leagues Cup, but both were scrapped this season because of the pandemic. And because they only played in the three group-stage games at the MLS is Back Tournament, which counted in the regular season standings, they didn’t even get to play any knockout games in that competition this year. It’s unfortunate though understandable because of the pandemic, but it still stings that LA didn’t get a chance at some consolation in another competition.
Cristian Pavón paced the Galaxy with 10 goals on the season, an impressive haul considering the persistent struggles in attack in 2020. Surprisingly, even with just 22 games played, that’s better than Cobi Jones’ 2000 season, when he topped the team’s scoring chart with nine tallies, and it ties Luis Hernandez’s 10-goal season in 2001.
So there you have it. In many respects, the 2020 season seemed to only better the 2017 campaign statistically, which is pretty damning considering LA’s proud history. Obviously the season was challenging for everyone, but unfortunately I don’t think too many people, inside or outside the club, will look back at this season for the Galaxy with particular fondness.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.