Sneak Peek: New approach taken at LA Galaxy

No MLS coach will be under more pressure than Curt Onalfo, who takes over for Bruce Arena, who stepped down as the head coach of the LA Galaxy after nine seasons to return to the U.S. national team.

Also gone are Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, who won nine MLS titles between them, and legendary Englishman Steven Gerrard. Are the Galaxy's go-go days over?

Opening day ...
Projected XI -- Rowe; Garcia, Steres, Van Damme, Romney; Jones, Pedro, Lletget, Alessandrini; Lassiter, dos Santos.

Galaxy folks will push back on the idea that AEG isn't putting the resources it once did into the Galaxy. Giovani dos Santos, MLS's biggest Mexico star, returns for his third season, Jelle Van Damme, arguably MLS's top defender in his first season in the league, was upgraded to DP status, and Frenchman Romain Alessandrini was signed from Marseille as the third DP

The 5-foot-8 Alessandrini is in the mold of tricky Frenchmen like Franck Ribery and Mathieu Valbuena, but he's never had the national team career they have had. Still, the Galaxy paid a $1.75-million transfer fee and are paying Alessandrini a reported $6 million over three years.

Gyasi Zardes, who is recovering from a knee injury, and Jermaine Jones, who was signed from Colorado, both are former DPs, and they along with Portuguese Joao Pedro were signed using TAM funds.

The concern for Saturday's opener against defending Supporters' Shield champion FC Dallas is that in addition to Zardes, the Galaxy will be without outside backs Robbie Rogers and Ashley Cole, who are also injured. The Galaxy should be without Cole for three weeks and Rogers for longer than that.

Onalfo has head coaching experience in MLS at D.C. United and Kansas City and spent the last three years as the head coach of LA Galaxy II, the Galaxy's USL team. He not only promoted his staff to the Galaxy -- Arena's assistants joined him on the national team -- but he has signed four players from Los Dos.

They bring to nine the number of players promoted from the second team, and Onalfo has worked with other young Galaxy players like Raul Mendiola, Bradford Jamieson IV and Jose Villarreal, who have bounced between the first and second teams.

Who's in ...
DEFENDERS: Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy II, Homegrown), Bradley Diallo (LA Galaxy II, USL Signing), Nathan Smith (LA Galaxy II, Homegrown). MIDFIELDERS: Romain Alessandrini (Marseille/FRA, Transfer), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids, Trade), Joao Pedro (Vitoria Guimaraes, Transfer), Jaime Villarreal (LA Galaxy II, Homegrown). FORWARDS: Jack McBean (Coventry City/ENG, Loan Expired).

Who's out ...
GOALKEEPERS: none. DEFENDERS: A.J. DeLaGarza (Houston Dynamo, Trade), Leonardo (Houston Dynamo, Re-Entry Draft), Oscar Sorto (Orange County SC, Free Agent). MIDFIELDERS: Steven Gerrard (Retired), Jeff Larentowicz (Atlanta United, Free Agent). FORWARDS: Landon Donovan (Retired), Alan Gordon (Colorado Rapids, MLS Free Agent), Robbie Keane, Mike Magee (Retired).

First five games ...
March 4 -- FC Dallas
March 12 -- Portland Timbers
March 18 -- at Real Salt Lake
April 1 -- at Vancouver Whitecaps
April 7 -- Montreal Impact

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