LA Galaxy Profile
|Major Honours||CONCACAF Champions' Cup (1), MLS Cup (5), Supporters' Shield (4), U.S. Open Cup (2)|
Los Angeles Galaxy are one of the most successful Major League Soccer teams in history, having been around since the league's foundation.
They have won a record five MLS Cups while finishing as runners-up four times. They initially played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, but since 2003 have been based in Carson at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Throughout their history, the Galaxy have won titles and headlines by encouraging some of the biggest stars in world soccer to join the MLS.
They also had American Landon Donovan for the prime of his MLS career along with Cobi Jones.
The Galaxy reached the MLS Cup three times between 1996 and 2001, but lost on all three occasions. The Galaxy won the CONCACAF Champions League in 2000 under manager Sigi Schmid and finally won an MLS Cup in 2002.
They won another title under Steve Sampson in 2005 and also captured a second US Open Cup.
After coaching the US men's national team to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002 and the group stage in 2006, Bruce Arena was named Galaxy manager in 2008.
His side lost in the MLS Cup final in 2009 before winning three MLS Cups between 2011 and 2014.
Since Arena left in November 2016, the team has gone through three managers, one on an interim basis twice.
They will have a new leader heading into the 2021 season after missing the MLS Cup play-offs for the third time in four seasons.
The Sigi Schmid era
In their inaugural season coached by German Lothar Osiander, the Galaxy finished first in the Western Conference and fell to DC United in the MLS Cup final.
They made the play-offs again in 1997 and lost to the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas). Octavio Zambrano managed the team in 1998 as they lost in the semi-finals to the Chicago Fire.
German-born Sigi Schmid, who played at nearby UCLA and coached the Bruins to three NCAA Championships, became the Galaxy manager five games into the 1999 season.
The team went 17-9 after Schmid took over, and they won the Western Conference title. Schmid was named MLS Coach of the Year, but the Galaxy again fell to DC United in the MLS Cup final.
The 2000 MLS season resulted in a play-off loss to the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC), but the Galaxy did get their first major silverware with a CONCACAF Champions Cup win.
They defeated Honduran side CD Olimpia 3-2 in the final at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Ezra Hendrickson scored to tie the game 1-1 in the 36th minute before Cobi Jones put the Galaxy on top three minutes later.
With the game level at 2-2, Hendrickson scored the winning goal in the 78th minute. The title is the most recent for an MLS team in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The 2001 team, led by Jones, Luis 'El Matador' Hernandez and Mauricio Cienfuegos, won the Western Conference title once again. They lost in the MLS Cup final for a third time, though, a 2-1 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.
A month later, in the US Open Cup final, Danny Califf scored in extra time to give the Galaxy a 2-1 win over New England Revolution.
The 2002 season was the breakthrough one for Schmid and the Galaxy. They won the Supporters' Shield for the best regular season record and newcomer Carlos Ruiz was the league MVP.
The Galaxy beat Kansas City and Colorado in the play-offs and Ruiz scored the only goal of the MLS Cup final in the 113th minute at New England.
That goal not only earned Ruiz the MLS Cup MVP, but also gave the Galaxy their first title after three losses in the finals.
The 2003 season was a letdown, though, with the Galaxy's first-ever losing season as they didn't win a single away game. They still made the play-offs but lost in the first round.
The Galaxy were in first place at the 2004 MLS All-Star break, but five straight losses to start the second half of the season resulted in Schmid's dismissal. He finished with 79 wins in the regular season and won 16 games, lost seven and drew three in the play-offs.
The Galaxy replaced Schmid with former US national team coach Steve Sampson and after struggling initially, they found their form in the back half of the 2005 season.
They traded Ruiz to Dallas and signed Landon Donovan in the largest deal ever given to an American player in MLS. Donovan scored 12 goals and the Galaxy finished fourth in the Western Conference.
They won the US Open Cup against FC Dallas in September and upset the San Jose Earthquakes in the first round of the play-offs as Donovan scored twice.
He bagged two more goals in the Western Conference finals against Colorado Rapids. The Galaxy then faced the Revolution in the MLS Cup final again. Guillermo Ramirez scored the only goal of the game in the 107th minute as the Galaxy won their second title.
Former Galaxy defender and US national team player Alexi Lalas took over as team president for the 2006 season and fired Sampson halfway through the campaign.
Frank Yallop managed the team to little success for the next 16 months, although they did add English star David Beckham in July 2007.
The Galaxy missed the 2006 and 2007 play-offs before Dutch star Ruud Gullit took over. Despite a league-leading 20 goals from Donovan, the Galaxy missed the play-offs again in 2008 and both Lalas and Gullit were fired.
The Bruce Arena era
On August 18, 2008, former US national team and New York Red Bulls manager Bruce Arena was hired as the Galaxy's manager and general manager.
Arena signed Omar Gonzalez, brought in Donovan Ricketts as goalkeeper and reshaped a defense that had shipped 62 goals in 2008.
