Sunday, March 30, 2008

Deal with it

I get the sense after the 4-0 loss to Colorado that the big red PANIC button has already been pushed for many Galaxy fans, and perhaps, within the organization as well.
That might be part of the problem, actually.
Last season, the team lacked cohesion and cooperation. Yet, due to the pressure piled up when losses mounted (as well as injuries), the Galaxy roster kept changing. Many trades were made and the lineup shuffled. Guess what? No great improvement in performance.
There were certain factors affecting the match last night. The coaching changes the Galaxy have gone through, for years now, leave each new coach in an interesting position. They are basically stuck with the old coaches' team for a while. Ruud has to play with at least some players Frank Yallop chose, even if he wouldn't have made the same choice. Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz hadn't played a competitive game together yet. Both Landon and David Beckham had to deal with jet lag and weariness from international games on Wednesday. The altitude in Colorado was a factor. The poor penalty call was another negative factor.
Forget the 4-0 scoreline to take a different look. Last night, the Galaxy kept the score versus Colorado close for longer than the Houston Dynamo did the New England Revolution. (2-0 by halftime) Yet I doubt anyone with the Dynamo, fan or otherwise, is freaking out at the team's supposed ineptitude.
What gives a team perspective, though, is history. The Dynamo could be calm, if unhappy about their loss. They're the defending champions of MLS. No 3-0 loss (to a Twellman-less Revs, no less), or 6-1 loss (to Gamba Osaka) is going to take that away and make them panic. They have an off night, they can go back to Houston and regroup. Two MLS trophies in a row give them the confidence to ride things out. A few changes may be made, but the team believes in the core of their players. That familiarity shows on the field, even when they don't have their best day.
The Galaxy meanwhile, have to deal with the taint of the past two years - failure to reach the playoffs. That shame clings, and it probably keeps everyone jittery. The semi-collective meltdown after the bad call reveals this. The fans, both the newbie Beckham arrivals and some of the faithful who remember fondly when Galaxy teams always made the playoffs, are apoplectic. The real impact, though, is if the front office is already planning more moves. So much for building continuity if that starts to happen.
Bottom line, with two championships in hand recently, the Dynamo have more than earned the benefit of the doubt when they take a spanking. They will probably bounce back. The Galaxy haven't that same benefit. Ruud Gullit kept his cool, relatively, but his ability as coach will be tested in this situation - reviving his team after a loss that is so demoralizing and begins his tenure with a losing note.
An even more sour note is the injury to Ruiz.
Here, another team also provides perspective - two veteran players went down with injuries on the first day of this MLS season.
Yet New England regrouped, and the team even scored a final goal with their veteran, Steve Ralston, off the field due to injury. The Revs could have been disheartened, but they continued to take the play to Houston.
Ralston's injury was a fluke, though. He fell over a player and landed badly on his shoulder. It's a shame, but no one is really to blame.
I understand that O'Brien, the young player who felled Ruiz, might be looking to impress his coach, but scissoring tackles from behind aren't the way to do that. Hustle and score, or make excellent plays, like New England's rookies, to make a positive impact.
So the Galaxy might miss Ruiz for a while. The Revs finished off their triumph without Ralston and played the whole time without Twellman. Granted, Colorado wasn't at full-strength, either, but Houston had a tired Brian Ching and no Rico Clark.
Can the Galaxy contain the fall-out of their opening-day fiasco and bounce back? Of course they can - whether they will is another matter. Veteran or rookie, the pressure on the Galaxy is intense by MLS standards. The one player I'm not really worried about freaking out in the wake of the setback is David. He's been hung in effigy after World Cup 1998, for heaven's sake. He can handle this, but he can't carry the team alone. The rest of the players have to toughen up and suck it up, big time. Every team is going to come at them, excited at the attention a victory over the Galaxy will earn. No ref will want to be seen as favoring Beckham's team. That's just the way it is. The Galaxy players have to learn to deal.

27 comments:

Eugene said...

Look, it was a bad loss, but it was an away game and the Galaxy will do just fine if they can win the vast majority of their HOME games. Plus the team has a lot of upside when Ruiz, Donovan and Beckham connect, and that will happen at some point this season. So nothing to worry about, it's just one game.

The Hammer said...

I agree with you 100% Andrea. It was a loss, the scoreline was circumstancial, but the context of it really makes everyone go stupid. We all need to get some fresh air and move forward.

Longshoe said...

The awful PK call killed the game. The goals that came after that didn't matter.

That wide field in Colorado really exposed the Gals' defense. It's bad, really bad. And slow. If they make changes, they need to find some quality defenders with a little foot speed.

dashiel said...

i'm tired of being told not to panic. the front office has been telling me that for five years and for five years this team has sucked.

Anonymous said...

