Friday, August 24, 2007

Major League Letdown

In my view, the talk about whether or not David Beckham's arrival to MLS would be a bust has taken a twist. Obviously, people were disappointed when David couldn't play much at the start, but his gutsy effort in recent games has proven that he still has the goods and the will to perform.

Where the league has failed, though, is in fairness. In their eagerness
to exploit the asset that is Beckham, MLS tried to pleas
e too many people. The Galaxy have been saddled with the worst late-season schedule in history, which is a bizarre welcoming present for the league's biggest signing ever. He and his teammates are injured and tired, and that leads to a lot of ugly performances.

Where the Galaxy have failed David is in not standing up to the league and demanding a more equitable distribution of games from the start. The assumption made by Lalas that the Galaxy could cope was a grave mistake. I think the Galaxy and MLS have let David down far more than vice versa.

Beckham is generally eager to please and he hasn't complained yet (though at this point, he's also begun to refuse media interviews). I remember Freddy Adu looking back on his first year in the league and mentioning how he shouldn't have allowed himself to get so distracted by all the press obligations that were pushed on to him. It affected his performances, to have that hype pressing down on him when he should have been treated more like any other MLS player.

If the league keeps crucifying its so-called saviors, it may find that other quality players will be more reluctant to join the MLS crusade.

It's funny that between the salary cap and other artificial constructs carefully set up to keep things equal between teams that the league would have no compunction about deliberately designing the Galaxy schedule in a way that dealt only this one team a decided disadvantage at the most crucial part of the season.

Pete Vagenas stated:

“I think the league will look back and maybe question the way they handled this season. David’s the league’s best player . . . this was obviously a match made in heaven, but trying to make it so many games in such a short amount of time when he gets here and having such breaks in the beginning of the season, like when we went two weeks without playing, I’m not sure if they shot themselves in the foot, but I think they’ll think twice before doing that again to a team.”


Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that Don Garber has publicly insisted that the scheduling for the Galaxy was at the insistence of AEG, not the league. I'm not sure if this is true, but it seems a bit premature to blame this on league officials, especially since the time to complain about it would have been awhile ago.

I'm of course in full agreement that either way the league should have known better. It's funny, because all the wrong people will be blamed for the Galaxy's failures. Yallop will probably be fired, Beckham's effectivness will be questioned, the Galaxy players will be called losers or wimps, and the fans will be called fickle when the booing begins. Unfortunately, you can't fire the owners, but you can fire Lalas.

Anonymous said...

I'm utterly sick of the excuses coming out of the Galaxy camp.

You'll recall at the beginning of the season our losses were from "too few matches" and not being able to get into a rythem. Now it's because we have too many matches.


We have a team full of players that are losers, not winners and the results have been inevitable.

Stop printing their excuses and ask the hard questions. Ask Alexi why he thinks he deserves his job. 600,000 beckham shirts sold IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE ANSWER


A.C. said...

I couldn't find anything about Don Garber saying the schedule was designed by AEG - do you have a link?

I did find this in a Garber chat, but I'm not sure who the "we" is.

Kenneth from US Armed Forces
Do you think it was fair on the rest of the MLS teams to fix the schedule for the LA Galaxy in order to maximize the number of games David Beckham will play this season? LA has played 12 games so far while no one else has played less than 15.

Don Garber
Let me start by thanking you for your service to our country. Ultimately the impact that David Beckham will have on this league will be significant and Phil Anschutz and AEG CEO Time Lieweke are truly to be thanked for their efforts to bring David to MLS. We worked hard to ensure that we can manage the schedule, ensure that the Galaxy is not competitively disadvantaged and yet make every attempt to have David visit every team market by the end of the year. As you know, having him arrive after the summer transfer window complicates the situation significantly (as opposed to Juan Pablo Angel and Claudio Reyna arriving at the start of the year). However, I'm sure in the end it will work out for all involved.

cj howareya said...

For my money, this post is getting to the heart of it.

The La Liga final match, the media hype, McClaren's insulting 90 minute stupidity (There's no reason for Bex to be "proving himself" in meaningless friendlies -- "McClown" earned that nickname by moronic decisions such as dropping Beckham from the team in the first place.)

But MLS fundamentally flawed approach to his unveiling and inaugural season could go down as one of the biggest botched jobs in history.

How hard is it to figure that Real would be in a dogfight for the title? Who can't go to and find the qualifying schedule?

Piling thousands and thousands of away miles and pounding synth turf matches onto an aging (not a diss, a fact) superstar coming off a full season and facing an international season is ludicrous.

The ONLY possible excuse Garber/AEG/Lalas may have is the notion that Beckham was out of favor in Madrid and would be seeing much time on the pitch. But I don't have the will or time to look up when this season's FUBAR MLS schedule was crafted compared with when Beckham's discussions with MLS were happening. But I do recall that his decision to come to the US was somewhat predicated on the assumption he wouldn't be re-upped with Madrid.

