Thursday, August 30, 2007

Difficulties of managing the Galaxy

Frank Yallop's job has been seemingly on the line for weeks as the Galaxy trudges through poor result after poor result. Not even David Beckham has helped the Galaxy turn its season around as the club has yet to taste victory in league with Becks in tow.

The Galaxy last won a league match on July 4 and the club is now officially at the bottom of the table following Real Salt Lake's victory on Wednesday. Rumors are swirling that Yallop is on the outs and will be replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann sooner rather than later.

I've been on the fence regarding Yallop. In some ways, I feel he is responsible for the poor season because he's the coach and when things go sour someone has to take the blame, someone has to be held accountable. The season is technically not over but for the Galaxy to make a serious run at the playoffs, the team's got to win most of its remaining games and hope other results fall their way.

Also, the Galaxy has made several moves that have not panned out. Dealing Ugo Ihemelu and Herculez Gomez for Joe Cannon filled a hole that didn't exist. Kevin Hartman was more than capable of continuing here as the number one goalkeeper. And although Cannon is a fine keeper, the Galaxy found themselves lacking depth in central defense and at forward.

That spiraled into other moves and eventually the Galaxy was scrambling to fill holes. Nate Jaqua was brought in to replace Gomez and give the Galaxy some depth at forward, but with Jaqua struggling the Galaxy dealt for Edson Buddle and eventually rid themselves of Jaqua.

Tyrone Marshall was traded away and though he's long in the tooth, his experience could have been useful as well. Shavar Thomas was traded before he grabbed a starting spot and he's been nothing short of rock-solid at Chivas USA. And the Nathan Sturgis-Robbie Findley trade that yielded Chris Klein was a bad move no matter how many bicycle kicks Klein makes.

But despite all those moves, it's still unclear whether it was Yallop or GM Alexi Lalas pulling the trigger.

And nobody bargained for or could have prepared for the rash of injuries. Yallop has mentioned the injuries as well as the club's ridiculous schedule before but had never expresses his frustration to the level he did after Wednesday's match. Injuries and a demanding schedule are taking their toll on the club, and the manager can only do so much when dealt such a horrid hand.

Another thing to consider is the composition of the roster. While MLS expanded the rosters to 28 before the 2006 season, it is still difficult for teams to stockpile players. This goes for every team in the league, not just the Galaxy. Had things been different, perhaps the Galaxy might have been able to keep roster or salary-cap casualties such as Thomas, Laurent Merlin and Josh Gardner, players who may have been able to contribute with the Galaxy.

Compare the Galaxy's depth to Pachuca and Chivas, the two Mexican clubs they faced during SuperLiga, and it's not a comparison at all. Pachuca played without Christian Gimenez and Juan Carlos Cacho for a chunk of the second half and all of extra time but replaced them with Luis Gabriel Rey and Rafael Marquez Lugo, who could start for many other teams in the Mexican league. The same cannot be said for Gavin Glinton and Alan Gordon, the Galaxy's two forward subs.

In many ways, I'm convinced that Yallop is in a difficult situation and shouldn't be held accountable. If the buck needs to stop at someone, if someone truly does need to be held responsible, it shouldn't be Yallop. It should be his boss.


My Opinion Over Yours said...

There's enough justification to fire Yallop just for his choice to play Gordon. He's a parody of a foward.

Do you think Klinnsman wants to take on the Galaxy job with Lalas around? He can't be that dumb, right?

A.C. said...

Like I told you last night, this Galaxy team has played a few of the best, most exciting MLS games I've ever seen. I feel like I'll never know what this team could have been like if it had been more injury-free or even more rested. They might have been a good team to watch. We'll probably never know, because I suspect the squad will get blown up in the offseason. Heck, it's virtually been remade in the season itself.

EdTheRed said...

Gordon was supposed to be a forward last night? Wow. Well, at least I got to listen to the Telefutura announcers refer to him as "'¡Flash' Gordon!" That was fun.

The lack of depth seems to be at least partially a result of a "quick-fix" mentality. Too many new (and constantly shifting) pieces mean that there aren't enough players on the bench who know the system that Yallop is trying to implement.

L.B. said...

One reporter told me yesterday he thinks Edson Buddle is a solid MLS sub but not effective as a starter.

Moments later, Alan Gordon botched another play. I leaned over to him and asked "If Buddle is a solid MLS sub, what does that make Gordon?"

KMC said...

When will the Galaxy stop drinking that Strawberry Lalas koolaid? He's the first that has to go. One of MLS's largest markets has one of its work teams ever - and all you get is excuse after excuse.