2017 LA Galaxy Review
2017 was an all-time low for the LA Galaxy by many metrics. Bruce Arena left for the United States Men’s National Team with his full coaching staff. A bunch of veteran players left as the front office promoted Curt Onalfo to Head Coach from LA Galaxy II. Onalfo played the kids and it failed miserably. Now Sigi Schmid and company are looking to overhaul the roster and get back to the playoffs.
The Galaxy have completely rebuilt the defense, which was their weakest unit in 2017. Norwegian center/right back Jorgen Skjelvik is coming in on Targeted Allocation Money. Rosenborg BK personnel spoke very highly of him. Venezuelan International Rolf Feltscher is also coming in. He previously was with Cardiff City in the English Championship and is a fringe player with the Venezuelan National Team. The club has also brought in MLS veterans David Bingham and Perry Kitchen to upgrade the starting goalkeeper and holding midfielder play. Schmid has re-signed Ashley Cole and Baggio Husidic to retain two of the better veterans from last season.
Lastly, the Galaxy added Columbus Crew SC striker Ola Kamara during the MLS SuperDraft in a huge trade that saw the Galaxy ship out Gyasi Zardes and $400,000 in TAM. This trade filled the biggest hole from 2017 with a quality and proven MLS striker.
The Galaxy still have some holes to fill: Depth across the roster. The Galaxy were active for the first time in years over the weekend at the SuperDraft. Look for Sigi to evaluate the three players taken and possibly bring in some trialists to fill out the remaining roster spots.
Expected/Predicted Starting XI Picture
Now that the Galaxy have a striker, the expected Starting XI for 2018 is pretty straight forward. The Designated Players are all going to start. The big off-season signings in Kamara, Kitchen, Skjelvik, Feltscher, and Bingham should all be in there as well. Word is that Sebastian Lletget is on schedule with his rehab and will be ready to go for the start of the season. He’ll step in for Ema Boateng, who will be a good bench option.
The only real question at this point is Ashley Cole’s durability and who fills that second center back role. I’ve always liked Daniel Steres, but Dave Romney could get some time there as well (or at left back if Cole gets injured). The draft pick Tomas Hilliard-Arce out of Stanford could also see time there. I still think Steres gets the lion’s share of the minutes at second center back.
Player numbers are based on the club’s preseason kit numbers announcement.
In short, the Galaxy’s tactical decisions will be based on what puts Gio in the best position to succeed. As he and Jonathan go, so go the 2018 LA Galaxy. I could see them being a bit more counter attack focused in 2018. They’ve rebuilt the defense and Perry Kitchen will be a destroyer in the midfield. Cole and Jonathan dos Santos were quoted many times in 2017 (particularly when things were going bad) as saying “my goal is to win the ball and get it to Gio.” Expect Gio and Jona to link up regularly in the midfield and get the ball to the wings on the move.
Alessandrini was one of the best newcomers to the league in 2017. DPs normally get better their second year in the league. The Frenchman’s stats would have been better if he was on a competent team. I expect him to be a highly productive MLS Fantasy player and his price should reflect that. On the other side of the midfield, Sebastian Lletget appears to be good to go coming off his injury. He could be the most valuable player (production/price) on this team. He’s always been good at racking up bonus points. With his ability to cut inside and go at goal, he’ll be getting and creating chances for himself and others, especially with Kamara’s addition.
Defensively, they’ll be better but it’s hard to pin down a sure-fire Fantasy stud. Two of their players will be new to the league (and who knows where their price in game will be at). Bingham should be a steady pick in goal, but there will be others at his price point with backlines that have more experience together. Cole’s decent but getting old. Your best bet might be Daniel Steres simply because he won’t cost much and should still rack up bonus points. If he gets a clean sheet, he’ll be one of your better cheap starting defensemen in any given Fantasy round.
It’s hard to imagine the Galaxy being any worse than they were in 2017. I’d expect them to compete for a playoff spot, and as of the Kamara trade I think they’ll make it. I don’t see this team competing for the Supporter’s Shield though. As previously stated, their season will largely rely on what they get from the Dos Santos brothers. Jonathan will be in his second year in the league and will have a proper off-season. Hopefully he’ll contribute more.
At every club Giovani dos Santos has been at, he’s always been “one year away from breaking out.” It didn’t happen when he was in Spain and it hasn’t happened yet in MLS. Gio’s form often is dependent on his status with the Mexican National Team. I’d expect him to come into the regular season highly motivated and productive. If he makes the preliminary roster, I’d expect him to be on Cloud 9 going into the World Cup. Assuming he doesn’t get hurt in Russia, he’ll come back riding tailwinds. If he doesn’t make the roster or has a poor World Cup, it could make him unproductive for the rest of the year.
For better or worse, the Galaxy have lots of money locked up in these two players. They’re dependent on them if they’re going to get back to contending for trophies. The fate of other players in MLS Fantasy (especially Lletget, Kamara, and Boateng) could also depend heavily on them.
Closing Fantasy Thoughts/Conclusion
Alessandrini, Lletget, and Steres are your best bets for overall and consistent MLS Fantasy production. If the team is playing well and scoring goals, expect Kamara to be putting u[ big numbers, with Gio and Alessandrini getting assists and attacking bonuses. The others (especially the players new to MLS) are an unknown right now until we get a month or two of Fantasy data on where and how they play on the field.