Night Navy

IMG_3626.jpg

Kit Reveal: LA Galaxy unveil their away kit

Rob Stone hosted the LA Galaxy’s 5 Star Night Navy Kit Reveal at the Novo at LA Live.  Galaxy fans came out in force and were very easily pumped up by Rob Stone’s hype. He joked that the Galaxy were a little late coming on stage because Guillermo Barros Schelotto sent them on a run to that other stadium to “take a quick leak” and turn back.  The crowd erupted in laughter and cheers.  The excitement of the Galaxy faithful shows how eager everyone is for the season to get started.   

Starting off the night, Dennis Te Kloese and Guillermo Barros Schelotto sat down for a quick Q&A with Stone.  When asked about what kind of expectations the fans should have for the 2019 season, Te Kloese said the fans should have high expectations, especially for a club of the LA Galaxy’s stature.  Schelotto reiterated that he is for offense, he wants to fight, the expectations should be high. When asked about style, Schelotto said again that they will try to play an attacking style with some of the big name players they have.

IMG_3932.jpg

After the player introductions, and the new kit was revealed, Rob Stone asked the crowd which player they wanted to come back out for a Q&A.  Much to his surprise, the crowd was asking for Gio Dos Santos. Likely, Galaxy fans want answers as to why he hasn’t preformed or perhaps just to see him address the fans he worked so hard to avoid.  Rob Stone did well to try and get everyone back on track as Zlatan came back to the stage.  The moment was not lost on the Swede as he  joked that Gio had gone home already.  Then tried to recoup by saying that he has a hard training session coming up the next day.  Zlatan then delighted the crowd as he and Rob Stone played word association, many times asking Stone to repeat the word since as he put it, was getting older and couldn’t hear well.  When the subject of IKEA came up, Zlatan recounted buying all his furniture for the home he’s renting in LA from the Swedish furniture store. He recalls the real estate broker commenting that “rich people don’t shop at IKEA.” Zlatan replied, “Yes, but intelligent people DO”.  The next subject, LAFC, Zlatan quickly replied “who?” then with perfect comedic timing he followed up with, “that time I heard you” 

Zlatan made a point to apologize to the fans for the last game of the 2018 season, this season he promises to bring something and he plans to break every MLS record in the process.  

IMG_3832.jpg

Te Kloese talked about how he is trying to restructure the culture around the club to create more of a pyramid starting with the youth teams and working from top to bottom.  He said the Galaxy has spent a lot of money in their academy and he thinks there is talent to be found in the area.  He pledged to the fan base that they will work harder than any team and they want to give the fans everything that the fans have the given the team over the last few years. 

The players came out game day starting XI style with Michael Araujo announcing player’s numbers and fist names and the crowd chanting back their last names.  When Gio Dos Santos was  announced, the crowd had a mixed reaction, some boos and groans could be heard.  Noticeably absent were Julian Araujo who just signed a 1st team contract and Emil Cuello (unsigned) who had been getting significant minutes in the Galaxy’s preseason matches.  

IMG_3958.jpg

The new Night Navy jersey itself was met with mixed reviews from the fans.  The blocky, distorted stripe design is a bold choice when you look at some of the more subtle designs on other MLS kits this year. We noticed quite a few fans already wearing their newly purchased jerseys as the night went on.  The online reaction ranged from, people saying they can’t wait to purchase theirs to saying that they would just get last year’s home jersey again since they’ve added the 5 stars to the Galaxy crest.  

 The event ended with fans able to interact with players as they mingled around the floor taking photos and autographing items for fans.  Chris Pontius, Romain Alessandrini, David Bingham, Juninho, Rolf Feltcher and Sebastian Lletget were all roaming around.  

In the end, Galaxy fans went home happy and felt like they had something to look forward to in 2019.  Once the venue closed that didn’t stop fans from showing love and support for their club as members of Angel City Brigade danced and chanted as they left.  

 

For more thoughts on the new Night Navy jersey and all things LA Galaxy, check out the LAisOurHouse podcast which can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and Soundcloud.  All our links can be found on the homepage.  

Preseason: LA Galaxy 1-1 Toronto FC Recap

Excitement was in the air as LA Galaxy fans got to take in the first official preseason match of 2019. The Galaxy faced off against Toronto FC who has been training in Orange County over the past few weeks. The preseason match drew a decent crowd for a chilly night at Dignity Health Sport Park, henceforth referred to as “The Diggity”, all 3 supporters groups were out in force and created a good atmosphere for the match.  With the MLS season less than a month away, the new Galaxy coaching regime took the opportunity to test some of their new  players. 

Guillermo Barros Schelotto was without some  key players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic (rested), Ola Kamara (illness), Sebastian Lletget (injury).

Guillermo Barros Schelotto  twins.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto twins.

The Galaxy started the night in a 4-4-1-1 or a 4–2-3-1 formation with Chris Pontius and draftee Emil Cuello up top. Uriel Antuna on the left wing, Jona Dos Santos and Servando Carrasco in the middle and Romain Alessandrini on the right. Jorgen Skjelvik looked more comfortable playing as a left back, while Diego Polenta and Dan Steres patrolled the center of defense and the goal scorer Rolf Fletcher in his usual right back spot.  

