View from Couch: Should LA Galaxy's Onalfo bench Jelle Van Damme again?

Jelle Van Damme walks off dejected during LA's loss to Seattle - April 23, 2017

With a nationally televised match against the New York Red Bulls on deck for Sunday (6 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes; TSN2), should the LA Galaxy start defender – and captain – Jelle Van Damme?

We're only in Week 11, and this is actually a question! And the 30-minute mark of ExtraTime Radio, the Armchair Analyst says sit him!

ExtraTime Radio Podcast

View from Couch: Should LA Galaxy's Onalfo bench Jelle Van Damme again? -

LISTEN: Dan Gargan makes us laugh, so we had him on the show! Get the MLS vet-turned-broacaster's thoughts on ATL and LA, then Arch Bell joins to give the guys a scouting report on the mls MLS-ready talent in Central America. Subscribe now so you don't miss an episode!

For those lacking patience, or headphones, here's the key quote:

"I think you leave him out," Doyle said. "I think you go with the back four that took them home and got that point against the Fire. I know Dave Romney and Daniel Steres, they're not going to scare anybody in central defense, but they looked decent together. And they don't take the insane risks that Van Damme has been taking his entire MLS career.

"This is a team that is sub-par defensively. You have to lock that down and just allow the guys that you're paying a lot of money to, to make some magic in attack. It's not going to be the prettiest thing in the world, but it can – and does – work."

How'd we get here?

First, the Galaxy conceded two goals in 16 minutes to Chicago, with Van Damme A) committing a penalty and B) playing an errant long ball that directly lead to Goal No. 2.

Then, Curt Onalfo threw down the gauntlet and made the first-half sub heard 'round the league.

LA responded, shutting out the Fire the rest of the way to earn a point. Onalfo reinforced that it wasn't the first time, and wouldn't be the last.

ExtraTime Radio guest Dan Gargan, the erstwhile Galaxy defender, was impressed by the move, especially considering the ongoing transition Onalfo is managing in the wake of Bruce Arena's eclipsing shadow.

"That's a big move for Curt," Gargan said. "He's not a young coach, but he's a young coach in that Galaxy locker room, and he has to prove himself. You have to be the boss.

"So for him to kind of step up and say, 'OK, listen. It's not good enough, Jelle – we're going to ask you to sit down here. And you are my captain, but I have a room full of guys that I can also ask to do the job and get the job done, and you're not doing it right now,' I think he's taken a big step for him as a head coach, and a big step for him putting his mark on this team."

Gargan said he believes the 33-year-old defender will handle the benching well, realizing it resulted from poor play (as JVD's quotes Tuesday seemed to indicate). The effect on the team should be a net positive, Gargan said, with players realizing that everyone's going to not only be held accountable, but also receive opportunities to make a difference.

One interesting bit to weigh is that since Van Damme arrived in January 2016, small sample-size or no, the Galaxy have performed better with him on the bench:

With JVD
Without JVD
Goals For
Avg. Goals For
Goals Against
Avg. Goals Against
Win Percent

Given the Belgian's pedigree, talent and individual success – he was named to last season's MLS Best XI, after all – it's a tough call to make. Onalfo did it once, and we'll all be watching to see whether he does it again.