LOS ANGELES — In 2018, the LA Galaxy missed the MLS Cup playoffs for a second consecutive year after massive defensive woes and injury concerns. Since then, the team has made significant changes to both the roster and the staff, but is it enough to make a difference heading into 2019?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns and will be the Galaxy’s captain. Front office additions included Dennis Te Kloese as general manager and head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Both have storied histories within the soccer community and have great potential to help get the LA Galaxy get back to their winning ways.
One of the biggest stories heading into the season is the Galaxy’s roster compliance. At the time of this publishing, the Galaxy have yet to announce their resolution of the Designated Player situation. The team has four Designated Players, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan Dos Santos and Giovani Dos Santos, but only three Designated Player spots. Giovani Dos Santos is the odd man out, according to GM te Kloese, as the team will either buy out his contract or restructure his contract to one that could be covered by Targeted Allocation Money. The roster compliance deadline is March 1, so the Galaxy must find a solution to the issue before the season starts on March 2.
LA Galaxy start campaign against the Chicago Fire
When: Saturday, March 2, 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, Calif.
Broadcast: FS1, FOX Sports GO, FOX Deportes
The buzz: Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Bastian Schweinsteiger on opening weekend. David Beckham statue unveiling. Malea Emma, the 7-year old singing sensation, returning to sing the national anthem. What more do you need?
The Galaxy will be hosting the Chicago Fire in the first MLS regular season match at the newly-renamed Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. With rain in the forecast and plenty of new faces on the field, the match will certainly be one to remember.
Other key matches
Friday, April 19 vs. Houston Dynamo – This match will be the Galaxy’s first chance to exact revenge on the side that left them out of the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2018. Houston had only pride to play for, but their 3-2 victory over the Galaxy left them on the outside looking in.
Friday July 19 vs. LAFC – This match will be the first El Trafico of the 2019 MLS regular season, and LAFC’s first opportunity to even the score after the Galaxy took the season series last year.
Check out the full 2018 schedule here.
Quotes & Notes
Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto on Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading as the captain for the LA Galaxy:
“I think he’s experienced, he’s a leader. He had to be the captain for the team. It’s very important for everyone here. I hope he has a good season, because it will be very good for us, for every player, for the coaches. We hope to get good play not just from [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic; I think everyone has to have a good season, because it’s our work. We are working for that.”
Galaxy captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic on title chances this year:
“I’m hopeful. I have my vision. I believe. We have to work hard.”
Biggest offseason moves
Bulleted list of impact trades or acquisitions …
- Two key contributors left the team: captain and defender Ashley Cole to Derby County in England and forward Ola Kamara to Shenzhen F.C. of the Chinese Super League.
- Incoming, are several players in key positions, including central defender Diego Polenta and midfielder Uriel Antuna.
Forwards – Uriel Antuna, 21; Giovani Dos Santos, 29; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 37.
Midfielders – Romain Alessandrini, 29; Jonathan Dos Santos, 28; Juninho, 30; Sebastian Lletget, 26; Chris Pontius, 31.
Defenders – Hugo Arellano, 20; Tomas Hilliard-Arce, 23; Diego Polenta, 27; Jorgen Skjelvik, 27; Daniel Steres, 28.
Goalkeepers – David Bingham, 29; Matt Lampson, 29; Justin Vom Steeg, 21.
See full roster details here.