The 2013 MLS season is almost here, and I for one, can’t wait! I’m looking forward to seeing what the defending MLS Cup Champions will do this season. The way last season started for Los Angeles Galaxy, very few expected them to make it to the MLS Cup final, let alone win it! LA Galaxy’s best defender, Omar Gonzalez , was injured before the season started. He had been loaned to the German club, FC Nürnberg. During his first training session, he collided with another player and tore his ACL. He was out for 6 months.
Gonzalez’s injury had a major impact on the Galaxy. After all, he was their best defender. Don’t get me wrong, all of LA Galaxy’s defenders are really good, but Gonzalez is the one that won MLS Defender of the Year back in 2011. LA Galaxy was undefeated at the Home Depot Center in 2011. In 2012? Not so much. In their first few games, they were conceding 2-3 goals a game, even losing to weaker teams like New England Revolution. When Gonzalez came back, they started playing like the team that won the MLS Cup in 2011. They went from a team that almost missed out on MLS playoffs to the team of 2011. The 2012 MLS Cup final was a rematch of the 2011 MLS Cup final. LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo. The similarities ended there. Dynamo scored first, to the shock and surprise of everyone watching. However, unlike in the beginning of the season, LA Galaxy was able to overcome their slow start and score 3 goals to secure their second MLS Cup title in a row.
There were many departures from LA Galaxy during the offseason. The biggest one was David Beckham, who moved to Ligue 1 club, Paris Saint Germain, also known as PSG. One LA Galaxy player that hasn’t left the team, but is currently “taking a break” is former LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan. He will miss LA’s first few games, including their CCL match. Other players who left LA Galaxy were Edson Buddle, Christian Wilhelmsson, Dan Keat, David Lopes Junior, and Josh Saunders.
Not all the news was bad though. Juninho is finally a permanent LA Galaxy player. He had been on loan from Sao Paolo in his previous three seasons with LA. LA Galaxy also acquired Carlo Cudicini, Charlie Rugg, Kofi, Opare, Greg Cochrane, Colin Clark, Andy Riemer, Oscar Sorto, and Gyasi Zardes.
People always say that LA Galaxy wins their matches because they “buy” all their players. This isn’t true. LA Galaxy has many “homegrown” players on the roster as well. The two most known homegrown players are Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean. Although these two didn’t get that many minutes last season, be on the lookout for them in 2013. They have proved themselves as reliable and talented players. Villarreal is even good enough to start for LA Galaxy. Oscar Sorto and Gyasi Zardes are two homegrown players that have joined LA this season. While they might not play in regular season games, we might get a chance to see them play in the US Open matches.
There have been plenty of rumors about who will be joining LA Galaxy to replace David Beckham. The two most mentioned players are Kaka (Real Madrid) and Frank Lampard (Chelsea). Personally, I’d rather have Kaka join the team than Lampard. Up to now, both of these players are still currently with their respective teams and haven’t mentioned whether they plan on joining LA Galaxy in the future.
The way LA Galaxy has been playing recently, in their last few friendlies, it wouldn’t surprise me to see LA Galaxy make it to the playoffs again. Last season they ended up in 4th place in the regular season. This season, they will end up in at least second place, if not first place in the Western Conference table. Can they win their 3rd MLS Cup final in a row? I don’t see why not. They have a good team, a great coach, and a strong bench.
(image courtesy of mlssoccer.com)