It was another loss for the LA Galaxy on Sunday as they fell 3-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes. It was also another game that saw some form of the “bad luck,” and another injury that will have a huge effect on the off-season plans of the club. Let’s go over some of the storylines that have appeared over the last week and get you updated on the team.
PELE VAN ANHOLT
Pele van Anholt was the player who could finally put the Galaxy’s problems at right-back to rest. Signed on July 12, 2017, to replace the injured and likely-to-never-play-soccer-again Robbie Rogers (speculation only), Van Anholt was a quiet 26-year old who was doing a good job mixing into the squad.
But all that changed when Van Anholt crumpled, under little contact, after just 26-minutes of play on Sunday. He had to be carried off the field and rolled out of the stadium on a stretcher
After the game, Head Coach Sigi Schmidt relayed that Van Anholt would undergo an MRI the next day (Monday) on his right knee.
The results of the MRI couldn’t have been worse. According to LA Times Soccer Reporter Kevin Baxter, Van Anholt has torn his ACL and his MCL. And currently, the club doesn’t expect him to be ready to come back until late next spring.
#LAGalaxy right back Pele van Anholt has torn ACL and MCL, team says. Is out prob until late next spring
— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) August 28, 2017
Van Anholt was originally on a six-month contract with a club option for an additional year. Speaking to someone close to the team before the injury, the Galaxy were very impressed with him, and they were expecting, at the end of the year, to exercise that option.
But with the injury, and the expected recovery time, it would probably be best that the Galaxy cut him loose after his current contract is up. They will still pay for the players medical costs during the recovery, but it wouldn’t make any sense to tie up the cap space for 2018 in a rehab project that has no known outcome and be short a player for the start of next season.
Dominic Kinnear has joined the LA Galaxy coaching staff and will become an Assistant Coach to Sigi Schmid.
A two-time MLS Cup Winning coach, Kinnear joins the Galaxy staff after being dismissed earlier in the year from the San Jose Earthquakes.
“Dominic’s resume speaks for itself as one of the most successful coaches in MLS history,” said Schmid in a club press release. “He is a successful and experienced coach who will provide a great deal of value to our staff and our players. He is highly regarded throughout our league and we are thrilled to add both a coach and person of his caliber to this group.”
It certainly will remind Galaxy fans of the partnership between Bruce Arena and Dave Sarachan. But the dynamics of this are a little more unknown. With many people already speculating that Kinnear could be a “coach in waiting.”
Does Schmid even stay past this season?
Kinnear put some of those theories to rest as he spoke to reporters after his first Galaxy training. “We’ve had discussions over the years about possibly working together. We talked about it. I just asked him [Schmid] if there was a possibility of staying on for more than the rest of the season, I would entertain that and I’d want to do that.”
So it seems that Schmid and Kinnear may have a longer term plan in place after all.
The bottom line, as one fan told me, is that the Galaxy have gone from what seemed to be one of the most inexperienced coaching staffs to one of the most experienced coaching staffs. And experience, in this league or any league in the world, is never a bad thing.
DOS SANTOS X 2 AND DIOP TOO
They will face off against Panama on Friday, September 1, 2017, in Mexico City and then travel to Costa Rica to take on the Ticos on Tuesday, September 5.
Clement Diop will also depart for Internation duty as he’ll join Senegal in their World Cup Qualifiers against Burkina Faso.
All three players will miss the Galaxy’s September 2, 2017, home game against the Colorado Rapids.
The Rapids are the only team standing in the way of the Galaxy being the worst team in Major League Soccer.
NATHAN SMITH AND A RED CARD
Nathan Smith appeared in his 11th game of the season on Sunday afternoon after Pele van Anholt came off with an injury. But his appearance was short-lived. He was ejected after playing just 31-minutes on a very contentious red card call by Head Referee Chris Penso.
