Eugene Rupinski, Brotherly Game) The LA Galaxy were one of Major League Soccer's flagship clubs for a long, long time but have really fallen on hard times this year. What caused them to fall so far, so fast?
Mike Gray, LAG Confidential) The fall from grace for LA has been traumatic to say the least. The Galaxy are so used to winning, l'm not sure the organization knows how to operate without a successful team.
When Bruce Arena's legendary tenure came to a close after accepting the US job, there were a lot of assumptions made about the Onalfo hiring. Curt was Bruce's choice, so he had to be good, or at least qualified. Lots of players had left, but new, exciting talent was on the way. Integrating Los Dos more into the first team with a long-term goal of building around the Galaxy academy sounded progressive.
Reality has told a different story. LA are 2-5, off to their worst start since 2003, with both victories coming against 10 men sides. Curt Onalfo has struggled at the helm, and so has the attack. Jovan Kirovski did great work bringing Romain Alessandrini to LA, but Joáo Pedro and Jermaine Jones have not worked out. The hyped Galaxy Academy is not producing the Kellyn Acostas and Tyler Adams of the league. Losing Sebastian Lletget was huge. It's all one big hot mess.
Questions have to be asked about this roster, which has talent but is also poorly constructed. Trading AJ DeLaGarza has already become one of the most infamous moves in Galaxy history.
tBG) What the hell happened to Jermaine Jones? Last season he was leading Colorado to a deep playoff run. This season he's been a shade better than "terrible" - what's gone wrong and can it be fixed?
LAGC) Jones has been miscast. I'm a big fan of Jermaine myself, but when LA acquired the midfielder I was expecting Jones to be utilized as a complimentary piece: Someone who's minutes would have to be monitored, but a wild card that could show up for big games, like when Jones completely bossed the midfield as a Rapids player vs. the Galaxy in the 2016 playoffs. Bruce didn't call Jermaine up recently just for kicks, the man can still play.
Instead, he's been more of a focal point, 90-minute player. Jones is a vegan monster of a footballer, but asking a 35-year-old coming off an ACL tear to consistently perform every week is a big ask. More specifically however, Jones' main issue is he likes to roam, and LA's feeble shape does not provide sufficient cover. Putting Jermaine in a more advance role might not completely fix the problem, but it'd be a start.
tBG) Only Philadelphia and Minnesota United FC have given up more goals than the Galaxy so far. Is an all-out offensive blitz the way to beat the Galaxy or is there more to it?
LAGC) The Union don't need a game plan when LA's biggest enemy this year has been themselves. The Galaxy's poor tactical discipline in the midfield has given other teams license to work in the center of the park, and the defense has not been up to par.
Injuries- D Robbie Rogers (ankle surgery), M Sebastian Lletget (foot surgery), GK Clement Diop (hip injiury)
Projected lineup- Brian Rowe, Ashley Cole, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, Nathan Smith, Joao Pedro, Jermaine Jones, Emmanuel Boateng, Romain Alessandrini, Gyasi Zardes, Giovani Dos Santos