Nearly 24 hours have passed since the LA Galaxy were bounced prematurely from the CONCACAF Champions League, and I've decided that it is indeed a debacle.
This was something the Galaxy had invested heavily in, this tournament. The Galaxy fancy themselves a global club, a brand, an identity that goes beyond your average MLS club. Their brand transcends borders - they're quick to point out that no other MLS club could stage an Asian tour like the Galaxy can. Theirs is the big club, the super club, the jewel of the league, right?
And yet, there goes the Galaxy, out in the quarterfinal phase of the CONCACAF Champions League, ousted by a team that's never made the MLS playoffs, that is an afterthought in the league. An also ran. Supposedly, right?
What went wrong is up for debate. You can blame the defense. Tommy Meyer was not as solid as he could have been and neither was AJ De La Garza. Todd Dunivant drew the ire of David Beckham while Bruce Arena said afterward that Sean Franklin was gassed.
You can also blame the offense. Robbie Keane looked timid and hesitant inside the box and saw one excellent opportunity turned away. Landon Donovan also had a chance inside the area but saw the ball get away from him, then could not get the official to bite on a dive.
You might even blame the officiating. Mike Magee was incorrectly ruled offside on a play that saw him find the back of the net. Who knows how that would have affected the outcome, though?
You can definitely blame Bruce Arena. He said he mishandled the lineup on Saturday vs. RSL, then turned around and sent nearly the same lineup out against Toronto FC.
Wherever you place the blame, though, this is a debacle. Absolutely without question. Had the Galaxy gone out in the semifinal round, then perhaps it wouldn't be so much. If they had gone out against a Mexican club in the quarterfinals, it is understandable.
But against Toronto FC? That's just unacceptable.
Now, this is not an anti-Toronto FC post. Like a lot of others, I quickly have become a believer in Toronto FC. Danny Koevermans is the real deal and if Torsten Frings plays the entire season on defense, he's definitely a Defender of the Year candidate... frontrunner even.
But Toronto FC aren't heavy favorites to win MLS Cup. The Galaxy, with all their glitz and glamor, are. That the Galaxy failed to win under those circumstances screams debacle.