Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Arena with the pipewrench

The Z-man takes a look at the last place Galaxy guys.

Vanney remembers, I think, what it was like to consider the Galaxy a special team, back before they had Becks. The thing is, I'm not sure Arena gets that, either.

Arena does touch on what I've always considered to be tough for incoming coaches - they never have their own guys around. They're left with the players of the previous regime, and no easy way to clean house, given the MLS salary cap.

They often try anyway, and end up doing a half-assed job a lot of the time. Then when impatient administration make another coaching change, the cycle starts over again.


Anonymous said...

As a LA Galaxy fan, AC, please understand how frustrated and tired many of us are at how low the quality of many of LA's players have been; and, how ugly the soccer quality have been in many games. I believe Bruce, Dave, and Cobi can turn it around and help vastly - but, several drastic changes both in players and in salary cap have to be made! Yes, AEG has done a heck of job marketing the heck out of this resultant mediocre team after bringing in David. It does so by shuttling David along to all of these wacky places like Hawaii, China, Japan, S. Korea. But the embarassing part is that this team as is still manages to get beaten and whooped! Having two players on the team with that much salary being taken up out of the over-all allotted salary cap leaves all of us with a team that is going to continue to struggle. The salary cap, at present, is a complete idiotic, torturous joke. LA Galaxy is being marketted as the global MLS brand to outside of the US, but anyone with a computer and good soccer/futbol/football sense will research and find out that LA Galaxy is indeed way at the bottom as far as on-field results. This ridiculous insult of a salary cap has got to be raised considerably higher. Why should it be considered fair that LA Galaxy has to suffer this much mediocrity while trying to build on a successful branding model? MLS league rules are penalizing this team for trying to be successful financially?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Why should it be considered fair that LA Galaxy has to suffer this much mediocrity while trying to build on a successful branding model? MLS league rules are penalizing this team for trying to be successful financially?

I agree that the salary cap must be raised. But to blame the Galaxy's problems on the salary cap is an insult to teams like Houston, New England -- heck, even San Jose -- that say within the cap and can become successful (at least, in San Jose's case, competitive). Sure, they're not "world brands" but what's the point of soccer, to become a "world brand" or to win?

You know why Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and the like are "world brands"? Because they have nearly a century of tradition and excellence upon which they can build! NO MLS team has that.

The ultimate problem with the Galaxy isn't the salary cap. It's how an incompetent front office manages that cap. Nobody told Bozo the Mad Genius (and his boss, Obergruppenfuerher Leiweke) to scrap what was one of the league's best defenses for an overrated Guatemalan striker whose game has been declining for years, a bleach-blond Portuguese pylon on defense, a few other members of the over-the-hill gang and a bunch of youngsters who have barely learned how to shave.

Actually, the real culprit is the Galaxy's lust for money, prestige, glitz and glamour before its administration is ready. The Galaxy wants to be the Lakers of MLS but the Lakers took decades to reach the point where they're the "it" team among the Hollywood set.

Right now, the Galaxy is the Washington Generals of MLS.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I know what you're saying; I hear it. You're right, Houston, San Jose, Columbus, New England... all of these teams are MLS leading teams (winners, practically) without busting up their salary cap. You could be right - it could be indeed AEG's greed for glitz, fame, and mostly, profit that put this team (LA Galaxy) in this schlepp of a mess. All I'm trying to say is that if the decision was made to take this organization further out into recognition beyond just the US, then bringing in David accomplished that. But, then the question becomes why can't the salary cap be changed to account for presence of stars? Yes, the LAKERS took decades to be one of the top teams in the NBA now. Okay, I agree... but, shouldn't it be the owners' decision to try and propel their organization financially and somewhat internationally? Right now, the way it's structured... to me - it's unbelievably ridiculous. Again, I am trying to discern between two diverting issues with respect to the LA Galaxy: success off-the-field vs. success on-the-field. Absolutely, yes: I want to see success on-the-field. And, I think LA Galaxy can acheive it given more appropriate salary cap and better players. Is that wrong to ask?

d.s. said...

