It was a pretty solid year in 2022 here on LAG Confidential. The LA Galaxy signed an old star, he didn’t really pan out, the team did well until a midseason slump, then signed a young star and basically took off like a rocket. A late playoff loss against the local rival put a sour end to what was a pretty promising season for the G’z, and hope that they can build on this campaign, for the first time in a long time.
Meanwhile, San Diego Wave FC entered the NWSL and put together an absolute supernova of a debut season. The expansion team led the standings most of the regular season, finished third to become the first-ever true expansion team to reach the playoffs, won their debut playoff game, nearly swept the individual awards come season’s end, and were a breath of fresh air in the Southern California sporting landscape. To finally have women’s top flight soccer in the region was long overdue, but with a campaign like that, it was worth the wait.
As we wrap another year, thanks to Trebor Tracy for holding it down with me, and to contributors Ilkay and Stephanie, as well as photographers Brenton Tse and Nikita Taparia. Thanks as well to SB Nation for their continued support, particularly Jeremiah Oshan, and to the teams we cover for their help on various matters over a long campaign. Most importantly, thanks to all of you reading for your continued support. We can’t do it without you!
We dropped over 500 posts during a very busy year, and here’s a selection of some of the best:
- This isn’t Casey Stoney’s first time building a team from scratch: In an omen of a great season ahead during training camp, the Wave FC head coach instilled confidence and a commitment to giving players, who in the United States had been used to abusive treatment, positive reinforcement to get the best out of her team. The results speak for themselves.
- Kljestan, Hegardt swap jerseys after Charlotte-Galaxy: Shortly before the teams squared off for the first time, Sacha Kljestan revealed his visit to Charlotte FC rookie Chris Hegardt when he was receiving cancer treatment over a decade ago. Their reunion after the game was special.
- Why were the Galaxy sluggish in Utah? Blame the bus: Greg Vanney’s postgame answers tend to be pretty boilerplate, but my ears certainly perked up when he said late transportation put his side behind the eight ball in a loss against Real Salt Lake. Based on what he said, he wasn’t exactly wrong, either.
- A week of optimism shrouded in sadness: After the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, thinking about soccer at all felt like both a relief and a distraction.
- Dejan’s determination: Striker inching closer to Galaxy starting XI: Many teams struggle to have one productive striker. The Galaxy had two, and one of them had to come off the bench most of the season in spite of scoring an awful lot! Trebor works through the pros and cons of Vanney’s choice.
- For club and country: Naomi Girma is legit: The Wave FC rookie was so impressive she won multiple individual awards in 2022, broke through on a jam-packed U.S. Women’s National Team, and showed ever-growing skills to her game.
- Turns out, the Galaxy needed a remade midfield: It’s nice when the big swings in the summer transfer window work out, and in Riqui Puig and Gaston Brugman, they hit a couple home runs.
- San Diego Wave FC: Handling the postseason swells: Ahead of their debut playoff game, there was the trademark earned confidence and we should have known they’d be able to come back and beat the Chicago Red Stars in front of the Snapdragon crowd.
- Wave FC vow ‘we’re just getting started’ as debut season ends: Thought Stoney and Taylor Kornieck had some particularly poignant quotes after their playoff loss in Portland.
- Galaxy with disappointing end to 2022, but not far off: Expectations are sky high around the Galaxy, rightly so, but all in all the final months point to optimism they can climb higher and get trophies again soon.
- Yep, Chicharito should have gone to the World Cup: I mean, it couldn’t have been worse than it was for Mexico in Qatar, right???
- After getting hammer from MLS, Galaxy should replace Chris Klein: Getting an unprecedented transfer ban for lying about roster rules is pretty bad, and could upend the progress the team’s making. The person at the top of the organization ought to be replaced.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.