Carson, CA (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Galaxy will be looking to make
Major League Soccer history in 2013.
Los Angeles became just the third club to earn back-to-back MLS Cup titles
after claiming its fourth championship in 2011 and following it up with more
silverware in 2012.
But with a new season on the horizon, the Galaxy will try to accomplish what
D.C. United and the Houston Dynamo could not in 1998 and 2008, respectively:
Win a third successive league title.
The bulk of the team remains unchanged from last season, save for a couple of
The biggest component missing is undoubtedly David Beckham. The English
superstar brought his tenure in L.A. to a close by announcing that MLS Cup
would be his final match with the Galaxy. He was able to make it a Hollywood
ending as he put an exclamation point on an influential five-and-a-half-year
stint with the club with a virtuoso performance in the title match, which Los
Angeles won, 3-1.
Edson Buddle also departed, getting dealt to the Colorado Rapids in exchange
for allocation money and a first-round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. It was
Buddle's second stint with the Galaxy, but he was unable to match the glowing
success he endured the first time around as he was overshadowed by Robbie
Keane in 2012.
Last term marked Keane's first full season with the club, and the offseason
appeared to pay major dividends. The Irishman led the Galaxy in scoring in
2012 with 16 goals, but his nine assists displayed his ability to set up his
It will be interesting to see how Keane is able to perform in the coming
season without the supreme service that Beckham provides on crosses and set-
Making matters worse for Keane and the rest of the Galaxy will be the absence
of Landon Donovan at the start of the season.
In the midst of an extended leave of absence to recuperate from a lengthy MLS
and U.S. national team season, Donovan announced recently that he will return
to training with his Galaxy teammates at the end of March.
"After a series of collaborative discussions between Landon, his
representative and our key club leaders, we have agreed to allow Landon to
remain on an extended leave of absence and return to training with the team
during the final week of March," Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce
Arena said. "We understand this arrangement is not ideal, but we are confident
it will allow Landon the time he needs to be both mentally and physically
prepared for the upcoming season. We remain focused on our preparation for the
start of the 2013 season and look forward to Landon rejoining us next month."
It could be a pivotal absence for the Galaxy, but the organization is well-
aware that no silverware is handed out in the first two months of the season.
Just look to their 2012 campaign as proof.
2012 in Review: The Galaxy epitomized the cliche "It's not how you start but
how you finish." Los Angeles began the season with a 3-8-2 record through its
first 13 league games, a stunningly slow start from the 2011 MLS Cup
champions. But the team's experience ultimately kicked in and the Galaxy
righted the ship to comfortably finish the regular season fourth in the
Western Conference with 54 points, 11 points clear of the fifth-place
Vancouver Whitecaps and 15 points clear of sixth-place FC Dallas. Los Angeles
hit its stride at the right time and got past the Whitecaps, the San Jose
Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders FC in the playoffs to seal a rematch of the
2011 MLS Cup against the Houston Dynamo. The Galaxy fell behind just before
halftime in the title match but stormed back to repeat as champions in a 3-1
win, sending Beckham in story book fashion.
Additions: Colin Clark (M), Carlo Cudicini (GK).
Losses: Chad Barrett (F), David Beckham (M), Edson Buddle (F), Christian
OUTLOOK: The Galaxy look quite content to implement the same formula that
netted them a championship last season. With Donovan set to miss the beginning
of the season, a slow start seems inevitable. But there is an undeniable level
of quality within the Los Angeles squad and the team should qualify for the
postseason with ease. And having gone through two straight title runs, the
Galaxy's experience tells you that they will know how to turn it on when it
matters most. They could very well make MLS history this year with the
league's first three-peat.
The Sports Network