Friday, August 24, 2007

How bad?

I'm trying to figure this out. I've been fielding emails from people complaining about how horrible the Galaxy are.

If that's true, how did the Galaxy ever become the last MLS team standing in the SuperLiga tournament? Did the other teams just not care about the million dollars and give that away?

The other thing I keep reading is how cruel the Galaxy coaches are, making David Beckham play while he's tired and injured. I guess that assumes that Beckham wasn't the one insisting he play on, hoping the right set play could turn the match.

What I don't hear is much condemnation for Read Madrid injecting Beckham's ankle up with pain killers and sending him out to play. His injury was in much worse shape then, and playing through that (which was especially surprising considering the quality of subs Real had to give Beckham a break) caused far more extensive damage. But that's ok, because Real needed to win the championship. The Galaxy needing to make the playoffs is apparently not a valuable enough rationale.

Again, despite having some decent options available, like Sean Wright-Phillips, on the bench, England coach Steve McLaren didn't sub Beckham, even with his bad ankle, in the entire game. It was a friendly match with little actually at stake.

Yet that's all well and good, when famous teams like England and Real Madrid do it.
The outcry, though, happens when an MLS team does it.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused as to why you defend the Galaxy so much when they are playing poorly. They have one point in the last five MLS games and they might miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year, that's horrible no matter how you slice it. What are people supposed to say? How you seriously believe that they aren't a bad team is just plain homerism or denial.

As for the SuperLiga, mediocre and bad teams overachieve in tournaments all the time. I don't think the other teams they played didn't care, but the Galaxy's run has been mostly luck.

Tournaments are funny that way because a few lucky breaks can get you far.

That being said, the way they're playing now, I don't see them beating Pachuca a second straight time. It's possible that they'll rise up just to win it all, but given current form, I just don't see it.

East River said...

You know the Galaxy are just a strange team. The last 3 seasons they have played poorly during in league play and then excelled in tournament play either in the playoffs of 05 or the 05 & 06 US Open Cups why? There is no clear answer to that.

But it does make sense to play through ones pain to win in a championship title in Spain and also to help your new team earn a playoff spot. It does not make sense to allow yourself to play 90 plus minutes in a exhibitation then play another 90 minutes in 24 hours. McClaren should have subbed out Becks and Becks should have asked to been subbed out. Yallop should have played him for 1half like he did Donovan. Now at least Yallop is talking like he has some sense and plans to save Becks for the Superliga final. Thats should be interesting as the Galaxy really thrive in a do or die environment. So are they really bad? That win you realize they have played in 3 different title games each of the past 3 years. I think they have to change their approach to league games.

Anonymous said...

It is Shaun Wright-Phillips, not Sean-Wright Phillips.

A.C. said...

Sorry about the SWP oversight - I wasn't even finishing complete sentences when I posted. I was tired.

I guess I don't believe the Galaxy are such a good or bad team - I think of them a bit like the 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs - they've been affected by injuries and a crappy schedule (moreso than the Spurs) to look worse than they are.

Josh said...

The Galaxy ARE a bad team. The don't string passes together, the have little to no overall team speed and their roster is made up of a bunch of players who don't mesh well. They made it to the finals of SuperLiga HURRAY! For whatever reason, they seem to raise their level in those games to above their skills. When has Alan Gordon looked that good? If you think back to the Dallas game, remember they were up 4-0 20 minutes in and had to hold on to win. How many mediocre teams would do that? I give them credit for scoring 4 goals in such a short time frame, as that was impressive. But that game highlights everything the team is.
You can't watch the team as consistently as most of us do and not think this team is bad.

My Opinion Over Yours said...

did you get simpsonized?

Anonymous said...

What I don't get is why is Beckham making the decision on how long he plays. Isn't that Yallop's job. Of course David's not going to ask to come off, he's got too much pride and too much to prove, but the manager should have known by the 70th minute that it wasn't doing anybody any good leaving him out there and that he was endangering his fitness for the next game. Hell, they might as well make it official and name Beckham coach as well as captian. I used to have a lot of respect for Yallop, but I don't think he's handling this situation at all well and his tactics last night were atrocious. Xavier in midfield? you've got to be kidding!

My Opinion Over Yours said...

any truth to the Klinsmann rumors?

Anonymous said...

Just because we've strung a few results together in a small tournament doesn't mean that we are a good team.

It's the results in the league and when you look at all matches overall that tell you how good a team really is. That's why in Europe small teams go on cup runs but no one mistakes that for the actual quality of the team.

Our team flat out sucks. And you and Luis as journalists need to start asking harder questions even if it comprimises your "insider" status with the team.

Be a journalist not just their friends. That goes for all the players, the coach and the GM.

We are HORRIBLE. And no ones asking the questions that need to be asked.

Matt L said...

I don't dispute that Real used Becks when he was hurt. I don't dispute that England played Becks for 90 when there were options on the bench. I don't dispute that Becks and/or the Galaxy might have been better off allowing him to have some sort of rest last night.

However, the Galaxy are a poor team. You can see Becks frustration on the field. How they got to the SuperLiga final - beat FC Dallas in a shootout and with a masterclass freekick by Becks.


Anonymous said...

Andrea, excellent soccernet article but can you explain this:

"In their attempt to get more players who could deal with the media spotlight and pressure of being a Beckham teammate, general manager Alexi Lalas traded throughout the year for more experienced personnel. However, he didn't seem to take into account that older players are more likely to suffer serious injuries under such a stressful schedule."