The Galaxy controlled much of the match with Man City loanee Uriel Antuna providing the outlet on the left side.  Alessandrini seemed to be siding into the middle of the field to provide extra support for Jonathan Dos Santos and Carrasco.  Jona playing the box to box role and Alessandrini and sometimes Cuello as the playmakers.  

Diego Polenta was a player that we had our eye on since the Galaxy’s main issue last year was in the defense.  He showed calmness on the ball and had the ability to find good outlet passes.  Polenta is returning from a bit if a sabbatical and showed some rust.  He got himself into trouble a few times, perhaps not realizing how quickly the challenges were coming.  We are certainly hoping he will make the proper adjustments as he gets more games under his belt.  Polenta played about 60 minutes before being subbed off.  

The Galaxy created chances but it was persistence and a little luck that saw the ball go in the back of the net in the 55th minute.  Romain Alessandrini took a short corner to Antuna who returned the ball, Alessandrini hit a one time left footed cross to the near post.  Feltcher got in front of his defender and attempted to flick it on with the back of his head, but the ball deflected into the back of the net by Toronto’s Terique Mohammed.

The game saw wholesale changes after about the 65th min.  Galaxy newcomers Julian Araujo, Diedie Traore, Don Tchialo all saw some time on the field.  Juninho made his return to the Galaxy in the 75th minute to a big ovation but perhaps the biggest cheer came when Efrain Alvarez entered the game in the 65th min.  It's clear that most Galaxy fans know that he could be the team’s next big homegrown star.  Unfortunately, he was not able to make an impact on the game.  The youngster missed a clear opportunity to make the game 2-0 late in the match.  The resulting counter attack allowed Toronto to equalize from an own goal on the other side.  Richie Laryea sent in a low cross into the area and the ball deflected off Dave Romney and into the back of the Galaxy net.  

Players who did not play that many minutes stayed behind to get a training session in after the match.  It should be noted that a post match training session is very rare.  The Guillermo Barros Schelotto era has begun indeed. 


Don’t Fall Into the Maniac’s Trap

<untitled> (17).jpg

Imagine that you’re a poker player playing a cash game at your local casino. You’ve been playing since the table first opened for the day and have built a very sizable chip stack.

In fact, you have been the biggest winner at the table thus far. You know and understand the other player’s games, tendencies and tells. Though you will inevitably lose some hands and big pots from time to time, you are very confident that you are one of the better players at the table and will surely walk away from the table with a big profit. Life is good. Suddenly, one of the players decides to leave the table and a new player sits down to join the game. They immediately make their presence known. They sport loud and flashy clothing, and jewelry is worn in what seems to be on every body part.  They buy in for more money than any other player at the table has in front of them (unnecessarily). They are loud and obnoxious, talking about how there’s a new player in town and that they will take everyone’s money. They see your chip stack and target you specifically.  They call you out and warn that all your money will soon be theirs because they’re coming for you above anyone else. You immediately despise this person. You decide at that moment that you will not lose to this player.  You study their gameplay, you learn their tells and be patient for the perfect moment to strike. Finally, a big pot builds and it’s heads up between you and this player.  In the end, you show the best hand and win the pot! A big smile appears on your face as you pull in your newly acquired chips. However, while you’re stroking your ego, you suddenly realize that your chip stack isn’t as big as it should be after winning such a big pot. Your look of pride and joy suddenly turn to confusion. How could this be? Well, while you were busy focusing on beating the new player, you forgot that there were 8 other players still at the table outplaying you because you were too busy trying to win an ego battle.

Alas, we have arrived at the point. For those who haven’t figured out the metaphor, the players at the poker table are the Galaxy and LAFC. The Galaxy would be wise not to have a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to what LAFC does. When Galaxy President Chris Klein says that he is not worried about what LAFC is doing and that he is only focused on the Galaxy, he is making the correct decision. Well, partially. Klein should not completely ignore LAFC for the mere fact that they are still competition, but to try to out duel a new and unproven team at the cost of losing to the real MLS Cup contenders would be foolish.  

LAFC is the new player at the table and they NEED to make their presence known. They need to show the league that they have money and are willing to spend, they need the flashy clothes.  They need to market their team to everyone to get all the focus on them. This is perfectly normal for an expansion team. But make no mistake, this is all a perfectly planned illusion. It is a psychological tactic. Just like the new poker player at the table, everything he does is for a reason. The flashy clothes, the big chip stack, the hard talk about how he’s going to take your money, it’s all meant to throw you off your game. It’s done to rattle your cage and to make your decisions based on emotion rather than reason. It is done so that you can make a mistake so that they can capitalize on it. When you’re an expansion team, this is all you have.  

