Editorial (February 26, 2019) – So the 2019 MLS regular season starts in four days. You may have noticed I haven’t done my LA Galaxy season preview, as I’m still waiting for them to figure out their DP math. Then Ola Kamara and his representatives said “hold our metaphorical beers.” Now the last week of the LA Galaxy’s preseason has become a mess and who knows how they’re going to figure this all out.
Ola Kamara Gate: The last few days of the LA Galaxy preseason have become a mess
So apparently Galaxy forward Ola Kamara has been asking for a new contract that would involve a raise, just as the season was about to kick off. The Galaxy couldn’t make things work and now he’s being sold to China. The Galaxy released a statement from General Manager Dennis te Kloese:
“Ola has expressed to us his intention to pursue opportunities elsewhere and we have identified an option that would greatly benefit our club financially. We believe that this decision was needed to improve and balance our roster while granting Ola’s request. The transfer would allow us to achieve the best solution for addressing our needs both now and in the future.”
Te Kloese’s statement indicates that the Galaxy probably made a profit on Kamara, who they acquired this year. While that may be good asset management in the long term, the timing of this is horrible.
A thinning striker core:
The Galaxy were relatively thin at striker with Kamara and star Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to start almost every game. The only other forwards on the Galaxy’s roster right now are Giovani dos Santos (more on that later), the loaned out Bradford Jamieson IV, and Chris Pontius. Emma Boateng and perhaps Romain Alessandrini could play underneath Ibrahimovic as well.
They have much less than a week to get an equivalent replacement to start the season. Galaxy supporters will liken this to the departure of the recently retired Jaime Penedo. General MLS fans will remember Obafemi Martins‘ out-of-nowhere departure from Seattle Sounders FC.
Kamara wasn’t being played in his best role as second striker, but the Galaxy just got worse offensively and short of Ibrahimovic going Super Saiyan, it’s unclear how the Galaxy offense will be as good without Kamara until the summer.
So about those three DPs:
While that Galaxy’s front office and coaching staff got much better, their off-season grade is still an incomplete. In signing Ibrahimovic to a contract extension and making him a DP (which was absolutely deserved), they then had four DPs on the books for 2019. And something had to change.
First it was Romain Alessandrini transferring. Then it was Giovanni dos Santos transferring or getting bought out. Then it was Dos Santos is restructuring his contract to make him a TAM player.
The Galaxy brass is making it seem like they have an answer and the four DPs are aware of their decision. It’s not clear on the outside what the answer is or if it’ll be a good thing.
As much as MLS has massaged the rules for the Galaxy in the past, I can’t see them adding a fourth DP slot the week before the season started. MLS fans and front office officials would be up in arms. Having sold Miguel Almiron in January, Atlanta United FC would have a riot.
I don’t see how spreading Gio’s guaranteed compensation over several years just to not lose Alessandrini is a net positive. It’d be a TAM sinkhole for years to come, especially when buying Dos Santos out seemed like an option ownership was considering.
Who knows how any of the above is going to get sorted out, but this can’t be good for Guillermo Barros Schelotto and company as they prepare for the home opener on Saturday.