Galaxy facing key decisions as 2023 roster takes shape

The Galaxy opened training camp this week to kick off the third season under coach Greg Vanney.

Where there is some stability on the roster, there is still some work to do before the 2023 season kicks off Feb. 25.

“It’s nice because we all know how we want to play, we know what the expectations are from Greg,” Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond said Friday. “There was high turnover of players, especially in the first year, kind of again in the second year as well.

“There’s always ins and out, but this season, hopefully, not as many and it is more of a settled group, so it’s kind of more stable this preseason and hopefully it sets us up for a good season.”

The Galaxy are still waiting for two late arrivals to camp in midfielders Douglas Costa and Samuel Grandsir.

Vanney said Costa, who has been in Brazil, is “on his way back.” There have been reports that Costa was also in discussions for a move to Brazilian club Grêmio.

“His initial delay was, he needed to get a new passport in the offseason and the passport came in. And when it came in, we needed to get the visa stamp on it, which took a little bit of time,” he said. “In the process of that, we were aware of any conversations that might have been going on or being had. For us, if a player doesn’t want to be here, we’re not forcing a player to be here, but it’s a collaborative plan. If he wants to be here, then he’ll be here and we’ll line up with him and keep progressing him.

“I thought the second half of his season was better than the first half and I thought once we physically got him to where he could be a contributor to the group and be out on the field on a consistent basis and do that, I felt like we were getting to a much better spot. For me, the game is also very mental and emotional and you’ve got to want to be here and be a part of this and be happy in our surroundings and to deliver what we need you to deliver. We were aware of things, but ultimately it’s with an eye on doing what’s best for us, with him as well, assuming he’s all in when he comes back to the Galaxy.”

Vanney added that he didn’t have any uncertainty toward Costa’s future with the club.

A decision on Grandsir’s could be coming shortly. He is entering his third season after moving from France.

“He’s had some personal issues that have arisen the last week or so, which is why he isn’t here,” Vanney said. “We’re working through those things with him on a personal level with him and his family and we’ll have those solutions hopefully in the next week or so and he’ll be here or he won’t be here, we’ll see how that plays out.”

Having already traded Kevin Cabral, the Galaxy could in for a busy stretch if they’re having to fill two additional key spots.

“We have two or three additions that we think we can make to this roster as we move between now the start of the season,” Vanney said. “It’s about finding a DP (Designated Player), but also the other complementary piece or two pieces that fit with that to build out the pieces of the puzzle that we think can improve our team.

“We would like to continue to get more production out of the front half of the field, whether that’s from our wing positions …we like where our midfield has grown into and with the addition of Memo (Rodriguez) and Daniel (Aguirre) coming along, that we have enough depth and quality in the midfield to sustain what’s going to be a lot of games this season.”

The new season also finds Vanney with some added responsibilities as the club’s sporting director. Club president Chris Klein was suspended through the primary transfer window, which usually ends in May, due to violating the salary budget in 2019 with the acquisition of Cristian Pavon.

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“I obviously will give the profile and the positions and have the final, these are the guys we want, as long as the deals come together and fit inside the financial means of what the club has to offer,” Vanney said. “For me, it comes down to technical operations. I’m not the one who is necessarily negotiating a contract or doing a contract, I’m identifying a player and giving the profile and looking at the guys brought in front of us …for me, it is laying out the technical vision of the club, how we want to play, what our principles are and how those go down to the Academy.

“The way we’ve built our structure is it is expert driven. I don’t need to be the expert of everything, but at some point somebody has to make a decision as it is relative to where we’re going with this stuff. Each person that we’re putting within our departments needs to be the expert and build a department that is then bringing back the best possible solution for us to move forward and connect toward our vision.”

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