End of the line - Seattle 3 Galaxy 2
Since 2009, the LA Galaxy have:
Won THREE MLS Cups
Appeared in FOUR MLS Cups
Appeared in FIVE Conference finals
But this year, they were eliminated in the knockout round. Since 2009, they had 6 straight runs to the conference semi-finals or beyond making this their earliest exit.
Teams on a great run are a tribute to the players, coaching staff, and upper management. It is very difficult hard to sustain as players get older, swapping in new players may or may not work out, everyone else is gunning for you and finally, sustaining a winning motivation is not easy to do season-after-season.
And so, it appears the Galaxy may have hit that point this season as they wobbled into the playoffs with a #5 seed and were booted out by long time rival Seattle Sounders.
As to the game itself, a very lively first half with the Galaxy getting many good opportunities cashing in two goals but missing others. But they also gifted Seattle two goals. In the second half, it was clear both teams were tiring in the rainy cold conditions and because of the end-to-end play of the first half. But Seattle had the extra bit of fuel in the tank (see the possession chart favoring Seattle in the 2nd half) and put the pressure on and it was just a matter of time when something would break.
Indeed, it wasn't even all that dangerous an attack but two failed clearances by the Galaxy defenders gave the Sounders the opening to shut the door on the Galaxy's chances to make another MLS Cup run.
The brain trust at the Galaxy will need to look long and hard at the club and make some personnel decisions.
Is Brian Rowe ready to be the #1 goalkeeper or will they need to look elsewhere since Ricketts is done?
Will changes be made to the defensive backline of AJ, Gonzalez, Leonard, Rogers?
Zardes and Lletget will probably draw interest from Europe so how does the Galaxy juggle the salary cap for their non-designated players?
How best to utilize Gerrard who no longer appears able to play a full 90 minutes?
Here is some end-of-the-line analysis from LAG, LAT, MLS, and ESPNFC.