I had the opportunity to talk to Alexi Lalas on the phone earlier today. I’m working on my Galaxy season preview for The Press-Enterprise and I figured it would be good to talk to the Galaxy’s general manager about his club.
I can’t put everything he said on here; after all, I’ve got to save some of his better stuff for the PE. But I had some leftover quotes and wanted to share them here.
This year, the Galaxy is quite possibly the largest unknown quantity in the league. The collective exploits and talents of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz are well known, as are Chris Klein and Greg Vanney but the squad could go either way in terms of how much the young players contribute, how the team comes together and how the Galaxy’s depth responds when called upon.
I asked Lalas if he felt he had done enough to put together a competitive squad.
“For all intents and purposes we have three designated players in Landon, David and Carlos,” Lalas said. “There is a lot of talk about all of our eggs in one basket and the lack of depth but I think you are going to see some young players come to the front. I think you are going to see some of the players have the experience of 2007 really blossom this year.”
As far as adding to the roster, Lalas ruled out the possibility of bringing in any player from outside of the league before the summer. While the team has three players whose salaries do not count against the cap, Lalas said the club’s hands were tied when it came to adding players, just like any other club in the league.
“We have a core of players… that have incredible experience and are adding to this team,” he said. “Every MLS team wants to have as much depth as possible and it’s difficult in our league because of the lack of mechanisms and were no different than any other team.”
Given that the Galaxy has missed out on the MLS postseason in each of the last two seasons, making the playoffs this year might be an acceptable goal or accomplishment. However, Galaxy players have talked often during the preseason about winning championships and not just making the postseason. I asked Lalas what he would consider to be a successful year.
“I hesitate to lower our expectations or dumb it down because the fact is that regardless of the performance for the last couple of years – and not making the playoffs, which is an incredible disappointment and unacceptable for the Galaxy – the expectations continue to be high both internally and externally.”
Clearly, the expectations for the Galaxy are to reach the playoffs and make noise once there.
“For us, we expect to make the playoffs and expect to challenge for cups,” Lalas said. “But we are approaching this year very differently in terms of the philosophy we are pulling from training to games to the off the field way we treat this team.”