I have no sympathy for Lalas or the AEG (I'm an SJ Quakes fan), but I think what Leiweke (sp?) has been doing is great for the Galaxy and for the MLS as well. Ok, so what, a couple of bad seasons... remember that the on-field problems are the easiest to fix. Leiweke has been responsible for building HDC (according to the Ziegler article linked to), and the significance for the Galaxy, and US Soccer, in broader terms, cannot be overstated. The presence of HDC has been a key factor in bringing a well-deserved second team to the LA area, and the arrival of Beckham - like him or not - has been great for the league (despite what the foreign soccer pundits write, e.g., "Mickey Mouse league")... for example, the presence of names like Beckham immediately makes MLS a good league to come and play in for good (but not superstar) Latin American players - that immediately raises the level of soccer here.

Leiweke has also started lobbying (correctly in my opinion) for not having DP salaries count anything towards the cap - when this happens, LAG will have nearly 800K more with which they can attract better quality players to improve the overall quality of the team.

Trailblazers are always blamed for the short-term losses... I think that in the long run (~ 4-5 yrs even), the arrival of Beckham, the building of HDC, etc. will be huge for US Soccer, MLS, and yes, the LA Galaxy.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

And, I think LA Galaxy can acheive it given more appropriate salary cap and better players. Is that wrong to ask?

No, it's certainly not wrong to ask. But if the Galaxy's FO didn't manage the current salary cap effectively, what makes anybody think that more cap money is the answer?

Look at Chicago. Cuauhtemoc Blanco is a DP. Theoretically, his salary counts against the Fire's cap the same as Beckham's against the Galaxy's cap. Yet Chicago managed to build a sound defense and get players who can (at least, potentially) complement Blanco (as in McBride).

Why couldn't the Galaxy do the same? Because Lalas, Leiweke and Gullit were (and, in Leiweke's case, is) total incompetents when it came to cap management.

Look at whom the Galaxy brought in when it had the space: Abel Xavier, Celetine Babayaro and Eduardo Dominguez. Not exactly the reincarnations of Dan Calichman and Robin Fraser, are they?

Why do you think Leiweke whines about the salary cap? For the same reason he blamed the players for Lalas' and Gullit's failures when they were let go: He refuses to take any personal responsibility for his own decisions (or non-decisions, such as letting 19 Entertainment hire Gullit).

Diane said...

With all of the talk about how Galaxy players (and as far as I'm concerned the scapegoated Frank Yallop) had to be able to "handle" the additional spotlight that came with Beckham. Its management -- both Galaxy and MLS -- that wasn't ready. The players would have been fine if Beckham's injury had been handled with an ounce of honesty (and decency) and if they had any continuity whatsoever. Some of the world's "greatest" players have wilted, and still do, on much less bumpy rides. I'm incredibly impressed with how some of the much maligned younger players have stepped up, successfully or not.

Whether you're a Galaxy fan or not, its not fun to see players/coaches wasted. Hopefully Arena brings some stability and brings a functional team into the league next season. The first sign to me will how he handles exhibition matches; how many miles to play who on a pitch you can't walk on? Hope to hear "no" a little more.

RHYbread said...

@Diane Exhibition matches against random teams are here to stay as long as Beckham is on the team. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a clause written into his contract calling for a number for pre-season exhibitions to be played for marketting purposes every year.

Diane said...

Yeah there is a clause, come to think of it, I remember hearing about it when he first signed. I didn't think much of it because "marquee" players in Europe have them and at least Donovan probably as well.

As fans we complain about injuries and impact those junkets on pre-season. Barcelona and Real Madrid each almost sunk themselves for a few years following grueling pre-seasons combined with summer tournaments. Interesting that Alex Ferguson (who I can't bear -- sorry ManU fans) only begrudgingly sees his players off for international duty, and keeps a tight reign on club travel.

Hopefully someone can at least take a look at whether the pitches and/or itineraries are safe when the Galaxy travel. I'm not holding my breath though.