Jermaine Jones: LA Galaxy can be good without big stars, amid Zlatan links

ByESPN staff ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Jermaine Jones has said the LA Galaxy do not necessarily need big-name signings amid fresh speculation linking Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the club.

Fox Deportesreported on Monday night that Manchester United striker Ibrahimovic is set to make the switch to the Galaxy this summer, while sources then told ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle that the chances of the 35-year-old heading to MLS are still "50-50" and that the deal is "not close at this point."

The Galaxy saw Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane leave ahead of the current season, but U.S. international Jones said they are now "trying to build something" with a young team.

Asked whether it is important for LA to have "big stars," Jones told ESPN FC's Max & Herc podcast: "Maybe yeah, maybe no. It is always tough if you come up after a year with Keane or Gerrard, all the names -- [Giovani] Dos Santos was there already -- but end of the day, the last two seasons LA have the names but win nothing. So that is the fact.

"This [is the] reason they try something new. Maybe we don't have the really big names like Gerrard, but in another way I think we still have a good team. but it's important that everybody has to understand it."

The Galaxy have won the MLS Cup title five times, the most of all club, and Jones, who joined LA from the Colorado Rapids in January, said they are under more pressure to succeed than any other club in the league.

"I always say, and maybe I can see it from a different eye -- I played in New England, I played in Colorado where you don't have the pressure and nobody really has the eye on you. 'Oh surprise, they made it almost to the final' or 'They made it to the final.' No, LA starts the season, everybody says: 'You have to go to the final.' That is the pressure that you have and everybody has to understand that."

The 35-year-old also said players on other MLS clubs play their hardest and use different tactics against LA

"If you talk about MLS soccer, talk about LA Galaxy. LA Galaxy has been for years the face of MLS," he said. "They win the most championships, I think the franchise is one of the or maybe the biggest in MLS right now, so the pressure is normal.

"When you have the jersey and you play for the club you have to understand everywhere you go the teams play harder, the teams want to show, maybe the players wanted to show that they maybe get a chance to be traded to LA? There is a lot and that is the point that we have to understand as a team. So if you step on the field, teams will go 100 percent against you. We saw it.

"We make sure we look at video from teams -- they play each other in other games, then they play against us and we are surprised when they play a complete different style. But that is the respect they have for LA. Every team goes definitely harder and 100 percent more than they do normal."

The Galaxy have gotten off to a slow start this season, losing three of their opening four matches and suffering a 4-2 defeat to Vancouver in their last outing.

"I think the whole club is trying to change something and trying to find themselves right now," he said. "We know the season did not start perfect like how we wanted it, but if you see the game, especially in Vancouver, we controlled the whole game.

"We came back after 1-0 down, 2-1 up, and then it is a learning process. We have to learn that, especially if you are LA Galaxy, you cannot give away games like that, but we are looking forward now. We have an important game Friday against Montreal -- the next good team, where we know what a contest that is -- but we play at home and we have to win the game."

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