Los Angeles – After a disastrous 11-year tenure that includes missing the postseason in four of the last six years, a last-placed finish in 2017, league-imposed fines and sanctions, and fan protests, Los Angeles Galaxy supporters can finally rejoice after the Galaxy announced on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, that they’d terminated their embattled president. The Galaxy fired Chris Klein while suffering through the worst start in club history. They’ve only managed two wins all season, yet Tuesday’s press release will feel like winning MLS Cup to Galaxy supporters after Klein’s ouster culminates an almost five-month-long fan protest. Here’s what it might mean for the Galaxy and Galaxy fans after Chris Klein’s firing.
Three Thoughts After LA Galaxy Fire Chris Klein
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 30, 2023
No More Klein Excuse
“As a club, we have not achieved our goals or met the standard that we have established for the LA Galaxy,” AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman said in a bombshell press release announcing Klein’s removal. And yes, Klein is responsible for much of LA’s current ills, but anyone who thought, “Everything will be better once the Galaxy fire Chris Klein,” might be in for a rude awakening. This is a team that has only scored 10 goals in 14 games. Don’t expect the Galaxy to look like Real Madrid tomorrow. Sure, the team might get a bump in form, but there’s only so far that emotion can carry you.
So, it’s all on Greg Vanney and the players now. They can no longer blame “noise” or anything happening off the field for lackluster displays on the pitch like their recent 1-0 loss at home to Charlotte FC. Vanney, in particular, will be under the spotlight. He is now the second in charge in LA after the club announced he will now report directly to Beckerman. Recent arrival Will Kuntz, will continue in his role as senior vice president of player personnel and report to Vanney.
But no matter what happens in the boardroom, results on the field still matter most. And the Galaxy is still in last place on nine points. It is now up to Vanney to pick the right team and the players to execute. Their Designated Players are struggling, but they must find goals and leadership elsewhere. If not, Klein will just seem like a convenient excuse for an underperforming team.
Regardless of what’s happening behind the scenes, players still have to perform. Manager has to prepare them for that. Yes the Klein thing is unacceptable, but it’s also now being overly used as an excuse for poor results.
— Sophie Nicolaou (@soccerdiva) May 28, 2023
The Dog Days Are Over!
Of course, fans are ecstatic over the Klein firing but also want the Galaxy to perform on the field. They’ll make sure to do their part in making sure the Galaxy plays well by returning to the stands effective immediately. While a section of the supporter group, Angel City Brigade, returned in late April, the remaining groups have not attended a home match since October 15, 2022, when the Galaxy beat Nashville in the playoffs.
After a successful end to their “Klein out” boycott, they’ll show their support in person for the Galaxy for the first time this season since the protest was announced in January. After LA Times reporter Kevin Baxter reported another Klein job contract extension, supporters had seen enough. They banded together, and lamentably, but necessarily, forcibly deprived themselves of showing their support at Galaxy games. The hashtag #kleinout gained international recognition and the state of the team was on full display for the soccer world. No matter how bad things got for the Galaxy, though, Klein seemed bulletproof.
But their movement is proof that boycotts work. After 11 years, various coaches, numerous rebuilds, flagging attendance, and poor on-field results, the Klein out protest was the silver bullet. And now LA Galaxy supporters have their club back.
Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back
As mentioned above, problems still exist for the Galaxy, although Klein is gone. Captain Javier “Chicharito” Hernández has as many goals as red cards after picking up the first of his career against Charlotte. Fellow DP, Riqui Puig, isn’t far behind, by having picked up six yellow cards and one red card so far this season. But Douglas Costa is the overachiever for indiscipline here. Despite only having played in four games this season, he already has a red card. His football-style tackle for that expulsion was such that fans called for him to never wear the Galaxy jersey again. And even though Vanney claimed Costa showed contrition for his actions, his latest indiscretions are hard to defend.
On the day Galaxy fans would be celebrating Klein’s sacking, reports broke from Costa’s native Brazil that an arrest warrant had been issued for Costa for non-payment of alimony. He can outrun playing and performing well for the Galaxy, but Costa won’t be able to evade the law in Brazil for long. If the Galaxy can somehow find a way to cut ties with Costa after this latest embarrassment, it would be the second big win for Galaxy fans in a week after Klein’s firing.
Media reports in Brazil say an arrest warrant has been issued for @LAGalaxy DP Douglas Costa for non-payment of alimony. Costa, who is guaranteed $4.5 million this season, is the 7th-best paid player in @MLS but has more red cards than goals or assists, having played 106 minutes.
— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) May 30, 2023
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