With the start of the 2018 season fast approaching, the LA Galaxy are deep into the preseason grind. With two matches this week, let’s dive into some of the more interesting bits of information coming out of the five-time MLS Cup champions as they continue preparations for the regular-season opener March 4 against the Portland Timbers.
INJURIES TO LASSITER AND JAMIESON
There is good news and bad news on the injury front.
The good news is Ari Lassiter has returned to full training. The young forward has missed time with a leg/ankle injury that saw his exclusion from last Saturday’s game-day roster in the Galaxy’s 3-0 win over New York City FC.
Lassiter could be available for Thursday’s match against Fresno FC in Santa Barbara and possibly the following game on Saturday in Irvine against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The bad news is Bradford Jamieson, sidelined with an undisclosed injury, hasn’t worked out with the team since it departed for Tucson, Ariz., for a week of training on Jan. 28.
It is difficult to determine how long he will be missing from the lineup, but with a history of concussions (not saying that’s what he has), it’s always scary anytime he misses significant time.
Additionally, the Galaxy are thin at striker regardless of the injuries. It will be important to get both players back and training as soon as possible.
NWSL IN LOS ANGELES?
For years we’ve heard the Galaxy weren’t interested in a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise. When the LA Sol ceased operations in January of 2010, there was a feeling the women’s game simply would not work in Los Angeles. And with Anschutz Entertainment Group, along with Blue Star LLC, one of the major supporters of that group it was unlikely AEG officials were going to change their minds.
But the Galaxy surprisingly announced the creation of the first fully funded girls academy program by any team in Major League Soccer in October of 2016. And with that academy now completely functional, there appears to be some interest in finding a professional home for those 40 players once they graduate from the program.
Speaking to a source close to the team the answer to that possibility hasn’t turned into a firm “yes,” but in some ways the answer no longer is an unequivocal “no.”
Is this progress? Maybe. But it’s a rather significant financial commitment for the Galaxy, and one can assume they’re going to study it from every angle before they decide it’s time to pull the trigger on such a plan.
But a word of caution: in no way does this mean anything is imminent.
For now, 40 area girls are getting a soccer/school education that is fully paid by the Galaxy. They’re also getting instruction from the likes of former Galaxy standout Kevin Hartman, Matt Tutton, Sal Diaz, Diego Souza, Annie Alvarado and Rachel Schmid. And such tutelage never is a bad thing.
But if the Galaxy could feed those academy prospects into a future NWSL team, that would be quite an achievement.
For now, the girls academy program remains a uniquely cool community service. If it ended there, that would be a success.
But perhaps it won’t be the end of any future discussion.
SEASON TICKET DIP
The Galaxy are coming off their worst year in franchise history, one featuring an embarrassing 8-18-8 record and only three home victories.
It was the worst possible timing for the biggest disaster in the club’s existence. Season ticket holders and every-day fans understandably were upset with the results and, if social media was any indication, looked to migrate away from the club at a significant pace.
Add to that the presence of a new team opening up shop near the heart of downtown Los Angeles and the Galaxy had something to compete with regardless of last season’s debacle.
So what was the damage to the season ticket holders base now that LAFC is a viable option and the Galaxy didn’t hold up their end of the deal in 2017?
According to a source, the Galaxy will have approximately 7,500 season ticket members this season. That number is down from a year ago.
But how much it’s down, is a bit of a guessing game.
CoG estimated that the total season ticket members in 2017 was around 8,000. But a Sports Illustrated article claimed the Galaxy had 11,400 season ticket holders last year — a number which seems very, very high.
While a 500 member drop isn’t unexpected after what played out on the field, a 3,900 member drop would signal a bit of an exodus.
The Galaxy, as is their policy, don’t publicly release their numbers. But if the second scenario is true, the club has a serious problem on its hands that can’t simply be explained by poor results on the field.
We’ll update this post if new information becomes available.