Los Angeles came into the season expecting to be MLS Cup contenders. However, something was off for the normal powerhouse. The Galaxy finished 3rd in the Western Conference despite the late addition of Landon Donovan. LA was eliminated by the Colorado Rapids in the conference semifinals.
The biggest transaction was not a player, but the coach. Manager Bruce Arena left LA to take over the reigns of the US Men’s National Team. Curt Onalfo has taken over for Arena and coaching Galaxy II.
There has been a massive exodus from the City of Angels as the Galaxy appear to be making a concerted effort to get younger. Robbie Keane was not re-signed after his contract ended. Donovan’s contract also expired, putting him back into retirement. Joining Donovan in retirement are Steven Gerrard and Mike Magee.
Other names include Alan Gordon, who signed with the Rapids, Jeff Larentowicz who has signed with United (Atlanta version) and AJ DeLaGarza who was traded to Houston for a bucket of Garberbucks.
Much of LA’s hope with rest with their respected academy, but they brought in U.S. international Jermaine Jones and Brazilian youngster Joao Pedro to strengthen their defensive midfield. New designated player, Romain Alessandrini, is the biggest signing of the offseason.
Jones is going to make choosing a formation more difficult. The players that will feature are well know. Gyasi Zardes will be at the top of the formation, with Giovanni Dos Santos tucked immediately behind. Although Sebastian Lletget has his most success in the center, he’s likely to move to the wing with Jones occupying the center. With “Da Boy” moved to one wing, Alessandrini should fill in on the opposite wing. Newcomer Pedro should be the defensive midfielder.
Fantasy fans will be familiar with the 2017 defense. The feature CBs will once again be Daniel Steres and Jelle Van Damme. LA has rewarded Van Damme with a DP contract this season. At right back is Robbie Rogers, with Ashley Cole on the left. Brian Rowe should continue to be in goal.
Expected Galaxy line-up at time of writing
This lineup is fearsome despite what Jones critics may say. I expect LA to be the best defense in 2017 as their defense no longer has to cover for Gerrard’s tired legs. In 2016 LA gave up a league 2nd best 39 goals, so improvement there will make the Stubhub a fortress.
Lletget, now fresh off a successful US Camp, will offer the Galaxy much more creativity in the midfield. Positive contributions from Alessandrini’s will only help Lletget. Alessandrini is a an injury risk having missed time over the last two season. With Dos Santos always a goal threat, the Galaxy’s attack should be one of the West’s best.
With this combination, LA Galaxy can reasonably expect to contend for Supporter’s Shield and MLS Cup. While finishing 3rd in the West behind FC Dallas and Seattle is likely, a first place finish is possible.
LA should return one of the league’s best defenses in 2017. This means the midfield should no longer have to cover for defensive problems. With Lletget now expected to featured regularly and Alessandrini on the wing, goals and clean sheets should be regular occurences. You’ll want to avoid players playing against the Galaxy and make sure you have a few Galaxy players on your squad.