Javier Hernandez

How can the LA Galaxy get back in the mix for a postseason spot?

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Once the crown jewel of Major League Soccer, LA Galaxy celebrated multiple riches from MLS Cup victories to employing the likes of David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Come 2023, it’s not quite the same. We assess what’s going on at Dignity Health Sports Park and whether there’s much hope for the LA Galaxy playoff chances 2023.

LA Galaxy Playoff chances 2023

Let Vanney move on

Greg Vanney might have been one of the original Los Angeles Galaxy players that rampaged the early years of Major League Soccer, bringing great success to the club, yet he’s not as good as a manager. Appointed ahead of the 2021 season, Vanney has seldom improved the club during his tenure. Failure to qualify for the 2021 playoffs may have been forgiven with a conference semi-final appearance in 2022 but the current season is not going to plan.

Vanney’s 4-1-4-1 formation (or variations of it) doesn’t seem to suit or get the best out of any of his players. While the team does need to create chances of their own, not allowing their opponents in must be addressed promptly otherwise Galaxy Playoff scenarios will become increasingly difficult to fathom. A tactical re-think is required and this might not be in Vanney’s playbook.

Losing 1-0 at home to a relatively new franchise in Charlotte FC not only brought the tactics under fire but the desire from the players to play in this system. The team seem labored to make key chances as they succumbed to a third consecutive defeat.

Ousting Vanney now might give everyone a lift as a fresh pair of eyes will get to lead the team out and deploy the team slightly differently. It would appear as if the players aren’t enjoying the current setup nor is it yielding positive results that will get them anywhere close to the playoffs.


Recruit in Summer

It’s clear from the result and performances that the Galaxy personnel are not among the best players in MLS. While every club will be investing and recruiting during the summer transfer window, LA Galaxy must do it right if they are to bolster their performance. Of course, too much of an overhaul too quickly will unsettle the club.

Key additions at the back and front will however better any LA Galaxy Playoff chances in 2023. Martín Cáceres might have had an established career on his CV but the former Barcelona, Juventus, and Fiorentina defender isn’t cutting it at 36 years old. As well as his below-par performances, his temperament has been questioned as he earned a second yellow card for putting his hands on a ref.

The Galaxy also needs goals. Javier Hernandez is simply not playing enough or scoring like he used to. Dejan Joveljić is a forward who works better with a strike partner. Whether he was partnering with Ante Rebic at Frankfurt or even Riqui Puig here at Galaxy, he was a lot more prolific with an attacking accomplice. If this means changing the formation or buying another striker, the Bosnian can’t do as well if he’s isolated up top.

Get a marquee signing

While it could be contentious to suggest that LA Galaxy needs another designated player signing over specifically needed positions, the team would benefit from the exposure a new DP brings. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been one named mentioned about joining the club as he’s been frozen out of the Chelsea squad.

He’d most likely be an influence on the upcoming LA Galaxy fixtures, helping Joveljić up top and potentially bagging some goals himself. The club already has a big name in Chicharito for sure, but he’s been there forever and is old news now. If the club wants to make Apple TV Season Pass subscribers sit up and pay attention to the Galaxy then signing another player in the ilk of Robbie Keane, Romain Alessandrini, and Ashley Cole will bring serve to deliver that kind of recognition.


Force hard reset

Whether you prefer the computer analogy or burning down Rome to rebuild it, Galaxy probably needs something resembling the two. Club captain Javier Hernandez pretty much said as much in the wake of the 3-1 defeat to the Colorado Rapids, openly stating that the fans are right to protest before the games and leave the ground looking half-empty, despite previously backing the club president, Chris Klein.

The fans essentially want Klein out for mismanagement of their club. While the issues are long, most of which stem from lowered goals, i.e. stating the club should aim to qualify for the playoffs (not win the MLS Cup), as well as continuing to renew its partnership with Herbalife, a company which has come under fire in recent years.

While Klein leaving the building won’t quite replicate the waving of a magic wand, it will at least get supporters back in the stadium and ideally support the club again. Unless they get someone equally as bad to run the club…

It might enhance the LA Galaxy Playoff chances in 2023 but Klein backs the current running of the club so much that he’s communicated to season ticket holders that if the team doesn’t qualify for the playoffs this year, he’ll step down. Whether it’s a waiting game for him to leave or fixing the current relationship, the existing setup isn’t working. Outsourcing all soccer operations might be a start.

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