Tom Sweezy - MLS Aces
·1 November 2023
Tom Sweezy - MLS Aces
·1 November 2023
Arguably the most historic club within Major League Soccer’s history, the Los Angeles Galaxy have been far from their old selves in recent years. To be fair to them, the 2023 campaign did have some major injuries; Chicharito, Gaston Brugman, and Martin Caceres. There were also major stretches where this did not have Jonathan Bond, Lucas Calegari, Jalen Neal, and Douglas Costa. With some changes to the front office, no more transfer restrictions, and still arguably one of the best managers in MLS… this team has a major opportunity to turn their modern day run around. Let’s take a look at the current formation of the 2023 roster for the Los Angeles Galaxy:Designated Players: Striker - Chicharito, Winger - Douglas Costa, & Central Midfielder Riqui Puig
U22 Initiative Players: Striker - Dejan Joveljic, Leftback - Julian Aude, & Rightback - Lucas Calegari
There is A LOT of potential movement for the players listed above for the Galaxy heading into next year. One “non-potential” is winger Douglas Costa. Costa has announced that he is not returning to Los Angeles in 2024, freeing up a Designated Player spot. The other “non-potentials” are Riqui Puig, Dejan Joveljic, and Julian Aude who are all secured to be on the roster next year. Now, let’s look at those potentials and start with Chicharito. His future with the club, especially after a long term injury in 2023 is definitely up in the air. For a 35 year old striker, how much can you expect from him next year? Especially at the DP level? If I am Vanney and this Galaxy front office, I am moving on from Chicharito and building my new DP core around Puig. Finally, there are some question marks around Lucas Calegari. The talented young right-back was on loan last season from Fluminense and after a season ending injury, the Galaxy are going to have to make a big decision on if they sign him on a full deal. If Im the Galaxy, I think he impressed more than enough to bring him on a full deal and have him be the starting right-back moving forward.
Now, let’s take a look at the club’s potential upcoming players leaving:
Player With A 1 Year Club Option Post 2023 Season: Defensive Midfielder - Uri Rosell, Centerback - Tony Alfaro, & Rightback - Kelvin Leerdam
Out Of Contract Players: Winger - Michael Barrios
I am going to keep this paragraph sweet and simple for you all reading this… the only player I’d return to this club from the group above is Kelvin Leerdam. Leerdam brings you some MLS veteran experience as well as depth at both the right-back and centerback positions. The right-back experience is the one that I am focused on, especially if the club decides to not bring back Lucas Calegari as I listed out above.
What does this 2024 team look like?
Greg Vanney is a top tier manager. Players want to come play for this man AND the city of Los Angeles still has to be an attractive pull to players to come to. This team can really look more like their 2022 squad rather than their 2023 squad if things this off-season click. If we are going to assume Vanney wants to go back to his 4-3-3 formation, here is how I think he could best line-up in 2024:Left Wing: *Sign a DP level winger*
Striker: Dejan Joveljic
Right Wing: *Sign a DP level winger*
Central Midfielder: Riqui Puig
Central Midfielder: Marky Delgado
Defensive Midfielder: Gaston Brugman
Left-Back: Raheem Edwards
Centerback: Maya Yoshida
Centerback: Jalen Neal
Right-Back: Lucas Calegari (Sign this man!)
Goalkeeper: Jonathan Bond
Bench: Jonathan Klinsmann, Julian Aude, Martin Caceres, Edwin Cerrillo, Diego Fagundez, Tyler Boyd, *Sign striker*
Obviously, this isn’t the same starting XI and bench that you can go into every single 2024 match with. Injuries happen, suspensions happen, shit happens… but, this is a rough idea of the “best” 18 in my eyes. But let’s take this positional group by positional group. In the attack, I believe in the talent and ability of Dejan Joveljic at striker. If you don’t re-sign Chicharito, I think pairing him with two DP level wingers could make this attack filthy in 2024. But there is an issue here for LA, their recent history of DP signings hasn’t always been the best. Look… it’s Los Angeles, the DP signings need to be; big names, flashy, and one that is going to get fans excited. I think the Galaxy could do that AND also bring in production. I’d love to see them sign a Jesse Lindgard type, but the conversation needs to also be had around the fact that maybe the Galaxy should go after a Denis Bounanga type DP. You pair that potential starting front three with Diego Fagundez, Tyler Boyd, and a striker depth piece and I think this attack could be a ton of fun.
The midfield is a group that I think is more set than the attack right now. Ideally, the starting midfield three is Puig, Delgado, and Brugman. Your true creative piece, your box to box/energy type player, and then your defensive stallworth. I think on the bench, adding an Edwin Cerrillo that could be a spot starter is also great to have on this current roster. My only thing I’d change if I am Vanney right now is another central midfield addition. Could I have a little fun here? Maybe bring Latif Blessing back to Los Angeles… just in some different colors.
On the backline the LA Galaxy have a great mix of youth and experience. You have experience in players like Maya Yoshida, Martin Caceres, Raheem Edwards, Chris Mavinga, and a few others. Then, on the youth side you have Jalen Neal, Julian Aude, Lucas Calegari, and Mauricio Cuevas. I love this mix. If you can keep this backline healthy for the most part in 2024… the LA Galaxy should have defensive success. Especially with the likes of Jonathan Bond in net.
The LA Galaxy could be a good to very good team in 2024. When I look at this, the base is there for success. Vanney and this Los Angeles Galaxy front office NEED TO GET THEIR TWO POTENTIAL DP SPOTS RIGHT!!! If they do, the Galaxy could take home a trophy next year. If they don’t? Well, we saw that clear as day in 2023.