The Team Alexi Has Built: A Visual Reaction

My first attempt at capturing the spirit of this game was a sketch of me covering my eyes, an appropriate choice because that’s how I watched the the final fifteen minutes of the Los Angeles Galaxy’s season opener. But the image at left, which captures my reaction to the Colorado Rapids’ third goal and the degenerating mess that was LA, poses the question that came to me at the time: what the frank was Alexi Lalas thinking when he built this team? Max Bretos (or was it Christopher Sullivan) said enough when he wondered aloud what good it does LA to have three all-stars in the front line when they don’t have the players behind them to get the ball upfield.

Some other quotes, this time from Bretos, as he watched the game:

“Like lambs to the slaughter….”
(Just before Colin Clark’s goal, which Colorado’s fourth.)

“Like a hot knife through butter.”
(Right after Clark’s goal. And it was that bad.)

Without laboring the point, something I’ll be doing later on the Rapids Offside, I want to kick an idea out there: how is Alexi Lalas still employed? And isn’t it just a little insulting to your understanding of the game that he still is? This is just a guess, but I’m thinking if you ran the roster and some video past, oh, 85% of soccer fans they’d immediately question both the roster and the assumptions behind it. I mean, there’s taking risks (driving fast) and there’s being just plain stupid (driving fast and stumbling drunk…toward a brickwall…probably one with that big picture of Beckham in underwear).

The painful thing is, the weakness is exactly where everyone expected it – even if I’m pretty confident no one anticipated the degree of the problems. It’s important to put this in perspective: LA just had their defense mauled by the Colorado Rapids. Yes, one of the worst offensive teams from just one year ago…and one missing a bunch of starters to boot. Michael Gavin is, quite possibly, the worst left-back in MLS; Abel Xavier is starting to show his age (did you see what Colin Clark did to him? Sheesh.): but, generally, they’re disorganized, unsure of their roles, they may not be collectively competent for all I know…just a friggin’ mess.

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9 Responses

  1. While I agree with you on so many things, I have this question for you and everyone else bashing Alexi?

    Why do people assume he’s calling the shots?

    I’m not trying to defend him. I just believe he keeps a job because his job isn’t to build a soccer team. I think his job is to build awareness by being a loud-mouthed bufoon. He does that well.

    I think LA’s player personnel issues have more to do with complete disarray in the “who does what” area than they do with Alexi’s decisions.

    Again, I’m not defending him, just throwing out the theory that he’s not the only one who made this team this so bad.

  2. If any team truly needs a “Director of Soccer,” or whatever it is Agoos does for NY Red Bull, it’s the Gals. Let Alexi continue to be the Court Jester of Buffonery for the Gals and MLS, but take away the keys to the car for chrissakes (gotta keep th methaphor going).

  3. Fair point, Brian. And, assuming your version of reality is correct, he is good at what he does.

    I base that on pieces I’ve read about Lalas and Frank Yallop busting heads through 2007 over player selection and signings; I assumed from there that it was Alexi who brought in players.

    That said, I’m nothing like insider-y enough to say for sure who’s calling the shots. So, with that in mind, think of the “Alexi” named in this article as whomever was responsible for personnel decisions in LA – ’cause that dude is an idiot.

  4. The way I see it is that Lieweke and now Gullit bring in the big names and Bravo and Alexi have to figure out how to fill in the rest of the gaps.

    Before this year, I would have given Alexi a lot of credit (blame?) for the makeup of the team, but now with Gullit there, I really doubt they are letting Alexi make too many decisions except when it’s something Ruud feels he doesn’t need to lower himself to choose who will be on a developmental deal.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think Alexi is there so they can sell sponsorships and tickets and get their name in the paper. Regardless, whoever makes the personnel decisions is a fool. As a DC fan, I say keep ’em in LA! 🙂

  5. RP — They have one. Paul Bravo.

  6. how do you spell dysfunctional? look under “Los Angeles Galaxy”… if I lived in LA it would be a great time to go watch the real futbol team in LA… Chivas

    I wouldn’t blame beckman if he gave the money back and left town! what a circus trying to label itself a soccer team!

    I realize the stadiums are full when you-know-who is in town, but sooner or later the fans are going to wise up and watch him on tv… save your money!

    thank goodness we have several MLS teams working diligently at improving the quality of their product.

  7. Poll of the week: Who will get fired first, Fernando Clavijo or Alexi Lalas?

  8. The stadiums were full even before Beckham came to town. It’s just the make-up of the crowd that has changed, along with the ticket prices.

  9. LA’s keeper didn’t belong out there. I didn’t bother remembering his name because I doubt I’ll see him again.

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