That of jet lag, altitude, the ref, etc. what will be the excuse be next thursday???

Anonymous said...

just saw another one "it was the fault of the wide field." so they lost because the wide field, ref, altitude, and jet lag. any other excuses guys???

Anonymous said...

Guys, i don't watch MLS games very often, and i don't know what the history of the galaxy's performance has been through the 13 seasons of MLS play, but still, I turned my tv on last night to watch the game just to see how Beckham's role and performance were fairing in this team..and what i saw was a 'cartilla', as we colombians say, of efficient, organized and tactical futbol from the Colorado Rapids, and a methodical slaughter of this LA side, regardless of the good intentions on David's part..the truth is, he can't single handledly play for the whole team...he's gonna need more than an overated forward like Ruiz..I counted up to four perfect passes put to him down the middle in the goal area by David Beckham, and he wasted them all, with plays you can only see in rookies with no scoring experience whatsoever..pathetic..In Colombia we have a say that goes like this: SI SU EQUIPO NO METE GOLES, TENGA LA SEGURIDAD QUE SE LOS VEN HACER..in other words, if you don't score, you will see a lot of scoring against

A.C. said...

I'm not telling anyone not to panic. I pointed out that they're panicking an contrasted that to Houston. Plus, I speculated on how the Galaxy would react.

RHdigitalYS said...

I agree with anon^, Ruiz looked like he had lost a little something. I know some of the passes weren't perfect when his scoring position was great but his influence on the game so little at times.

The really bad thing about MCL sprains isn't the potential for long recovery times but the additional time it takes to get comfortable on the knee again. If it takes too long we could be seeing a repeat of last year at some points during the summer when Landon is out for qualifying and the Beckham star power is the only thing sustaining the team.

As for the loss, Lakers lost the first game of this year by only 2 points (the last two goals were like garbage time points, no one tried) but it was as if the sky had fallen in Lakerdom.

Anonymous said...

Facts. 1. The ref was bad and is known to be a bad ref by most MLS who have seen him perform before. 2. The game was played at altitude. 3. The LA Galaxy sucked.

Beckham was fine. He did what was expected of him which was put balls into the box for teammates. Donovan gave it his best but he seemed wasted on the left side as Kimura got the better of him time and time again (maybe it was the jet lag and altitude). Ruiz did what he does which is dive, chip, complain and goad players into fouling him so he can dive again. A younger, inexperienced player fell for it only he managed to actually hurt Ruiz this time which is not good but not unexpected either given the game he plays (has he ever played a full season?). Still what was most obvious was that LA has no defense and a very raw goalie. Surefooted veterans like Albright and Cannon have been traded. Xavier has no game. Vanney has no speed. Klein is not a real defender. Add to this that promising (cheap) prospects like Kirk, Finley and Sturgis were traded, the bottom line is that the front office has totally screwed up this team. And that's the big fact.

Allen said...

longshoe ---> CO's made the field smaller this year.

LA fans should be worried because it was as though they had no midfield for most all of the night.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the highlights, not the actual game. Maybe it was just that, but it looked like the Gals defense is really, really slow. On some of those Colorado goals, it looks like the Galaxy defense is just trotting along and observing rather than trying to stop the attacking play. Ugh. I'm not a Galaxy fan, but I hope they do well, if only 'cause for most people who've tuned into MLS because of Beckham will judge the entire league by the quality of LA - even if their MLS opponents are obviously playing quality soccer.

Anonymous said...

haha when well u donkies realize Alexi Lalas totally screwed ya'll over, seriously how that clown has a job in this leagues still is amazing. And enuff wit the excuses cuz they Gals just got SKUNKED plain and simple.

Rich said...

Donovan is not a left-sided midfielder. Period. Put him up front or as an attacking midfielder. He was quoted in today's paper as saying "I never felt like I was in the game."

With Ruiz's injury Gullit's hand may be forced, anyway. LD pretty much has to go up front now.

just another one of you said...

"Many trades were made and the lineup shuffled. Guess what? No great improvement in performance."

I think you are boldly ignoring the fact that the moves that were made were horrible moves. It was evident after each trade that the Galaxy were on the wrong end of the trade.

Bottom line, what happened last night is a scenario that the Galaxy's front office set them up for. It is obviously easy to breakthrough and score on them. Everyone guessed as much coming in, and the game proved it. Barring a revelation in technique and skill, that team is going to be vulnerable to losing 4-0.

Additionally, can we agree there is a difference in losing 3-0 to the Revs, compared to 4-0 to the Rapids? One team is definitely better.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Let's be honest, people. It's not going to get better. It's only going to get worse. Forget altitude, international travel, refereeing, etc. Colorado had six players out with injuries and still put a collective hit on the Galaxy.

