In the first game of manager Sigi Schmid’s second spell with the Los Angeles Galaxy, captain Jelle Van Damme had an opportunity to help end the team’s 5-game losing streak.
Instead of helping, the Belgian center back put the Galaxy at risk of losing yet again when he earned a second yellow card and sending off for a challenge on Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro.
The Galaxy saw out a scoreless draw to end their losing skid, but once again will be without their captain due to suspension.
Letting the Galaxy down
In a season where the Galaxy have been hampered by injuries and had to rely on academy players to fill in the gaps at times, Van Damme has left the team with a numerical disadvantage on the field more than once and missed games due to his lack of composure.
The 33-year-old leads the team in indiscipline with eight yellow cards and three red cards.
With news circulating about the defenders possible return to Belgium at season’s end if not sooner, the Galaxy should have no trouble moving on.
A solid replacement
If and when Van Damme leaves, the Galaxy will not have to look far for his replacement. Dave Romney has proven to be a formidable defensive option.
The 24-year-old has played in 31 games for the Galaxy in league play and started 20 of those games, including 10 this season.
In the games he’s started, Romney has helped shutout opponents seven times as part of the backline.
Romney is a solid option to replace Van Damme not only because of his first team experience, but also due to his ability to stay out of trouble on the field.
Since joining the team in 2015 Romney has only seen yellow once in two and a half seasons and never been sent off, while Van Damme has earned 18 yellow cards and has been sent off eight times in just a season and a half with the team.
In addition to having a replacement ready to step in, the Galaxy could use the cap space Van Damme takes up to shore up other parts of the squad.
Freeing up additional funds
The Belgian national is currently making $600,000, and getting his salary off the books would make funds available to sign a much needed forward, experienced players for depth, or even a direct replacement.
A future for the Galaxy without Jelle Van Damme is a strong possibility, but it is clear he is replaceable.
Written by Frank Lara-Risco
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLaraRisco
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