2020 Galaxy Preview


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NAG’s Galaxy 2020 Preview

As Hans Zimmer’s new Major League Soccer anthem was blasting through my head on Wednesday morning, I felt the need to don a bear skin on my back, wolf jaw on my head, and run screaming out onto the field, a weapon in each fist!

I really liked the old MLS anthem, but as the league turns 25, the new anthem is just another reminder that we are entering a new era, even as MLS 3.0 is chugging along at full steam.

The new MLS kits are hit or miss—you either already own one or are repulsed by them (but you will still go out and buy one, regardless). Leaguewide, there has been a noticeable influx of Latin American talent, particularly from Mexico. We certainly got ours with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

So what if he hasn’t scored yet? None of those preseason games matter anyway. He’ll get his, as will Aleksandar Katai, Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, and Cristian Pavón—who looks to be in mid-season form already. New defender Emiliano Insúa impressed in his debut, while Los Dos call-up Nick DePuy has held his own, giving us hope that the back line will be better than it has been in recent memory.

The prevailing theme is a strong sense of hope for 2020. Hope for better results and a strong playoff run, maybe even a push for the U.S. Open Cup. Surprisingly, several pundits at ESPN actually predicted the Los Angeles Galaxy to lift the MLS Cup in early November.


As badly as we want our guys to win that sixth Cup, the Galaxy are still a reclamation project, as Head Coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and General Manager Dennis te Kloese have been busy restoring the luster to the league’s perennial flagship franchise.

Bringing Chicharito to Dignity Health Sports Park will put butts in the seats, but there is still some work to be done.

The crew at News Across the Galaxy is well-aware of this, and we wrote down our wishes, expectations, and concerns for the upcoming season.

Best-Case Scenario

Eddie: For the first time since Bruce Arena left, we have a head coach returning after a full season, as well as most of our defense, after a couple of years of musical chairs. With a full season together under their belts, things can only get better right?

The defense should be getting better, as all the weight won’t be on their shoulders. With Joe Corona, Lletget, and Jona leading the team in the middle, there is no reason why we can’t out-possess every team in MLS.

G-Charito might not set the soccer world on fire like Zlatan, but he comes into the league with a respectable track record in Europe and might actually be a better fit to GBS’s system. After only a couple of preseason games, you can already see that Pavón is on a whole other level compared to the rest of the league.

In a dream world, the Galaxy will win both domestic cups in 2020. And—fuck it—why not? Throw the Leagues Cup in there, too

Chuy: The team looks to be coming together well. I feel that Pavón and Chicharito will have the noticeable dynamic or collaboration of the team. Pavón must learn how Chicha runs and cuts so he can put the correct pass and find Chicha or even make his own run and shoot one for himself.

Pavón looks to be the one to possibly lead the league in the assists category. His combination of goals and assists will put him at the 25- to 30-point range and tying for second place with Sasha Kljestan and Maxi Moralez for most assist in a season (20).

Adrian: The defense is still in question, but it has gotten better this offseason. Maybe not at the back line, but, overall, as a unit. The two biggest advantages we have are that midfield trio that got to mesh well over 20-plus games and Pavón.

The additions of Chicha and Katai will allow us to apply pressure on opposing defenses, which starts with our no. 9. With Katai, we have a player that knows the league, how taxing travel can be, and gives us versatility in the middle.

I don’t have a problem with all the changes in the team because we kept the core together and added a legitimate starter in Kljestan. Pavón—who, at one point, had an assist in an MLS record seven consecutive matches (8 in 11 matches)—will be playing with a no. 7 that can play on both sides and even as a no. 10.

The best-case scenario is a championship.

Bryant: In an ideal world, the Galaxy wins every game by more than 2 goals, more than 5 goals versus “rivals,” and no goals against, plus winning all tournaments.

However, as the Galaxy revamps the roster, there are still a lot of issues that they need to address. With the league improving year by year, for 2020 season the Galaxy will have to rely heavily on their three-headed offensive monster—Katai, Pavón and Chicharito.

There’s a popular saying that states, “Defense wins championships.” A saying the Galaxy has practically ignored in recent times. For the past couple of seasons, the back line for the blue white and gold has left the club with much to be desired. Returning defenders like Daniel Steres, Giancarlo “Pipo” González, Rolf Feltscher and Julian Araujo were part of those defensive woes last season, letting in 59 goals.

However, with the additions of Danilo Acosta and Insúa, the surprise of Los Dos player DePuy, and rumors of Club Atlético Independiente’s Alan Franco coming to L.A., the Galaxy look to have strengthened their back line. They will bring much needed support to veteran goalkeeper David Bingham, whose 141 saves last season were the most in MLS.

Edgar: Let me be a Positive Pete here and say that the Galaxy will, at minimum, make it to the Western Conference finals before bowing out. The league has grown a lot since 2014. With eight new clubs, getting to the playoffs has become more difficult and finding that mix of consistency and a healthy roster in a crowded field is a greater challenge than ever before.

However, despite atrocious defending last season, the Galaxy were still one game away from the Western Conference final. The Galaxy still had a fighter’s chance against the Goats, despite all their firepower, before the defense let them down. Now, imagine a more flexible offense with a more secure defense and a more seasoned midfield and you have the ingredients for an MLS Cup run.


Eddie: As much as we love the Galaxy, it’s hard to be fully confident going into a season, given how the last couple of years have gone. Most of the defenders from last season have returned. These are the same guys that allowed 59 goals last season. So, the defense will be under the microscope throughout the year.