After such a disappointing season in which they will most likely miss the playoffs for the first time in 9 years, the Galaxy should be focusing on themselves and not worry about anyone else. They need to go back to what made them so successful for so many years. They shouldn’t be worried about the marketing battle between LAFC because it is a battle they can’t win at the moment.  The Galaxy need to regroup and make smarter decisions if they are to be competitive next season. The ultimate marketing strategy is winning games, trophies and titles. The fans will come after that. LAFC will certainly talk a big game, but without backing it up, the fans will quickly turn on them for a winner.  

<untitled> (30).jpg

Galaxy fans will surely have a hard time accepting that we shouldn’t be focused on LAFC and that is perfectly fine. After all, fandom is about ego and pride, nothing more. But where fans can be forgiven for putting ego and pride above reason, the front office can’t. They need to be more rational and focus on the bigger picture. They need to remember that the ultimate goal is to win an MLS Cup and not to defeat a single rival during a season. There may come a time when LAFC is the favorite to win a title, and when that time comes, that is when the Galaxy can focus on beating LAFC. Like a poker player, the front office needs to throw emotion and ego out the window when making decisions that will affect the club. Chris Klein has the right mentality, now he has to make the correct decisions.  


Galaxy Still Suffering from Disease

The LA Galaxy have fired head coach Curt Onalfo

and hired former Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid to take over the remainder of the season.  After posting a 6-10-4 record and sitting in 9th place in the Western Conference the move is deserved and long overdue.  Although this was a change that was sorely needed and very welcomed, it doesn’t cure the cancer that is currently infecting the Galaxy: the front office.  

Make no mistake, 9th place is not where anybody imagined the Galaxy would be after 20 games, including Galaxy President Chris Klein and General Manager Pete Vagenas.  However, it is no secret that most fans believe that it was them who put the Galaxy in that position to begin with and not necessarily Curt Onalfo.  Yes, Onalfo was underqualified for the position, and yes, his head coaching record was par at best, but that didn’t stop Klein or Vagenas from appointing him to the position.  As if hiring a subpar coach wasn’t enough, the front office failed to give Onalfo the tools he needed to have a chance at success. The front office failed to sign any sort of depth on the roster, instead deciding to rely on their youth program which was definitely not ready.  The front office will argue that a ridiculous amount of injuries was the reason for so many losses, which is partially true, but the plan was always to use the Galaxy 2 players when they were needed.  Well, they were certainly needed, and it proved that the backup plan was a horrible one.   Onalfo essentially was given a knife to bring to a gun fight.  Sure, a more skilled and talented person might be able to be successful with what was given to them, but it’s still not a good strategy to leave your soldier unarmed.  

The front office did make some signings during the offseason though.  They signed 3, actually.  Romain Alessandrini, Jermaine Jones and Joao Pedro were all introduced before the season started.  It’s too bad only one has been great while the other had to wait until the 3rd signing inevitably went down with injury to be good.  It seemed like everybody knew that signing Jermaine Jones was a liability except the 2 people that mattered the most.  With only 3 signings added to an already young and thin roster before the season started, an injury to any one of these players would’ve put the Galaxy right back at square one.  And with Jones at a high risk for injury already, this plan was doomed from the beginning.  However, with only 3 signings and only 1 player used as a DP, the Galaxy still had room for one more game changing acquisition midseason should they need it.  The front office struck out on that front as well.  Failing to sign Dario Benedetto, Javier Hernandez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andre-Pierre Gignac, all of which play a position that the Galaxy desperately needed, they instead signed Jonathan dos Santos.  Though he is a very skilled and talented player, a midfielder was not what the Galaxy were looking for or needed and therefore the signing seemed to be more desperation and marketing rather than improving the team.  This again falls on the front office for their lack of vision and disastrous plan.


This plan, by the way, is still full speed ahead.  The philosophy of youth and cost cutting still remains, and the signing of a new coach does not change that.  In fact, hiring Sigi Schmid as head coach seems to fit the cost cutting narrative.  I agree that his pedigree, history and resume far exceeds that of Curt Onalfo’s but the fact of the matter is that there were better and “sexier” choices out there.  Bob Bradley was definitely available, as LAFC clearly demonstrated, but the cost would’ve been too much for the Galaxy.  A cost that they definitely could afford to be sure.  The same youthful players remain on the roster, so a coaching change won’t affect that, at least not until next season.  Sigi might do better with a knife than Onalfo did, but a new philosophy and front office might give him the guns he needs.

The bottom line is that even with a coaching change, the Galaxy are still plagued by the moves that are made from an incompetent front office.  Rather than to take responsibility, they remain stubborn and use excuses to explain their shortcomings.  A coaching change is a step in the right direction, and historically there is usually an uptick in performance, record and morale when a new coach takes charge.  But the fact is that the roster still lacks the players needed to be serious contenders for MLS Cup.  Cost cutting and smarter business can certainly be successful but you need the right personnel to pull it off.  Although, I admit, that only half a season is far too small of sample size, I can still say with enough confidence that Klein and Vagenas aren’t the right men for the job.  Changes at the top must be made if the Galaxy are to be the perennial power it once was and that fans have grown accustomed to.