Final Record: 8-13-9, 33 pts. (Sixth, Western Conference)
For the third consecutive season, the Galaxy failed to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, finishing sixth in the Western Conference with a record of 8-13-9.
Despite a disappointing 4-0 loss to Colorado in the season opener, the Galaxy had a successful start to their first season under Ruud Gullit. Following their season opening loss, the club quickly found its footing and jumped to the top of the Western Conference standings. From May 18-June 14 the Galaxy won four of five games, scoring three or more goals in each game, to sit three points clear of their conference rivals. However, starting with a 3-3 home draw against Columbus on June 21, the Galaxy would go a club record 12 games (0-6-6) without a win and quickly faded from the postseason picture.
During that streak, on August 12, the club relieved General Manager Alexi Lalas of his responsibilities and Head Coach Ruud Gullit also left the club. A week later Bruce Arena was hired as the seventh coach in club history, bringing 2003 MLS Coach of the Year Dave Sarachan along with him as his Associate Head Coach.
That duo claimed their first win on September 20 with an emphatic 5-2 win over D.C. United, Arena’s first club, with Landon Donovan scoring a hat trick and adding an assist. However, that result and a 3-2 win over Colorado in October were the Galaxy’s only wins over the final four and a half months of the year and the club finished six points behind the final playoff spot, missing the postseason for the third straight season.
But despite the disappointing results, the 2008 season was full of individual honors for Galaxy players. Landon Donovan won the Budweiser MLS Golden Boot as the league’s leading goalscorer with a career-high 20 goals to go along with nine assists. Donovan, who was also named the Galaxy’s Most Valuable Player, had six multi-goal games for the Galaxy in 2008 and was named the MLS Player of the Month in April and the MLS Player of the Week on four separate occasions. His fellow forward Edson Buddle was third in the league with 15 goals, which were also a career-high for the New York native. Both of those players were named to the MLS All-Star Team, which beat West Ham United 3-2 in Toronto, as was David Beckham who had five goals and a team-best 10 assists on the year.
Sean Franklin, the Galaxy’s first round pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, was not named to the All-Star Team, but the Palmdale native did have an immediate impact on his new club. Franklin appeared in 27 games for the Galaxy and was named the club’s Defender of the Year. Additionally, Franklin was named the Gatorade MLS Rookie of the Year, making him the first Galaxy player ever to win the award.