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LA Galaxy calm, cool, and clear-minded heading into 2022

No need to explain the stakes, they know what’s expected.

New York Red Bulls v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The new season has official arrived! With several players currently out on international duty representing their respective countries, LA Galaxy gear up to take the pitch for the first time this year. Saturday, LA host Toronto FC in the first preseason match of the new campaign.

Unfortunately for fans, the scrimmage match will be held behind closed doors, with the results being given at the conclusion of the match. However, with several key players away on International duty, it’s likely for the best, as the team will no doubt use tomorrow as a glorified practice scrimmage. A chance to focus mostly on fitness and technical details, and far less focus on the actual result.

Still, while the results aren't the biggest concern heading into tomorrow, it’s still an important event. The first time the G’z, in year two under Greg Vanney, take the pitch for the first time after last season’s disappointing end. The first chance for those who do see some play time, to get out there, wash away last year, and begin the long road to — hopefully — doing what’s needed to return to MLS Cup glory. Which is precisely the goal.

“We’re back into business mode. This week has really been focused on re-introducing the guys to getting their fitness level, getting their legs under them, getting familiar with the ball,” said Vanney in his first press conference of the new season. “We’re pleased with the progress we’re making on all fronts, and looking forward to 2022. We’re all very disappointed with how the final day ended last year, and building off a season like last year we know we need to be more consistent from game to game.”

That bluntness is nothing new. One of the more noticeable traits of this team — especially near the end of the season as the playoff push got even tighter — has been their calm, brutally honest, demeanor. Even at the end of last season, as their playoff hopes dwindled, they never panicked, but understood what needed to be done. We all know now that they didn't get it done, but that's sports. The Western conference was as strong as expected last season, and with scheduling due to COVID, almost every match played was against a side either firmly in the playoffs at the top, or a team fighting for spot in the postseason.

Despite that very real fact, Vanney isn't giving any excuses.

“At the end of the season, we were embarrassed that we were in a playoff position for the entire season, then ten minutes left in the season, we’re outside [of the playoffs]. We only have ourselves to blame, we had too many opportunities that we let slide, and I think we as a group have to mature from that.”

If anyone knows what’s expected of the Galaxy, it’s Vanney, having played part in building the foundation for the gold standard.

While Vanney didn't outright say the goal is MLS Cup, it’s clear that’s the objective. For the most part, the returning roster is most of the same as last year, with several additions, and at least one more on the way. “We have depth, we have some youth, we have guys with experience in our league now, and we’ve got more guys who've won championships and playoff games this year than we did last year” said Vanney when talking about the roster.

As for the much-anticipated DP, the man in charge has a plan for that as well.

“Ideal scenario, we’d like to get someone in soon, you can never underestimate the value of a preseason. DPs are big players in terms of how they influence the group, more times than not they’re difference makers, so having those guys in with as much time to prepare everybody, including those players, is important. The final piece will be to finalize our DP spot and how that player will fit in with our group”

It can be frustrating, from a fan perspective, to hear coaches and players speak plainly about what's going wrong, yet seemingly fail to fix it when it matters most, but that's how it goes sometimes. The truth is this was a team undergoing a change at head coach, building the roster as the season went on, in the toughest conference in the league, with little to no expectations outside of LA. However, morale victories mean nothing in regards to the Galaxy and we know this. More importantly, the team know this. As the new season approaches, the Galaxy look focused on the road ahead. Very aware of what's expected, but even more so, very aware of what it takes to succeed. Now, they just have to prove it on the pitch.

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