Hasn't he traded away more experienced players than he has brought in? The pool of players that were with the Galaxy at one point this season but aren't any longer would make a pretty decent team compared to what they have now.

A.C. said...

I don't think anyone can call Robbie Findley, a rookie, as experienced as Carlos Pavon, or Nathan Sturgis as experienced as Chris Klein.

Yet they were two of the most talented, energetic players the Galaxy have had.

Anonymous said...

The answer to the question "why do the LA Galaxy suck?", like most things in life, comes down to simple economics. They have a large number of players making over $100,000, and two players making more than $350,000. This means their back-ups are almost all at the lower end of the MLS pay scale. When the starters get injured, less talented players are asked to fill in and so the Galaxy get beaten by teams with more depth (and a more balanced distribution of incomes).

Oddly enough, it is also related to the question, "will the Galaxy leave Donovan unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft." Yes, because at something like $375,000 they could buy a bunch of average players to replace Kyle Veris, Randolph and Roberts and never have this happen again.

diane said...

Hi A.C., I'm one of the people who complained about the Galaxy coaches and left out RM and England, but only because my comments are already so long. Those big guys have both been at the other end of my outcry's for years! So I'll give fairness a shot now and you can decide if its too long to post or just consider it a reply.

First, I want to say that I'm a new Galaxy and MLS watcher -- yes they caught my attention when Beckham signed since I follow both La Liga and English football -- and I don't think the Galaxy are a bad team, I don't think this group of players has been together long enough to judge. Their most inexperienced players have also been shouldering too great a burden due to injuries and, no matter what Lalas says, it would be hard to find a group of players with the mental toughness to weather everything new about the Galaxy's situation -- only part of which is the scrutiny and criticism they have come under while trying to rebuild from a poor last season (if I'm correct about that part). Add a schedule, admittedly arranged to give them maximum exposure in every market, that is hitting them hard now.

Back to Real Madrid, England, the Galaxy and Beckham's ankle. Yallas said this to SkySports last night:
"It wasn't the intention to play him at all, but he came in and said that he felt okay," Yallop told reporters. "And obviously with our situation in the league we need points.
"I didn't want to leave him on, but in the end, at 2-0, he tried and all it needed was maybe one set-piece or one bit of magic by David.
"Right at the end he looked hobbled. I used him tonight and I shouldn't have done that.
"I don't like to put players like David in jeopardy of getting injured, and that wasn't the intention.
"We wanted to make sure his ankle was okay and he said he was okay to start..."

I appreciate his candidness, and I think he understands that whatever a player says, in the end its still his decision when and how long they play. Beckham said he felt good enough to start, but there was no excuse for using up all subs and leaving him in for 90 minutes. Most of us expected him and Donovan to each play a half once we didn't see Donovan start. And I don't subscribe to the theory that Beckham is too big to have others make those decisions for him. As I just said on another blog, he's been following coach and medical orders for twenty years -- like any player, not always happily -- but if he's told to sit, he'll sit.

If a coach feels that a player is above coaching, they shouldn't be managing them. Since I don't know Yallop well enough, I'll assume it's circumstances that have forced poor decisions and not his relationship with the player. But who plays when and where on his team is still down to the coach.

Real Madrid, corrupt to the core to the extent that they are seemingly willing to do just about anything legal or illegal at will. This reached such an extreme last season that it would have been comical were it not for the negative impact club management had on the real lives of its players. So I am the last person who would defend them.

However the match Beckham played for them, injected with pain killers, differed from last night's in that the league title was hanging on that one game. The ligaments in his ankle were also not torn yet, so while playing him with a sprain was a huge risk, he had done it the previous week with no compounding to the injury so further damage was not a sure outcome. Their real crime came in basically locking the door behind him the morning after the match, telling the press -- when asked about his condition -- that he was no longer their player. Beckham should have received an accurate assessment and at least treatment recommendations from their medical staff. As it was he left for vacation with the trainer's advice that he rest the ankle for a few weeks before starting cardio when the swelling went down. Clearly far off the mark.

As to Beckham's willingness to take the shots and play, I'm sure you followed the last four months of Madrid's season, understand how instrumental Beckham was to the team's comeback, both in the clubhouse and on the pitch, and how important this particular win was to both player and teammates given the hell the club had just put them all through -- as well as the strength required to turn themselves into a team again despite that. This is where things moved from almost comedy to almost schmaltz: the last four months were emotional equal to or beyond anything I've seen in many years of watching sports, with the team dedicating their run for the win to Beckham and to his also departing closest friend and Madrid legend, Roberto Carlos. By the final match it would have been hard to imagine any coach not starting Beckham or him turning down the opportunity if he could stand upright.

England? I don't trust or understand anything that McClaren does, or believe anything he says, and I'm not clear where he came up with the theory that all Beckham's ankle needs to make a full recovery is more playing time. I get the whole match fitness thing, but that usually applies to the period AFTER an injury has healed. Some time in the match, ok, but I agree, not 90 minutes there either.


Anonymous said...

yes, but what about Herculez, Ugo, Tyrone, Nagamura ... guys that have proven they can at least contribute in this league. Pavon may be experienced in Honduras but so far that has translated into very little in the MLS. Klein was a good acquisition, but still, they've traded away a lot of their depth for very little in return.

Anonymous said...

as a response to one of the later comments on this thread, we really need to beware of glorifying the past because when they left us Tyrone and Nagamura were not quality players at all.

Ugo has been not very good at all in Colorado

And Herc started ok in Colorado but has also had a poor season.

I think anyone looking back to these four players as difference makers is deluding themselves and forgetting we sucked with them in our line up too.