The 57th-minute foul was on the Earthquakes’ Andrés Imperiale who was taken down from behind after Smith’s left foot just missed the ball. The right foot carried through and cleaned out Imperiale.
Was it a foul? Absolutely! Was it done with any particular malice or did it endanger the safety of the player? That would be a stretch. But apparently, Penso thought it was a red card and so did the VAR official, Baldomero Toledo.
Even though no official review was made, every red card is reviewed. So Toledo took a look at it and decided there wasn’t a “clear and obvious error” made by Penso. So no stoppage of play was made and no official review took place.
If you were at the stadium you could see and hear Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid yelling at Penso to ask where the review was. Penso just stared back at the coach.
Almost laughably, Smith was only able to stay on the field for 31 minutes. He’s going to need to last longer next time.
For the game against Colorado, expect Bradley Diallo to play at right-back as Ashley Cole returns from suspension (another dubious red card call with a bad VAR review) to take up his role at left-back and reclaim the captain’s armband.
More musical chairs for the Galaxy’s defense.
BRIAN ROWE AND JON KEMPIN
Brian Rowe is not injured. He took part in training last Saturday and to CoG’s knowledge continues to take part in training.
But for the last two games, Schmid has chosen Jon Kempin as the starter and Clement Diop as his backup on the bench.
Rowe has been left off the 18-man roster on purpose – a “coaches decision.”
It’s an interesting road to start the season with Rowe, suddenly switch to Diop, flutter back and forth between Diop and Rowe, and somehow end up at Kempin.
But seems like the right choice, at the moment.
Kempin has given up five goals in two games, but no one is blaming him. In fact, they’re praising him for keeping this struggling club in games. He saved two penalty kicks against Columbus, and made eight saves against the Earthquakes – both games the Galaxy played shorthanded.
“I want to play,” Kempin told reporters after Sunday’s game. “We have three great goalkeepers here and we’re challenging each other. If Sigi chooses me every week, great. I want to play. I also want to win. If whoever plays gets the job done, our luck will turn.”
But the question remains, what happened to Rowe – a guy who was statistically a top three goalkeeper in 2016?
Right now, Rowe is on the outside looking in and it wouldn’t surprise us at all if he and the Galaxy part ways in the offseason. And, in our opinion, he has no one on the club advocating for him right now.
The LA Galaxy are on a 354-minute scoreless streak. Emmanuel Boateng scored their last goal against the Portland Timbers in the 6th-minute of that defeat back at the beginning of the month.
The club is on a ten-game winless streak in MLS play, and they haven’t won at home since April 7, 2017 – also ten games.
The last goals the club scored at home were back on July 4, 2017, in a 6-2 loss to Real Salt Lake.
Romain Alessandrini, the Galaxy’s leading goalscorer (8 goals), hasn’t put the ball in the back of the net since a June 21, 2017, penalty kick in the team’s last win (a 3-1 victory over Colorado).
Giovani dos Santos isn’t helping much either. He’s been scoreless since putting two in the back of the net in the Galaxy’s 4-2 win over the Earthquakes on May 27, 2017.
And as much as reporters and fans have been picking on Gyasi Zardes, his numbers are staggering.
Zardes’ scoreless streak currently stands at 1,529 minutes, 18 games, and 371 days since his last goal.
Everyone is aware of the injury he suffered, and that the pieces around him aren’t helping, but no one could have predicted the way this season has turned out for Zardes. It’s a bad situation for everyone involved.
But this season isn’t about Zardes not scoring, it’s about the entire team not scoring. And more importantly, it’s about the offense not scoring.
Since June 24, 2017, a 2-1 loss to Sporting KC, the Galaxy have scored eight goals. Four of those goals have been scored by defenders (Dave Romney, Ashley Cole, and Daniel Steres). Only one goal has been scored by a striker (Lassiter).
And to really put things in perspective, Daniel Steres is the Galaxy’s leading goal scorer in the last ten games.
To put it mildly, that’s not good. But nothing during this season has been good.