Dawn of a New Era: 2024 LA Galaxy Season Preview

Image Credit: Henry Tran
The MLS is back and the Galaxy open the new. season Sunday against Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Inter Miami.

2024 marks a decade since the Galaxy have lifted a trophy and the club now finds itself at a crossroads at the start of a new season.

After a dismal, injury riddled, 2023 campaign, the new-look LA Galaxy enter this season looking to return to the club’s winning ways of the past. 

The Galaxy will be reminded of their storied history from the start as LA opens the season against Inter Miami FC, led by the league’s current biggest star, Lionel Messi and owned by the league’s former biggest star, David Beckham.

As the team with the most MLS Cups with five, the Galaxy have long been synonymous with excellence on the pitch. Yet, the echoes of past glories have begun to fade amidst recent changes and transitions. 

The offseason has been a whirlwind of activity, with the Galaxy meticulously crafting a roster primed for resurgence. The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place, starting with the team parting ways with former Technical Director Jovan Kirvoski.

In this article, we’ll go over roster additions and departures, the Galaxy’s preseason performances and what to expect Sunday when Messi, Luis Suarez and company arrive to DHSP and onward.


After giving up the most goals in MLS last season with 67, the Galaxy urgently needed to address the backline and did just that with the signing of defender Miki Yamane. 

The 30-year old signed a three-year contract through the end of 2026, joining fellow Japanese international Maya Yoshida in LA’s backline.

“We’re pleased to add a player of Miki’s pedigree to the team,” LA Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney said after the signing in January. “Miki is an experienced defender with excellent composure and versatility in attack.” 

With defense in mind, the Galaxy signed former LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy to a two-year deal until the end of 2025.

“John brings a wealth of experience, ranging from playing in the USL to being the MVP of an MLS Cup Final, that is invaluable,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Will Kuntz. 

While defense was a major issue last season, the Galaxy had just as much trouble producing goals, an issue that needed to be addressed.

The Galaxy responded with two additions from the international market.

First, signing Gabriel Pec from Brazilian Série A side Vasco da Gama as a Young Designated Player and signed the forward to a five-year contract through the end of 2028. Pec arrived after LA payed a reported $10 million transfer fee to Vasco da Gama, where he had 40 goal contributions in 178 appearances.

Then, the LA went and added Joseph Paintsil from Belgian Pro League side K.R.C. Genk as a third Designated Player and signed the forward to a reported $9 million, four-year contract through the end of 2027.

Paintsil joins the Galaxy after recording 61 goals and 35 assists across 228 matches played in Europe.

Paintsil and Pec will be active and eligible for Sunday’s opener against Miami.


After suffering a season-ending ACL tear, former club captain Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s contract was not renewed with the LA Galaxy. 

After 45 goal contributions (39 goals, 6 assists) in 82 appearances during his four year’s as a G, Chicharito would end up signing with his boyhood club, Liga MX’s Chivas and the Galaxy have added Pec and Paintsill to fill in the former captain’s shoes.

“Thanks to everyone who was involved in my journey these 4 years. Thank you for everything @lagalaxy,” Chicharito said on Instagram in his farewell post.

Former No. 10 Douglas Costa was also not retained by the club, after many injury-riddled and lackluster seasons as a designated player in LA. He now plays for Fluminense in the Brazilian league.

Tyler Boyd, a key contributor last season, would also end up leaving LA for Nashville in free agency. 

In the 2023 regular season, the winger registered seven goals and four assists in 28 starts for the Galaxy, which included two game-winning goals and assists each.

A spark plug of sorts for the Galaxy last season, Billy Sharp was also not brought back by the Galaxy for the 2024 campaign. Sharp returned to England and is playing for Hull City, who competes in The Championship.

Sharp’s Galaxy spell was short lived but the 37-year old striker finished when it seemed like no one else could in the No. 9 spot. Sharp finished with 6 goals in 12 appearances, including a hat-trick against Minnesota FC.

Earlier this week, the club waived Chris Mavinga and mutually parted ways with goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, who both had inconsistent performances in the preseason.

Preseason Performances

The Galaxy opened preseason with a 5-1 loss against Danish side Nodsjaella in late January, which saw the unofficial debut of 14-year old Galaxy II standout Mathis Albert. 

The next five preseason matches against MLS competition saw the Galaxy finish 1-4-1.

The results look rough on paper, but the Galaxy did not have Pec or Paintsill in the fold until after the preseason, when the team grabbed two international roster spots from the New England Revolution in exchange for general allocation money.

Now after acquiring two dynamic wingers as Designated Players, as well as an experienced right back, the G’s will need to find synergy without falling into a hole in the standings like last season.

Expectations and Outlook

While the additions of Pec and Paintsil should inject life into the dormant Galaxy offensive attack, the club will likely go through some growing pains.

With newly appointed No. 10 Riqui Puig leading the way, the chemistry between he and the newest members of the Galaxy will be key to how LA will start the season. Last year the team was unable to climb back into the standings after starting with only one win in the first 10 matches.

The G’s should play with a lot of emotion and feed off the likely sold-out crowd at DHSP in the opener against Miami, who won their season opening match against Real Salt Lake 2-0.

In case you missed it, Messi was one blocked shot away from a legendary goal after dribbling over a RSL defender that was down.

While the result looks great on paper, Miami’s weakness continues to be the backline, with unimpressive results in the preseason, RSL were a handful of chances away from flipping the script on Miami. 

The Galaxy will have a tall task ahead of them starting from matchday 1, because while Miami has the established talent to rely on when they don’t execute for 90 minutes, the Galaxy do not have the same luxury. 

While the G’s have retooled with younger reinforcements, the club should have the MLS Playoffs within reach after a 13th place finish in 2023. 

It all begins Sunday against Inter Miami at 5:30 on Apple TV. Fans attending the season opener are encouraged to arrive to DHSP early to avoid missing any action.