Thursday, August 30, 2007

Answering mail

Ms. Canales,
I do enjoy your writing. However, some of the observation in your recent article (coupled with similar comments by Alexi Lalas in another article on Yahoo) don't sit well with me. The Galaxy (and most unforgivably, Lalas) are acting like victims here, and the excuses are tiring. They are complicit in their troubles.
If the schedule is to blame, why wasn't the team racking up points in the early going when they had a light schedule and plenty of time to rest players? And how is it that we didn't hear similar complaints from players and media when teams like the lowly Dynamo from a podunk village like Houston were playing 3 matches a week in the MLS and international play, yet found a way to zoom up the standings, sometimes in dominating fashion versus teams of quality like Chivas, NYRB, and to a lesser degree Dallas and DC? It seems that the problem isn't the schedule, it's in the team composition. Houston has the team; LA has some very good individuals.
The schedule is arduous, no doubt; but it's not to blame. Nor is the MLS to blame. The blame lies on the GM of LA. Perhaps the coach bears some responsibility (it was completely inadvisable to play Beckham the full 90 versus Chivas), but regardless: the blame lies with the LA leadership.
And someone please tell the LA players that they aren't being singled out with regards to arduous schedules. Stop playing the victim, it's very unprofessional.
And, Ms. Canales, despite this gripe of mine, please keep up the good work.

Dear Reader,

If you read the article, you'll see that I concur that the Galaxy leaders are complicit here, because they agreed to the schedule, when they should have refused to play unless it was more equitable.

Less games in the early part of a season does not help a team, however. It prevents them from finding their form and getting into rhythm. Think of it as training too lightly (you're not in shape for anything difficult) and then overtraining (you're so exhausted, you can't even compete).

I'm not saying the Galaxy are a good or bad team, or that they would have made the playoffs with a more balanced schedule. Every team has a busy run of the schedule, sure, but the Galaxy's is beyond that of any other MLS squad, by quite a bit. I'm pointing out that this schedule handicaps them - it makes it harder for them to play well and get results. For a league that constantly trumpets how fair their system is - it seems very inconsistent that one team has such a markedly worse schedule than any other.

A

1 comment:

Craig said...

Someone needs to criticise the Galaxy for scheduling two friendlies in October. I'm curious how the Galaxy FO will spin it (will they continue to blame the MLS or throw in the USL?). Plus, the games are in Vancouver and Minneapolis of all places. So from 09/27 to 10/10 the Galaxy travel from Los Angeles to Kansas City to Columbus to VANCOUVER to Houston and to MINNEAPOLIS.

That is an insane stretch, just what the hell was the Galaxy thinking?