The Galaxy conceded half that number in 2009 and won the Western Conference regular season as Arena was named MLS Coach of the Year. The Galaxy made it to the MLS Cup final but lost 5-4 on penalties to Real Salt Lake.
In 2010, the Galaxy again finished top of the Western Conference standings but lost in the semi-finals of the play-offs.
They made up for this in 2011 with 19 wins in the regular season and another Supporters' Shield. They did not lose a competitive match at home all season and cruised through the play-offs.
The Home Depot Center in Carson hosted the final, and Donovan's goal in the 72nd minute was enough to beat Houston Dynamo.
The Galaxy struggled through the regular season in 2012, finishing fourth in the West, but they did make the play-offs. Robbie Keane scored 23 goals to fire them there.
The Galaxy then beat Vancouver in the first round and upset the top-seeded San Jose Earthquakes in the semi-finals. In the Western Conference finals, they knocked out the Seattle Sounders to reach another MLS Cup final.
In that game, Gonzalez, Donovan and Keane all scored in a 3-1 win over Houston as the Galaxy repeated their title-winning feat. Beckham left to return to Europe after the game, having bagged two titles in his six seasons with the Galaxy.
The Galaxy lost in the Conference semi-finals in 2013 and turned in another strong regular season in 2014, finishing second in the West.
They beat Real Salt Lake 5-0 in the home leg of the Conference semi-finals and advanced over Seattle on away goals in the Western Conference final.
In the MLS Cup final, a goal from Gyasi Zardes and a 111th-minute strike from Keane saw the Galaxy beat New England for a MLS-record fifth title.
Donovan retired after this, and the Galaxy replaced him with long-time Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard and Mexican star Giovani dos Santos.
The Galaxy couldn't defend their title, though, as they lost in the first round of the 2015 play-offs and fell in the Western Conference semi-finals in 2016. Arena left the team in November 2016 to return to the USA team, replacing Jurgen Klinsmann.
Since Arena left, the Galaxy have struggled despite bringing in big-name players. Curt Onalfo coached the team in 2017, but they missed the play-offs with an 11th-place finish in the West.
Onalfo didn't last the season as Schmid came back in July, but even that didn't help as the Galaxy still finished bottom.
In 2018, they signed Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Manchester United. He scored 22 goals, but the Galaxy again missed the play-offs.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto took over as coach in 2019, with Argentine Cristian Pavon added to the attack.
Zlatan scored 31 goals as the Galaxy made the play-offs. However, after beating Minnesota United in the first round, they lost to LAFC.
Zlatan left after the 2019 season and Mexican star Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez replaced him as the highest-paid player in the league.
However, the Galaxy crashed out of the MLS is Back Tournament in July, Schelotto was fired in October and the Galaxy missed the play-offs.
The Galaxy are involved in two major rivalries - the California Clasico and El Trafico.
The California Clasico with the San Jose Earthquakes has been in place since day one of MLS. The Interstate 5 rivalry started in 1996 and has been played more than 90 times, with the Galaxy leading the series.
The two sides have met in the play-offs 10 times, with LA winning five and drawing one. The Galaxy have four wins in the US Open Cup to the Earthquakes' one.
The Earthquakes beat the Galaxy in the 2001 MLS Cup final with future Galaxy star Landon Donovan scoring for San Jose.
El Trafico is the all-Los Angeles rivalry between the Galaxy and LAFC.
This began in 2018 when LAFC joined the MLS, with debutant Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring a hat-trick in the first game for a come-from-behind 4-3 Galaxy win.
The Galaxy didn't lose in the first five matches before LAFC knocked them out of the 2019 play-offs with a 5-3 win. The teams split four games in the 2020 season, with LAFC winning at the MLS is Back Tournament.
America's Galacticos - biggest signings
The Galaxy have brought in world superstars throughout their history.
With the designated player rule, they have signed Landon Donovan from Bayer Leverkusen, David Beckham from Real Madrid, Robbie Keane from Tottenham, Steven Gerrard from Liverpool, Giovani dos Santos from Valencia, Romain Alessandrini from Marseille, Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Manchester United, Cristian Pavon from Boca Juniors and Chicharito from Sevilla.
Among the US national team stars to play for the Galaxy are Donovan, Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Omar Gonzalez, Gyasi Zardes, Edson Buddle, Herculez Gomez, Sebastian Lletget and future star Julian Araujo.
Donovan holds the LA Galaxy scoring record with 141 goals, while Keane scored 104 goals.
Zlatan scored 53 goals in just 58 games and ranks fifth on the goals list behind Jones (82) and Carlos Ruiz (69).
Jones has played in the most MLS games in team history (306), while Donovan leads the team with 107 MLS assists.
Zlatan holds the single season record with 30 MLS goals, while Kevin Hartman holds the team record with 64 clean sheets while a member of the Galaxy. Overall, he has 112 MLS clean sheets.
LA Galaxy News
- Sep 20, 2021