Beckham Statue

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LA Galaxy open Legends Plaza

LA Galaxy opening day was both busy and rainy. The newly renamed home of the Galaxy, Dignity Health Sports Park, had its official unveiling.  A number of changes were presented to the Galaxy faithful as they braved the rain.  

The Galaxy and AEG held a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the new Dignity Health Sports Park sign early this afternoon. The location is also home to Legends Plaza in front of the Team LA Store at the Main Entrance.  

The rain stopped just in time for David Beckham to step out onto the stage at Legends Plaza ahead of his statue unveiling. The event was not without the pomp and circumstance of such an occasion. Rob Stone hosted the presentation of the David Beckham statue, the 1st of its kind in MLS. Commissioner Don Garber, Bruce Arena, Robbie Keane, Todd Dunnivant, Mike Magee, Cobi Jons and Mauricio Cienfuegos were all in attendance to pay tribute to one of soccer’s biggest icons.    

Galaxy President Chris Klein received several loud “BOOs” as he was announced by host Rob Stone and when he came up to give his speech. Many fans feel that Klein is directly responsible for the team’s downturn the past few seasons.  Klein however did his best to brush off the jeers.  

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Former Galaxy GM, Doug Hamilton’s widow, Paige Hamilton was also in attendance.  She received a nice round of applause as she was announced by Rob Stone.  Doug Hamilton passed away after suffering a heart attack while on a return flight from an away match in Costa Rica in 2006. Hamilton is one of three people the Galaxy have inducted to the Ring of Honor. Beckham was the fourth to be inducted at halftime of LA v Chicago later in the evening. 

Robbie Keane shared some nice words for his friend Beckham as he recounted Beckham convincing him to join him in LA while he was at a training stint at Tottenham.  Keane remembered Becks speaking highly of the league, saying that it would be something massive  in about 10 years time. Keane said after that, it was an easy decision.  Keane joined Beckham in 2011 and was the catalyst that propelled them to an MLS Cup win in 2011 and 2012.  Keane also went on to say that Beckham was not only a great father, but a loyal husband and friend.  Keane thanked him for welcoming him and his family from day one, and noted that the league has changed because of him.  Keane couldn’t resist in closing out his speech saying that he hoped to see everyone back next year when they unveil his statue.  

Beckham was brought to tears as the statue was unveiled. As the man of the hour came to the mic, he thanked the city for their warm welcome when he and his family first arrived in LA. A man who was truly humbled by the honor that the LA Galaxy has bestowed upon him, going as far as thanking the kit man, Raul Vargas in referring the Galaxy organization as a family.  He did not shy away from his rocky start with the team as he said that “it wasn’t always easy, I know, I know, and for that, I apologize.”  He went on to say that he hoped he won fans over, acknowledging that his arrival was not going to be a successful until they found success on the field. Beckham closed out by saying that people used to tell him that LA was a place where dreams come true, and today, a dream came true.  

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Buyout Reaction

 Giovanni Dos Santos Debut game vs The Seattle Sounders. The Galaxy won 3-1

LA Galaxy buy out Giovani dos Santos 

Speculation about what the LA Galaxy was going to do with their Designated Player situation ended at 2:50 P.M. on Friday.  Kevin Baxter of the LA Times reported that the Galaxy had exercised their once per season buyout which means that Gio dos Santos contract with they LA Galaxy has been fulfilled and his salary, a reported $6 million will no longer count against the Galaxy’s salary cap.  Since dos Santos was a DP, his salary cap hit to the overall roster was the MLS max of $530,000 the rest was fulfilled by the club’s owner AEG.

What does this mean for the Galaxy going forward? 

 For one thing, the LA Galaxy no longer has 4 Designated Players, which was 1 above what the league allowed.  In buying out Gio, they are now roster compliant ahead of the 5 P.M. deadline and have freed up an international slot, in which they were also at the maximum allowed.  They also recoup some salary cap space which they can use to strengthen the team for the upcoming season.  Galaxy General Manager Dennis Te Kloese and head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto have said they are looking to strengthen the defense, the midfield and the forward rankings.  This move along with the sale of Ola Kamara that was announced recently will allow Te Kloese to bring in a player or players, that suit Schelotto’s playing style.  

#GalaxyTwitter was buzzing about the move once it happened. 

It's very clear that Dennis Te Kloese is dead set on cleaning up the previous FO’s mess.  He has taken some very important steps in his first few months on the job.  

The Galaxy now have room to strengthen their roster.  Be warned MLS, the LA Galaxy are coming.  

Night Navy

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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.

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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.  

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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.  

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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.