As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what LA Galaxy will be looking to achieve over the next nine months.
LA Galaxy are entering 2016 as a revamped side and will be expecting to perform much better than they did in 2015. Bruce Arena watched his side record their lowest regular season points tally for six years, with a knockout round playoff exit compounding frustrations. The Galaxy’s horrendous away record cost them dearly and the hopes will now be that experienced additions throughout the squad can help the Galaxy get back on track. The likes of Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme and Nigel De Jong have joined Designated Players Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Giovani Dos Santos – forming arguably the most star-studded lineup in MLS history. Now they must deliver.
Last season’s finish:
Western Conference – Position: 5th – P34 – W14 – D9 – L11Embed from Getty Images
What needs to change this year?
Their away record. As simple as that. Winning just two of 17 away games over the course of the regular season was an embarrassing return for a club of LA Galaxy’s stature. It took them five months to find their first win away from home and that cost them massively. If the Galaxy are to push on and challenge at the very top of the Supporters’ Shield standings once again, they need to improve their record on the road. They face Western Conference opponents in each of their first four away games in 2016 and need to make a stand early on.
Key changes to squad:
Ins: Dan Kennedy – Goalkeeper, Jeff Larentowicz – Midfielder, Mike Magee – Forward, Emmanuel Boateng – Forward, Jelle Van Damme – Defender, Ashley Cole – Defender & Nigel De Jong – Midfielder
Outs: Edson Buddle – Forward, Tommy Meyer – Defender, Donovan Ricketts – Goalkeeper, Mika Vayrynen – Midfielder, Kenney Walker – Midfielder, Omar Gonzalez – Defender & Juninho – Midfielder
Key Player:Embed from Getty Images
Robbie Keane – Forward – There might be numerous stars in the Galaxy lineup, but Robbie Keane continues to shine brighter than all of them. The club captain is entering his sixth MLS season with the Galaxy and despite being 35, he proved to be as dangerous as ever last season. The Irishman ended 2015 with 20 regular season goals – his highest total with the club. He carries the side when they’re down and will be vitally important again in 2016.
One to Watch:
Emmanuel Boateng – Forward – In an offseason filled with experienced additions, Emmanuel Boateng adds some youth to the Galaxy squad and he will hope to get an opportunity to prove his worth in 2016. The 22-year-old Ghanaian attacker joins the Galaxy from Swedish side Helsingborgs IF, where he scored four goals in 37 appearances. He is a tricky forward who will add some much-needed pace to a squad filled with experience.Embed from Getty Images
Western Conference – 1st – The Galaxy underachieved last term and will be expected to bounce back in 2016. They should do just that, as despite losing Omar Gonzalez and Juninho this offseason, they have strengthened with the additions of Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme and Nigel De Jong. They have the most talented roster in MLS going into the campaign and should win the Western Conference as a result for the first time since 2011.
What are you expecting from LA Galaxy in 2016?