Here's what you should really consider: The Galaxy has no depth, no speed and no credible experience on defense. That is not going to change anytime soon, and it won't change as long as Lalas has a say in personnel transactions. The only reason Xavier is in this league is because the Gals are desperate for experience on D (and he was a free transfer, just like the great Celetine Babayaro). I've seen traffic pylons play better defense.

But the fundamental problem isn't on the field. It's off the field. AEG has allowed its own arrogance and greed to get to its head. All AEG (read: Leiweke) cares about is making the Galaxy the first club to earn $10B in revenue. Why do you think they hiked parking by $5 once Beckham arrived?

And so, the Alexi Lalas Watch begins....

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Also, remember what I said on another thread on this blog:

1. The Galaxy will finish last

2. The Galaxy will not win 10 games.

3. The Galaxy will allow at least 60 goals.

4. Xavier will be gone by the end of the season.

5. Lalas, unfortunately, will keep his job (he makes a great corporate tool).

Anonymous said...

i hope the org and the team read this post so they don't make any rash moves (although cutting xavier and vanney wouldn't be too bad... can't they find some young good defenders for that amount of money?)

Eugene said...

Wow. I made my initial comments after just looking at the score line and reading Andrea's commentary, but after having watched the game myself, I think it was an absolute DISGRACE.

But NOT by the ref or Colorado.

LA was completely disgusting. This was an ugly, ugly game where not only should Xavier have been red carded, but Donovan and arguably Vanney should have been red carded as well. Vanney should have gotten one for pulling down Herc Gomez when it looked like Vanney was the last defender. Donovan should have gotten one for *attacking* O'Brien when he was already appologizing for taking down Ruiz. Not only did Donovan shove O'Brien, but he also put his hand on O'Brien's throat, which is an automatic red card in any league.

Coming back to Xavier, I think the league should look at suspending him for a few games. Not only did he have a number of cardable challenges, but he also made contact with the referree in his anger.

If we're going to watch quality sport for this season, the league should come down on LA right now and make a point that such behavior is not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Why panic? Most people have known for over two years the Galaxy are a terrible team... any organization that fires a coach when they are in first place (2 years ago when they fired Sigi) is only reaping the rewards of that kind of decision making inability, which is awful (they did bring you-know-who to play here, and will give them credit for that).

The players on the galaxy roster are there because the organization brought them. Know if people have a problem with the players, you really need to look at the administration/coaches...

Other teams have reaped the benefit of this side-show. Teams like new england, houston, and even chivas usa have had the opportunity to go about their business of playing quality soccer.

If I am the galxy owner, I would do some house cleaning at the top and get different people to run the show (that should take care of the right players on the roster also)... they've had their chance and have made a circus of it. Beckman deserves better that what the circus he is surrounded by.

CACuzcatlan said...

Our top veteran striker is out. Now, if only we had a young up-and-coming striker to step in and save us. Someone like Robbie Findley...


I'll never forgive Lalas for that trade.

Josh said...

I couldnt disagree more. I am a Dallas fan, so I hate both LA and Houston, but the reason Houston shouldn't panic is they are a good team, who lost to another good team. Colorado is terrible, and LA got thrashed by them. Complain all you want about the pk, but even up to that point LA looked the worse team. Houston lost but still played ok, LA looked overmatched from the get go. Beckham looks to be on an island, and Xavier has to be the worst defender on the roster. He lacks any ability to stand an offensive player up, and just hacks and hopes. LA is going to be the worst team in the league, I am positive. There are just too many players starting, much less playing, that have no business seeing the field.

el rey said...

If I'm not mistaken Sullivan made the comment during the broadcast, "This team is paying for its past sins". How true this is. The Galaxy are an arrogant team lead by an Arrogant GM. They have this attitude of superiority just like the Mexican National team. At this point it's obvious that they care more about making money than providing a good product on the field. How can you have half your Salary taken up by three players and expect to compete when you can not afford to buy a quality supporting cast? While I agree they shouldn't panic, I think they do need to cut one of their three DPs so they can buy 2 or 3 quality players.

Also, no one should be too surprised by the result. Everyone knew this team was going to struggle from the get go.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

a.c., why should the Galaxy "learn to deal" when they've been brainwashed into thinking that they're the "jewel of MLS"? Talk about a sense of entitlement!

FC Uptown said...

San Jose is up next. Step back from the ledge.

RHdigitalYS said...

Worst offense versus worst defense. This is the only game I'll get to see in person this year and though I won't get to see Ruiz, more likely than not the atmosphere will be better than whatever we see on the field.

Anonymous said...

LAG that was the most embarassing display of any MLS team, I have seen. Hey refs you didn't do much better. Not a foul xavier and ciaran should be banned for more games, that was BS.