Carson, CA – The Los Angeles Galaxy front office did everything it could to see its players hoist the Philip F. Anschutz trophy in November.
The organization assembled a first-class squad balanced with seasoned veterans and up-and-coming youngsters that meshed extremely well under head coach Bruce Arena.
But in order to increase the club's chances of obtaining the title, the organization tabled the largest bid to host MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center, allowing the Galaxy to play for the title in their home stadium.
The stars aligned and L.A. capped a dominant season in Major League Soccer with an MLS Supporters' Shield and the club's third MLS Cup title.
With many of the pieces returning from last season, there is no reason to believe that the Galaxy can't replicate that feat in 2012.
The biggest storyline surrounding the club in the offseason was where David Beckham would land. The superstar was the subject of a host of transfer rumors with French side PSG leading the charge for the Englishman's signature, but Beckham opted to remain in the States by inking a new two-year contract with the Galaxy.
Los Angeles was also sweating the return of one of its unsung heroes, center- midfielder Juninho. The Brazilian had been on loan from Sao Paolo for the past two MLS seasons and returned to his native country after MLS Cup, but it was announced in February that the 23-year-old would be back with the Galaxy for the 2012 season on another loan deal.
The Galaxy did make one unexpected splash in the offseason, snapping up their leading scorer and team MVP from the 2010 season, Edson Buddle, after the American spent a season with German side FC Ingolstadt.
Add Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane into the mix and the Galaxy have the makings of one of the most potent offensive squads to ever grace MLS.
But one of the biggest concerns for the club heading into the new season is how it will cope with the loss of Omar Gonzalez.
After a superb 2011 season that saw Gonzalez claim MLS Defender of the Year honors, the 23-year-old completed a loan move to Bundesliga side Nurnberg. But unfortunately for the Galaxy, Gonzalez tore his ACL in his first training session abroad, leaving his upcoming MLS season in question.
2011 IN REVIEW: It was a case of success begetting success for Los Angeles in 2011. An unbeaten 12-0-5 record at home in the regular season helped the Galaxy claim the MLS Supporters' Shield and home field advantage throughout the postseason. Arena's men did not slip up in crunch time either, cruising past Red Bull New York and Real Salt Lake en route to MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center where it defeated the Houston Dynamo by a 1-0 score.
ACQUISITIONS: Andrew Boyens (D), Edson Buddle (F), Justin Davies (D), Rafael Garcia (M), Bill Gaudette (GK), Bryan Gaul (F), Kyle Nakazawa (M), Pat Noonan (M/F), Tommy Meyer (D), J.T. Murray (D), Marcelo Sarvas (M), Jose Villareal (M), Kenny Walker (M).
LOSSES: Gregg Berhalter (D), Frankie Hejduk (D), Jovan Kirovski (F), Miguel Lopez (M/F), Donovan Ricketts (GK), Dasan Robinson (D).
OUTLOOK: The Galaxy will certainly be looking to continue their terrific run from last season and it would take a brave person to bet against them. With the return of Beckham and Juninho, Keane getting a full preseason under his belt, and the signing of Buddle, the argument could be made that L.A. is even stronger in 2012. How scary would that be for the rest of the league?