Supporters are ready to shake off a bad 2017 because 2018 is coming together for the LA Galaxy!
LOS ANGELES – A crowd estimated at more than 1,500 LA Galaxy fans and boosters packed L.A. Live on Sunday to not only see the team’s new primary jersey reveal but express their unshaken optimism for the five-time MLS Cup champions.
The Galaxy are coming off a forgettable 2017 season in which they finished last in Major League Soccer and allowed a franchise-record 67 goals. That prompted head coach Sigi Schmid, who took over for Curt Onalfo during the regular season, to overhaul the roster. Eleven new players, including potentially seven new starters, will be on hand Monday when the team opens training camp at StubHub Center.
The disappointing season, followed by a dramatic makeover, apparently hasn’t dimmed the collective enthusiasm of the Galaxy faithful.
“I think our team will be strong,” said Long Beach’s Hugo Funes, a season ticket holder since the Galaxy’s inaugural season in 1996. “A playoff team once again.
“For sure, this year we’ll be better. Now that the other Los Angeles team (LAFC) is here, we really have to represent who we really are.”
Funes said there were several reasons he had such high hopes for this year’s edition of the Galaxy.
“I feel with the return of (Sebastian) Lletget” – from a foot injury and subsequent surgery that limited him to just three appearances a year ago – “and now that we have (Ola) Kamara, (Romain) Alessandrini, Gio (dos Santos) and Jonathan (dos Santos), the team looks pretty solid.
“I’m not saying we’re going to jump into MLS Cup, but we’ll definitely give it a fight and be one of the top teams in MLS this year.”
His brother Edwin looked at it another way.
“It can’t get much worse,” he said with a laugh. “That’s what everyone is expecting.”
Rolling Hills’ Paul and Marcela Apodaca became new season ticket holders this season and said they used to closely follow the team when it played at the Rose Bowl.
“But we’re empty nesters,” he pointed out, “the kids are gone and we went to about 10 games last season.”
He and his wife said they were confident the Galaxy’s new look will make a difference this season.
“Given the changes,” he said, “we thought we’d make an investment this year. It’s nice to see Sigi involved in the team; that was important to me.”
Eagle Rock’s Jeff Goldstein, another season ticket holder since 1996, said he approved the team’s flurry of changes with one exception.
“Perhaps it would have been really nice if we could pick up a marquis name, someone who can sell some jerseys,” he said, “but other than that I definitely see a much-improved product.
“I can’t see any way that we don’t turn it around. I don’t think we go from worst to first, but I definitely see us being mid- to top of the table in the conference.
“If they can add another piece or two, who knows?”
Riverside’s Mark Tatum, entering his seventh season as a ticket holder, said the roster overhaul not only was much-needed but necessary.
“I think they (changes) had to be made,” he said. “I would give them a good, solid ‘B’. Could they have done more things? Yes, but I’m pleased with what they’re doing.”
Jeff Reiman of Long Beach said he is optimistic for a turnaround but chose to take a more cautious approach.
“I feel as though I’m guarded because of last season,” he said. “I felt at the beginning of last season there was hope. I thought we had potential to do something special at times but it just didn’t happen.
“I’m a little guarded, but I really feel we have the pieces in place to do something and keep moving forward.”