MLS

The Fall Of LA Galaxy Coinciding With The Rise Of LAFC

Is it an untended coincidence or intentional destiny by football's local angels that LA Galaxy's decline is coinciding with LAFC's rise to prominence? (Photo courtesy LAFC)
The Fall Of LA Galaxy Coinciding With The Rise Of LAFC

In the timeless lexicon of the language known as English, the definition of the phrase “balance of power” is defined as “the power held by a small group when larger groups are of equal strength.” Translate that to the current state of affairs in the region known as Southern California, more specifically, the great city of Los Angeles, a metropolis known for producing competent talent in the sport of association football. Contrary to popular belief, the balance of power does not lie with the current team of record, the Los Angeles Galaxy, managed by Curt Onalfo.

Rather, it is the other way around.

They may not have a coach, but they have a confident team of shared ownership. They may not have played a single match, but they are lining up big names. Their ground is being built as we speak and is part of the massive Olympic project which they hope get the green light over Paris, France, later this year in the race for the 2024 edition of the Summer Olympics. And their second-division affiliate, the Orange County Soccer Club of Irvine, are outperforming their rivals, the LA Galaxy II, in the USL Western Conference (although off the pace set by San Antonio and Real Monarchs SLC), further adding leverage to their own brand and that of their parents.

They are NOT the second coming of Chivas USA. They are the Los Angeles Football Club (which we have written about here on The Stoppage Time), and they are on the rise.

 

Gone are the days where the Los Angeles Galaxy can boast that it has the form, the talent, the quality, to defend its own brand and name. In any team sport, a brand cannot be defended if it cannot play proper defense. As seen in their 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, the Galaxy are a very beatable side. No Robbie Keane, no Landon Donovan, no Bruce Arena, and that is just scratching the surface.

Only eight goals scored and 13 goals allowed for this year’s LA Galaxy side through seven matches.

When the likes of Atlanta United and Minnesota United (who have allowed 24 goals and have a goal differential of -11) are outperforming the Galaxy, you have a brand under attack through its own undoing. A brand that has the talent on paper to deliver on form but not the correct manager to draw that talent, utilize that talent properly on match days, establish form and help defend that exact brand that has won more league titles than any side in the competition. Even Vancouver Whitecaps (ninth placed in the West!) can beat this side on a game-to-game basis.

 

And defeat after defeat has the local fans asking questions and considering switching sides. The so-called bandwagon [sic] supporters are those may not be committed on allegiance but who have the cash to invest in the brand that they wish to watch because of the quality and talent they expect to see. Right now, the Galaxy are not delivering on quality, and talent. Even the new Galaxy Express shuttle service provided by Long Beach Transit may not be enough to entice the local consumers to watch the games if the losses continue to pile and change is not made to fix the glaring problems in their chemistry.

If the Galaxy continue on this path, if they continue this horrendous, surreal transformation into a shell of their past glories, into a literal black hole that is destined to swallow its own pride with reckless abandon and destroy the trust of the fans that stood by them for more than two decade, this is where LAFC must exercise their right to step in and fill the void left by their rivals, who are not rewarding their fans with the right results to complement their match day experience at StubHub Center.

 

Behold! Here is a team being built from the ground up—not unlike the Greater Western Sydney Football Club, the literal and figurative Giants of the Australian Football League (that’s their team name, too)—taking over the license left by the ill-fated Club Deportivo Chivas USA, making sure it builds steam with great responsibility so that come the 2018 Major League Soccer season it can be at least as successful as Atlanta, who are flying in their first year in the MLS Eastern Conference, outperforming D.C. United, New York City FC and even Toronto FC, the runners-up at last year’s MLS Cup and defending Eastern Conference champions. To do this, they are asking Javier Hernandez to take up the gold wings and fly down to the heart of Los Angeles.

But it’s not just Chicharito, or Wayne Rooney, or even the king of Swedish soccer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, that will help LAFC rise to overtake its rival as the team of record in LA in 2018. The Orange County SC players may be getting a call up to join the club. Scouts are busy finding young players with the skills and attributes to handles the rigors of playing in MLS.

 

“This league is different now than it was in version 1.0 and 2.0, and it is changing very quickly,” said Mr. John Thorrington, LAFC VP of Soccer Operations. “And we’re not just going to be part of the change, we’re going to be driving that change. The Galaxy has set a really high bar of success to date, which I think is great. I’d much rather have a high bar to seek. We see that bar of expectation and we raise our level accordingly. But we’re not looking back at MLS 1.0 or 2.0. Our owners would never have done this project if that was the case. This could never have been done five years ago. It never would’ve been financed.”

In the end, a team effort by all involved will be needed, as well as the right manager. (We’re looking at you, Bob Bradley. If you recall, Bradley did win an MLS Cup with the Chicago Fire and has ties with Thorrington, who played for him.) Meanwhile, over in the humble suburb of Carson, the Galaxy must be sensing the balance of power tipping northward from their base in Carson, across the highway known as the Interstate 110 to the danger zone taking the form of a construction site near the historic LA Memorial Coliseum. It’s coming hard, it’s coming fast, and it’s more aggressive than AS Monaco usurping Paris Saint-Germain as the club of record in France, even though (get this) they are not from France.

No one, absolutely no one should fault LA Galaxy fans from seeing the writing on the walls of the big city and surrounding suburbs and making a switch that could pay off starting next Spring. From the Valley to the South Bay, from the IE to the OC, from Victoria Street…to Figueroa Street, all of Southern California are slowly but surely witnessing a changing of the guard with every stumble, every bumble and every humble grumble that the Los Angeles Galaxy Football Club make.

The LA Galaxy are falling. The LAFC…are rising.

This is madness? On the contrary: This. Is. LA!

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MLS
@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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