The LA Galaxy finish at the bottom of the League for the first time in history. The loss to FC Dallas the least of their worries.
The 2017 season has come to a close. And with it comes the hopes of something better for the 2018 LA Galaxy. Because the 5-1 loss to FC Dallas on the final Sunday of the season showed all the shortcomings and problems with a team that was rarely competitive, and almost always disappointing throughout its 34 games.
Going into the match the Galaxy (8-18-8) needed a single point to entertain the possibility of not being dead last in the league. And with DC United losing to the New York Red Bulls and Colorado losing to the Seattle Sounders, that point would have been enough to secure a slightly elevated finish from the basement floor the Galaxy ultimately fell into.
And when a 2nd-minute corner kick taken by Romain Alessandrini found Galaxy defender Michael Ciani unmarked for his first goal as a member of the team, all seemed to point in that direction. Momentarily, the Galaxy were sitting 19th out of 22 teams.
The assist also meant that Alessandrini would finish the year with 13 goals and 12 assists and be the one shining example of success on a team that has otherwise exuded failure. This not only gives Alessandrini the Galaxy’s Golden Boot Award (most goals scored on the team) but also should make him a unanimous pick for Galaxy Player of the Year.
But Dallas (11-10-13) wouldn’t be kept down for long and didn’t seem to be worried by Alessandrini or anyone else on the Galaxy’s offense. In fact, the best the Galaxy would look all game would be within the first 10 minutes. Everything else went the way of the home team.
Starting in the 37th-minute, Dallas would answer with five straight goals. Roland Lamah would get the first to bring the score level, and Matt Hedges would score again just four minutes later. This was after another egregious mistake by Galaxy goalkeeper Clement Diop (He finishes 2017 with a team-high 2.10 GAA) — something that seems to happen on a regular basis.
Lamah would score his second goal of the night in the 49th-minute before Michael Barrios would put the fourth goal of the night behind Diop in the 68th-minute.
The final goal of the night for Dallas was a penalty kick converted by Mauro Diaz in the 73rd-minute after Diop was red carded for a horror tackle on Kellyn Acosta. The play was created by another of the many defensive breakdowns on the night, and it left Diop screaming towards the top of the box as Acosta was in behind. A studs-up challenge to Acosta’s right ankle was a clear indication of the ‘keepers frustration.
Diaz would bury the shot past substitute goalkeeper Brian Rowe who came on in the final 19 minutes without too much of an issue.
LA – Michael Ciani (Assisted by Romain Alessandrini) 2’
FCD – Roland Lamah (Assisted by Carlos Gruezo) 37’
FCD – Matt Hedges 41’
FCD – Roland Lamah (Assisted by Mauro Diaz) 49’
FCD – Michael Barrios (Assisted by Mauro Diaz) 68’
FCD – Mauro Diaz (penalty) 73’
The Galaxy looked tired and without a solid gameplan against Dallas all night. And Dallas looked like a team fighting for their playoff lives.
And, as the Galaxy have done many times throughout the season, their heads dropped, and their work ethics rotted away. Dallas, on the other hand, grew stronger.
And if it weren’t for a stoppage-time winner in the San Jose and Minnesota game, Dallas would’ve clinched a playoff spot. Instead, their offseason somehow started at the same time as the Galaxy’s – showing a cruel equality in an unequal game.
WORST TEAM IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
With the blow out loss, the Galaxy finally secured the Wooden Spoon – the made-up trophy that goes to the team in Major League Soccer who finishes last.
But that wasn’t the only history the Galaxy secured on the night. This 2017 club also set several franchise records they’d love to soon forget.
The 2017 team conceded the most goals in Galaxy history with 67. The previous worst was the 2008 club that allowed 62.
By only scoring 45 goals on the season – a fairly average take for Galaxy teams throughout their history – and allowing those franchise-record 67 goals – the 2017 teams goal differential ballooned to an enormous minus-22. That’s 12 more than the next worst goal differential of minus-10 by the 2007 club. This was only the fourth season in 22 that the Galaxy have finished with a negative goal differential.
This 2017 club also set franchise lows for wins at home — just three — and the fewest points at home (14 points). Making this season easily one of the hardest to watch for Galaxy supporters or neutral observers alike.
The 2017 Galaxy will also be the first team in franchise history to finish below 1.00 points per game (PPG). Their final PPG total of 0.94 is almost two-tenths of a point below their previous low of 1.10 PPG as set by the 2008 team. Their total point total of 32 points the worst ever in a season that had 34-games.
In fact, this 2017 team is the first Galaxy team in franchise history to finish a season with just 32 points. That’s regardless of the number of games played throughout the season (2003 – 36 pts, 30 GP; 2007 34 pts, 30 GP; 2008 33 pts, 30 GP). Somehow, setting a new record in futility.
The final result is that this 2017 team is the worst Galaxy team ever by franchise standards and they somehow managed to finish just outside the top 30 for fewest points per game of all time in Major League Soccer history.
It’s worth stating that in almost any other league the world the Galaxy would have been relegated to a lower division. For that fact alone, the Galaxy will be very thankful come next season.
A BAD TIME FOR A BAD SEASON
The 2017 offseason will be a long one. And the Galaxy have many questions to answer. Especially with regards to the so far untouched front office. When a team is as bad as the Galaxy, changes within the organization must be made quickly and correctly.
But decisions that were completed earlier this year will undoubtedly effect 2018. How much is anyone’s guess?
For now, the Galaxy will take a week off from the embarrassment of the season only to resume training at StubHub Center for the following three or four weeks — almost seems like some sort of punishment more than doing anything productive.
The bottom line is that the 2017 campaign was the worst in franchise history. In totality, so much ground was ceded in the race for the minds and hearts of those interested in Los Angeles soccer that simply outperforming the shiny new object entering the league in 2018, won’t be enough.
In a season that needed to be an overwhelming success, the opposite came true. A fact that can’t be erased or minimized by arrogantly proclaiming “we’re the LA Galaxy.”