We can go all season without bringing in some new depth pieces and lose someone like Pavón to the transfer market. Not to mention possible injuries; we look very thin at center back and, up front, we have all our eggs in one basket with G-Charito. Can you imagine a starting lineup with no Pavón and Ethan Zubak starting? Ouch.

What if this defense doesn’t get it together? If Katai doesn’t produce, can anyone step up? What if the Chicharito experiment fails? If two of these three come to pass, with the Western Conference getting stronger, is it crazy to think the Galaxy slip and see us miss the playoffs again?

Chuy: The worst-case scenario for the Galaxy will be if two of their three DP slots fall to injury. We have seen it happen in years past and it does affect the team’s moral. Pavón and dos Santos are the players I feel must remain healthy and be the most consistent if we want to go past the first round of the playoffs. One of them going down to injury can cripple the Galaxy in ways we do not want to see.

Adrian: Unfortunately, this team won’t work without Pavón. He is our future MVP and if he goes down, we will be losing a lot of games. In the preseason, the team relied on him too much and it seems that if he isn’t running on all cylinders, we will struggle.

Bryant: The reality remains that there are still questions about the defense and that this is the first year the current offense will play together. The silver lining for the Galaxy is the central midfield, which is ramped up with the addition of a solid veteran in Kljestan, while retaining Lletget, Corona, and MY captain Jonathan dos Santos.

Edgar: Every team is weary of injuries to key players, but Galaxy is sickly weak without the services of a healthy Chicharito, Pavon or [insert midfielder here]. Also, good defenders in MLS are so hard to find, so keeping ours healthy is a must.

In addition to injuries, the inability to adjust as the season wears on could spell disaster for the Galaxy. Worse yet, if the defense is unable to coordinate as a unit, the highly touted Galaxy offense might not even get an opportunity to create chances.

A worst-case scenario sees the Galaxy stumbling all season, and eventually getting humiliated by Nashville and Dallas to close out an infuriating season of wasted opportunities.


Eddie: Winning multiple trophies in any league takes a deep bench and though the Galaxy have a decent starting 11 there are still plenty question about their depth. Many players coming off the bench this season are either Academy players or Los Dos players who might not exactly be ready for the senior level just yet.

With our current (healthy) squad, the Galaxy can have a decent season; I’d say third at best. It’s hard to see the Galaxy land in the top two because of our of lack of depth. There will have to be roster rotation throughout the season, which might lead to losses or ties due to the drop off in talent in most positions.

Even with our starters it’s easy to see them getting off to a slow start; there will be growing pains being with some newcomers. There are too many teams that got better in the off season, especially in the Western Conference. With a possible slow start and the defense still letting in some goals, it’s hard to see the Galaxy being favored to win any title this season. However, this is MLS. Getting hot at the right moment… Having a little luck with the playoff draw… Why not “imaginemos cosas chingonas?”

Chuy: When Pavón and Chicha mesh they will be the best duo in MLS—emphasis on when. Our season will start off rocky because of a new forward and because half of the defense is new. The language barrier is less of a thing now since most of the team speaks English, Spanish or both. Language will not be an issue this season for the Galaxy.

Adrian: The biggest issue for the Galaxy in 2020 will be timing—not team chemistry—but timing. Pavón has deceptive speed and a very unique flow to his game that makes him unpredictable to both opponents and teammates. However, once Chicha and Katai get their timing down, this team, as is, will win games.

I look forward to the team adding more pieces and finishing in the top four in the league, at least with more points than 2019.

Bryant: Overall, I don’t really expect the Galaxy to make that high of a jump in the standings since there are still questions about the back line. I predict we do better than last year and finish with the fourth seed and a home game in the playoffs, and getting to the conference finals, where the journey will end.

For optimal success, I believe the center mids are going to be key for the Galaxy’s success to raise that sixth cup. Our forwards will also be productive in not only scoring goals, but also notching multiple assists. Pavón should be in the range of 15 assists and 15 goals on the way to an MVP-caliber season. Chicharito will score 18-21 goals and have 5 assists. Katai will contribute 8-10 goals and 8-10 assists while being a MAJOR relief for the rest of the offense. The midfield should just be solid in maintaining the opposition pressed on their half of the pitch.

Edgar: The MLS season is a marathon and what works at the start won’t necessarily work by the end. The most successful teams in MLS haven’t just been consistent, they have been adaptable. But, to have that luxury you must first have a deep roster, which the Galaxy currently do not have—notably on offense. After Chicharito there is a steep drop in talent, which is why the team will rely heavily on Pavón and Katai to keep things interesting.

The defense is too thin for comfort, as well. GBS can throw as many bodies as possible back there, but without talented defenders, Bingham will be scrambling around, staring at his gloves and screaming at the grass. Up in the stands, we will all be screaming, too.

It would be nice if Christmas came early and te Kloese surprised us with some notable mid-season acquisitions. Anybody that could have the impact of Pavón would be huge!

Barring disaster, the Galaxy should finish third in the West. It’s almost inevitable that they will run into the Goats in the playoffs and it will be an opportunity to exact some revenge and serve up some birria tacos. An MLS Cup run? Not likely, but this season should be less frustrating than 2019.

No matter what, let’s have some fun along the way, throw down some cold ones, enjoy our time at the stadium, and—most importantly—keep on NAG’n!

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