But the point remains: Why grind the biggest signing in league history into a fine paste for half a season of attendance records?

Shortsighted doesn't even begin to cover it.

Craig said...

The schedule was the biggest travesty in the Galaxy season. Ten matches from July 31st to September 1st (11 for the Galaxy's two stars), three of them at home (the DC one on a dirtbike track) and the team flying all over the nation to play. BTW - just imagine if they were still playing in the US Open Cup.

I just hope that the MLS doesn't put out a similiar August-heavy schedule next season because of the European Championships in June.

The big question that the MLS and Galaxy need to ask themselves is would the people rather simply see a weary David Beckham in a jersey or David Beckham playing at full strength.

I was at the last two Galaxy home matches and it was a night and day experience with Beckham. Against DC he was obviously the best player on the pitch, controlling the pace, sending sweet passes all over the place and adding fire to an emotional-less team. Against Chivas he was obviously exhausted and frustrated... a total waste.

And I can't see how two additional friendlies in October will help their cause. The Galaxy need a break!

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think it was a Garber TV interview given during, I believe, the FSC broadcast of the Toronto vs. Galaxy match. It was a throw-away comment about the schedule that didn't get much coverage, but I believe (at this point I withhold the right to plead a Gonzales) that Garber said that it was AEG's initiative (or at least agreement) that the Galaxy's schedule be changed. I'm sure Garber was equally interested, but he made it seem like AEG was more responsible.

If you hear something different, either from AEG or the league, I'd love to know and I'm sorry I couldn't rustle up a transcript. If I'm wrong about that interview I apologize in advance for the first post (but for some reason his response sticks in my memory).

Do you know if AEG, rather than Yallop or the players, has made any comments about the schedule?

Anonymous said...

On the plus side of the scheduling chaos. Think about how good of a marketing opportunity this is for the teams playing the Galaxy. Colorado and Real Slat Lake will look like World Beaters against the Galaxy. All of those fans that come out to be a part of Beckham Mania will think their home teams are great when their players are running through that beat down Galaxy defense.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, you are making excuses...just like what you accuse Mexico of doing. Hypocrisy?

A.C. said...

Since when has Mexico played with injured and weary players and ever used that an an excuse? Their most common excuse isn't based on physical capability, but on "we played better soccer, even though we lost".

I'll admit the Galaxy aren't playing good soccer in a lot of their games, and in pointing out that there are some reasons behind that, you make a completely different connection. Does anyone really believe that the way Beckham appeared versus Chivas is the way he plays at 100 percent?

My whole point is that everyone in the league deserves to see a healthy Beckham, and the league is doing a great disservice to its own product by making it hard for him to get rest and get back to top form.

Anonymous said...

whatever, you're still making excuses even if you don't admit it.

Anonymous said...

The Galaxy looked very flat and uncreative against Chivas, in contrast to their sharpness against the Red Bulls less than a week ago. They may have reached the tipping point for this season, limping along as they figure out how to rebuild for next season. I'd anticipate new management too. I can't imagine how they'd maintain popular interest without a shakeup and some major signings, if that's possible under the MLS rules.

Sort of reminds me of how poorly some of the European teams played in the 2002 World Cup, due largely to their extended professional seasons along with the travel.

Anonymous said...

Well I hear a hundred different excuses from posters here, including AC.

Chivas USA is the lowest paid team in the league and they just whupped the Galaxy in their own crib, who are the highest paid team in the league, who's tickets cost twice as much b/c they are so much cooler and have such a better product.

Now i like Becks, but he is too big for this league, I think Frank Lampard was correct in saying that Becks could have gotten the same deal in a couple of years and played for Chelsea, or Milan or something in the meantime.

This whole Becks thing is an expirement with growing pains and ups and downs and learning on the fly. Considering the Galaxy are the worst team in the league, and they are the flagship franchise as they like to be known, this has been a disastrous season of epic proportions. I blame them all, the players who suck, Landon underperforming game in and game out but thinks he's god's gift to US Soccer; Lalas and Yallop are jokes.

But I saw the writing on the wall when Lalas and Yallop kept tinkering with the squad, voiding the team of Latinos and a Latino spirit and other promising young up and coming talent so that in their minds they could appease Becks and "handle the pressure".

I like what Wynalda said on TV (I can't believe I just said that), but the Galaxy fans should have booed them heavily last night and if the Galaxy want the limelight well they deserve the boos when they perform poorly.

I also think all the sanctimonious, "it's not Yallop's fault, he deserves better" is a load of BS. There are other deserving coaches out there that can coach better than him that are waiting for a break but are not buddies with Lalas. I say bring back Octavio Zambrano or Sampson! Hah, they're both better than Yallop.

My Adult league team could have managed to lose 3-0 or less to Chivas and put up a better fight. We would have played for a case of beer and not charged millions like Landicakes and the joker who speaks 5 languages.