The Galaxy’s 2020 season might as well have ended as soon as Julian Araujo picked up a red card in the 41st minute against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sunday.
The Galaxy already trailed a goal, and in two minutes allowed a second goal on the way to a 3-0 defeat, closing the chapter on another disappointing season for the proud franchise.
This is the third season in the last four that the Galaxy has missed the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Galaxy finished the regular season 6-11-5 with 22 points. The Galaxy hasn’t finished first in the Western Conference since 2011 and hasn’t won MLS Cup since 2014.
“The league is evolving as we know,” said Dominic Kinnear, who served as interim coach for the final three games of the regular season. “I think the players that are here have to hold themselves to a very high standard, which I think they do.
“But I think when you look back at the season, for the group that comes back (next season), it has to be understood that what has happened this year is well below standard. This team should not be below the playoff line even when MLS is adding teams to the playoff picture. Everyone should be disappointed. If anybody walks away and thinks the season was a good one for them, I think they’d be mistaken. And then it’s important for us as a group, for the technical staff, to look at the roster and try to improve upon that. There needs to be improvements in a lot of positions.”
Kinnear replaced Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who was fired Oct. 29, despite having one year remaining on his contract.
Since Bruce Arena left following the 2016 season, the Galaxy has had a revolving door of coaches from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid to Kinnear to Schletto and back to Kinnear.
When Dennis te Kloese was brought in as General Manager, the thought was that maybe the move signified stability was on the horizon.
Now, the off-season will bring in another coach, with another set of ideas as the Galaxy again try to get things right.
“In terms of the club, I think very important,” Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan said of the off-season. “I think there are going to be big decisions that are going to be made, whether that’s about players or the next coach and things like that. So, we have to get it right. This club has very high standards for itself, they have set those standards over the 25 years of the league and being the most successful team in MLS history.
“We have to hold ourselves to be very accountable and have those high standards. Going forward we all want to be a part of winning teams and we want to bring championships back to Southern California. We have to challenge ourselves to get this right.”
Former Mexican national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who also coached in MLS, has been linked with the Galaxy job, along with former Mexican coach Javier Aguirre and current America coach Miguel Herrera.
The club could also look around MLS for its new coach or it could stick with Kinnear, one of the winningest coaches in MLS history.
“I think the guys responded very well to how Dom (Kinnear) wants to set up the team. I think he seriously has to be considered for the role,” Galaxy midfielder Perry Kitchen said. “He’s a great coach, he’s a great guy so again that’s up to the leadership but he definitely had control of the locker room and the guys respect him very much. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Then the next step will be rounding out the roster. Major League Soccer doesn’t do a good enough job on contract status of its players. There will be some players who are out of contract, who most certainly might be brought back.
The biggest task for the new coach will be getting Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez back on track. The high-priced Hernandez scored just two goals with the Galaxy and recently has admitted his struggles and failure to deliver during his first season.
“Yeah, I had a pretty bad season,” Hernandez said following the Nov. 4 1-1 draw against Seattle. “I even told (former coach) Guillermo (Barros Schelotto) before he left that I was sorry with him because I couldn’t give him my best.
“I want to take this opportunity as well and say sorry to all my fans and sorry to all the Galaxy fans and I say sorry to this lovely and the best institution of this country, that this was a bad season for me,” he said. “I didn’t give them my best, but I wanted to show at least in these last games that that’s what I can give, and I want that. I want to give that, because you deserve better, I deserve better, everyone deserves better in this club.”