You might have heard, Da Bruce is back for the first time as US national team head coach. This leaves the LA Galaxy with a big, big decision – a pair of them really, since Arena was also the team's general manager – to help guide the franchise forward after the exit of a man who helmed their three most recent championship squads.
We've polled the staff, and identified a few speculative candidates we think might be up to the scale of the Galaxy gig, starting with …
Sure, this MLS original has had fairly indistinct (and brief) reins atop a pair of flagship franchises, but if we're looking to continue in the Bruce's footsteps, no one's better positioned than the current LA Galaxy II head man. As the reserve team coach, Onalfo not only has a firm hold of the organizational outlook, but a strong sense of the personnel "whos" and the positional "whats" awaiting future opportunities, offering educated opinions on the types of Designated Players LA needs to align with Giovani dos Santos as they enter this new era.
Hiring from within would validate the academy hierarchy, showing that there's a path forward for everyone involved – not just the players. In the wake of a mentor, I'd expect Onalfo to carry a firm hand early, and would be on an equal playing field for everyone on the roster, key considering the amount of talent (and its attendant ego) at his disposal.
—Ben Couch, Senior Editor
It makes the most sense if they really want to lay a marker. He's a guy with a ton of credibility in both the US and Mexico, one who's always spoken well of MLS. And if they hire him away from first-place Xolos, that's a shot across the ol' "local rival" bow, isn't it? Call this a sure way to let everybody know who's boss.
Plus they need to enhance their identity ahead of LAFC's arrival. Piojo does that.
—Matt Doyle, Senior Editor
Robbie Keane > Landon Donovan
Keane, who will be 37 next year, has mentioned he wants to keep playing, even indicating he’d be ready to join another MLS team. But if I’m running the Galaxy, I’d look to convince him to stay on in a head coaching role. Sure, it would take surrounding him with the right staff, but Keane knows the club and its culture, he has valuable leadership qualities and he can potentially turn into a master recruiter. If he’s thinking about a coaching future, this would be an opportunity to pounce.
I’d hope Donovan would be open to serving as an assistant on a Keane coaching staff, getting him the experience I’d assume Donovan would seek before feeling entirely comfortable taking on a full-time head coaching role. But if Keane weren't interested, I’d look to gauge Donovan’s interest to accelerate that process. Donovan commands respect, including with international players, and his communication skills, general curiosity and inquisitive nature would likely make him a quick study.
Both Donovan and Keane give the club the star power you’d expect out of one with their track record, especially in light of LAFC’s looming arrival in 2018. But the Galaxy would need to be prepared to ride out any rocky early years – as we’ve oft seen with other MLS teams who’ve taken on younger head coaches.
—Simon Borg, Editor-in-Chief
It's become quite fashionable to bash college soccer. But the Galaxy have often looked to the NCAA over their history and one of their former players has maintained a dynasty across town at UCLA, both in terms of results and developing future professionals. Salcedo recruits in many of the same areas that the Galaxy academy works in, and he'd bring an unsurpassed knowledge of the regional and national player pools should LA elect to move away from their DP-centric mindset and plumb the grassroots.
—Charles Boehm, MLSsoccer.com Contributor
Names bandied about in the offing – with wildly varying degrees of rational thought – included: