LA Galaxy’s Season-Long Struggles Run Deepcsudhbulletin November 20, 2020 0 COMMENTS
Winger Cristian Pavón was named as the team’s Player of the Year for the 2020 season. Photo by LA Galaxy.
By Jeremy Gonzalez, Sports Editor
Last offseason, the Los Angeles Galaxy made a big splash in the transfer market when they signed former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward Javier Chicharito Hernández to replace the departing superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović, who took his confident persona back to Europe to play in Italy’s first division.
Hernández, the Mexican national team’s all-time leading goalscorer, was expected to fill the goalscoring void left by Ibrahimović. He was expected to be an excellent fit with the current Galaxy squad, being welcomed by Mexico teammate and Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos along with Galaxy winger Cristian Pavón. The chemistry with Pavón was supposed to develop into a lethal duo up top for the Galaxy that would rival any attacking options in the MLS.
But this season proved to be quite the reality check for California State University, Dominguez Hills’ next door neighbors.
The five-time MLS Cup winners are coming off a season where Hernández, the club’s marquee signing, was a complete bust with only two goals scored this season. The team trailed only the San Jose Earthquakes in goals allowed this season despite having the third highest paid defense in the league. And the team fired head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto with three games remaining in the regular season.
So what’s next for the so-called flagship of the MLS?
Los Angeles heads into the offseason in search of their fourth head coach since Bruce Arena left for the U.S. men’s national team in 2016. And while the team is not enjoying the success it had a decade ago, LA Galaxy President Chris Klein and General Manager Dennis te Kloese insisted in a press conference last week they’ll look at everything they can to revive the once-proud franchise.
“A crucial offseason,” Klein said. “We’re spending a lot of time evaluating everything. And that starts with me and certainly I hold my hand up and take responsibility, not only for the results that are not up to our standards for this year but for the last couple of years.”
Galaxy fans can recall the 2017 season where the team finished with an embarrassing 8-18-8 record. This season, Los Angeles finished with a 6-12-4 record and found themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference for a stretch of the regular season. When Schelotto and his staff were dismissed, interim head coach Dominic Kinnear led the team to a 1-1-1 record in the final three games.
Te Kloese said the team will not go down the obvious road in regaining their success.
“The easiest thing is to just keep changing,” he said. “You can bring in a new coach, you can bring in a ton of new players, you can bring in a new general manager. You can do whatever you want. You can overhaul the entire academy again. I don’t think that’s the solution.”
The biggest question mark for the team remains the head coaching vacancy. Some names have been linked to the Galaxy position, but te Kloese said the team was going to assess all options before it makes a final decision.
Another big question for the team in the offseason is the decision on Pavón. His loan from Argentinian side Boca Juniors expires at the end of the season and the fans don’t know if Pavón will remain in a Galaxy uniform or if he will go back to Argentina to rejoin his former team. Te Kloese did provide an update on the move possibly becoming permanent.
“I must say [Pavon’s] intentions are very solid on staying here,” te Kloese said. “I think it speaks for itself that the club is happy with his performance. Hopefully we’ll come up with a solution in the upcoming weeks.”
In what will be one of the most important offseasons in the team’s history, the Galaxy will no doubt be making roster and front office changes in an attempt to bring the team back to relevance, competing for the MLS cup.