2020 Season Preview: LA Galaxy

After two years of the Zlatan show in Carson... the LA Galaxy will hope that the team — and perhaps a certain Mexican striker — will be the star in 2020.

Ibrahimovic’s star burns so bright, his talent so unique, that he alone represented the Galaxy’s identity on the field. With the big Swede now departed, coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto will have the opportunity to fully put his stamp on the team for the first time. And he will have some impressive tools at his disposal.

2019 Finish

  • MLS Reg. Season: 51 points (16W-15L-3D), 5th in West / 8th overall
  • MLS Cup Playoffs: Eliminated in Western Conf. Semifinal (vs. LAFC)
  • U.S. Open Cup: Eliminated in Rd. of 16 (vs. Portland Timbers)
  • Leagues Cup: Eliminated in Semifinals (vs. Cruz Azul)

Star players

  • Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez  — No surprises here. Hernandez may not have enjoyed the best of times at West Ham and Sevilla over the past couple of years but get him the service and he will score — a lot.
  • Cristian Pavon — His loan extended for 2020, the thrilling winger showed following his arrival midway through 2019 why he was one of the few bright spots during Argentina’s 2018 World Cup campaign.
  • Jonathan dos Santos — While Ibrahimovic was inarguably the star of the LA Galaxy team over the past two seasons, its heartbeat and engine has been the midfield linchpin Dos Santos. With the big Swede gone, expect the Mexico international’s influence to grow yet further.

Extratime Analysis: LA Galaxy

Key acquisitions and departures

  • IN: Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez — The big fish that MLS clubs have cast longing eyes toward for so long, once again it was the Galaxy who went and got the blockbuster move done.
  • IN: Aleksandar Katai — Arguably one of the shrewdest moves of the offseason, the Serbia international winger joins the Galaxy after scoring 18 goals and adding 12 assists in two seasons with the Chicago Fire.
  • IN: Emiliano Insua — A veteran with vast experience across Europe’s major leagues, most recently in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart, Insua should be a valuable addition and form part of a potentially formidable left-sided combination with Pavon.
  • OUT: Zlatan Ibrahimovic — It was fun — real fun — while it lasted but the Zlatan era in LA is no more. The headlines he provided, on and off the field, will certainly be missed.
  • OUT: Romain Alessandrini — After a bright start in LA, Alessandrini's contract expired following an injury-hit third season in 2019 in which he made just five starts.
  • OUT: Favio Alvarez — Despite performing regularly and contributing five assists and three goals from midfield since arriving on loan last May, the Argentine did not have his purchase option picked up and he subsequently moved to Liga MX side Pumas UNAM.

Projected Starting XI

2020 Roster

  • Goalkeepers (3): David Bingham, Eric Lopez, Justin Vom Steeg
  • Defenders (8): Danilo Acosta, Julian Araujo, Nick DePuy, Rolf Feltscher, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Emiliano Insua, Daniel Steres, Diedie Traore
  • Midfielders (10): Efrain Alvarez, Joe Corona, Emil Cuello, Jonathan dos Santos, Cameron Dunbar, Aleksandar Katai, Perry Kitchen, Sacha Kljestan, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan Perez
  • Forwards (4): Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Cristian Pavon, Gordon Wild, Ethan Zubak

Armchair Analyst: Strengths and weaknesses

  • Strength: They should score 70+ goals. They might score 80+. Nobody would be that shocked if they became the first team in MLS history to score 90+. A front three of Cristian Pavon, Aleksandar Katai and Chicharito should be absolutely rampant, especially with the likes of Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan Dos Santos and Sacha Kljestan pulling the midfield strings behind them.
  • Weakness: Literally everything from d-mid back (assuming JDS plays as more of a roving No. 8) is an open question. The Galaxy gave up 59 goals last year and were one of just two teams to make the playoffs with a negative goal differential, and it’s not like they’ve added a ton of reinforcements this winter. Truth be told they’ll probably have to score 80 to compete at the top of the West.

Predictions

  • Ben Baer: 3rd in West
  • Marcelo Balboa (Univision): 4th in West
  • Calen Carr: 3rd in West
  • Charlie Davies: 2nd in West
  • Matt Doyle: 3rd in West
  • Kristian Jack (TSN): 1st in West
  • Frederic Lord (TVA Sports): 3rd in West
Series: