Los Angeles Galaxy 2007 Review: The Cubic Zirconia of MLS

I hope everyone had a good Turkey Day and watched lots of futbol Americano (it’s what God wants you to do on Thanksgiving…trust me). It’s good to be back.

Los Angeles Galaxy
Record (W-L-T): 9-14-7; 38 GF, 48 GA
Source Material: Schedule/match reports

Overview

The simple presence of the David Beckham Singularity means only the rankest of Major League Soccer (MLS) neophytes doesn’t know the sorry tale of the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 2007. Once everyone, the Galaxy players included, digested the fact that league officials had abused LA’s schedule to the point of cruelty, winning the early games seemed important to the team’s success. When that didn’t pan out – to the tune of going 1-3-3 through April and May – “panic” items of all sorts were punched, pulled, yanked, prayed to, etc. Out went names from the familiar – Tyrone Marshall, Shavar Thomas, and Nate “Damned Lucky” Jaqua – to the promising and obscure – Robbie Findley and Nate Sturgis – and in came a stable of familiar, perhaps underwhelming names like Edson Buddle, Chris Klein, Kelly Gray, and Carlos Pavon. They picked up a more impressive name/trade with Portuguese defender Abel Xavier, but he stands as a near-exception in a season of head-scratching trades.

The upshot of all that horse-trading – based, for the record, on the assumption that these were players of “character” up to handling Life with Beckham – was a 3-5-4 record in league play heading into the All-Star break and a long layoff from league play. Then came Beckham…and that’s when things really started sucking.

The yo-yo tale of Beckham’s pair of injuries, the fans burned by semi-coercive ticket packages built around seeing Beckham, and, most significantly, the distraction of too many friendlies, too many games (league plus Superliga, etc.) – all these familiar talking points – coincided with/caused a downright horrifying August and September, when the Galaxy set a standard for incompetence that had many viewing them as the worst team in MLS. It seemed LA GM’ Alexi Lalas’ “gem” was a cubic zirconia. Continue reading

EPL Daily 11.12: Ronaldo, Betnley, and Becks in Minnesota.

Cristiano Ronaldo provided the goals, Ryan Giggs the creative spark as Manchester United beat a tough Blackburn squad, 2-0. Brad Friedel was great in goal, but the Devils poured it on – despite Anderson’s passing problems in the midfield (Paul Scholes was sorely missed and if they were playing Chelsea/Arsenal/Liverpool, that would have certainly been exposed). Nemanja Vidic was a beast in back yet again. Sir Alex Ferguson’s viewing of the match caused him to burst of gushy sentiments.

Beckham played and assisted Edson Buddle’s goal in a 1-1 friendly tie vs. the Minnesota Thunder. Game was played in front of a little over 20,000 and was the second of the Galaxy’s pre-season tour which will now cross the globe. Copa Minnesota was a success, Beckham was beaming (probably due to his recent call-up for a Euro decider with Croatia), but with the USMNT’s friendly coming up against South Africa, Landon Donovan might have to sit it out due to calf strain suffered during the game. Beckham will meet up with England later this week in Austria.

Could be Tottenham’s revival or the simple fact that they were playing Wigan…either way, it was a 4-0 drubbing for the Spurs – led by Jermaine Jenas’ brace. Wigan has hit rock-bottom with the firing of Chris Hutchings, while Juande Ramos could be the answer to Spur supporters prayers.

Luke Freeman – Gillingham striker – ever heard of him? Doubt it – the 15 year old debuted for the Championship squad in an FA matchup against Barnet. Freeman played the last 10 minutes in a tense 2-1 loss which sparked the Gills manager to a public tirade afterwards. Despite getting chewed out by his gaffer, I’m sure there was still a smile on his face after becoming the youngest ever to play in an FA match.

Isn’t it depressing that David Bentley can’t get his name spelled right by his own team’s staff??? Bentley’s shirt read ‘Betnley’ against Manchester United this past Saturday.

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Superliga Final: Joy, Pride, The Moment

Life gave me a hard, unwelcome shag last night: I won’t bore you with the details on the assumption that you don’t want to hear them; the main thing is, this will be (comparatively) brief and I won’t be posting today with my accustomed relish and volume.

Taking the nouns in the sub-title in order:

JOY
To my delight, the online video feed worked flawlessly last night: no hiccupping video, no long pauses, not even an pixilation.  Instead, I enjoyed smooth, TV-esque viewing.  Huzzah!

PRIDE
Coping with the aftermath of that shag meant I caught the game from the 60th minute forward.  While I can’t speak to the first half, I’ll celebrate the second, when I saw one of Major League Soccer’s (MLS) worst teams give one of Mexico’s best an entirely respectable fight.  Good on ya, Los Angeles.  All y’all played to the credit of the league.

THE MOMENT
Raise your hand if you thought Landon Donovan wasn’t the guy to take the decisive penalty kick.  My hand is raised.

Here’s the thing: I literally jumped out of my chair when Pachuca’s player shanked his attempt off the crossbar.  This was ME cheering for LA, for crissakes.  But then I saw Donovan, who had spent some time before taking his kick getting his legs limbered by a trainer; no less significant are the very reasonable doubts regarding Donovan’s composure under pressure.

But the question lurking behind that one poses no less a problem: if not Donovan, then who?  That Abel Xavier, a defender, stepped up and fluffed the following PK makes it hard to figure where else one might look.  After looking at MLSnet.com’s match report and reviewing the names of the eleven players on the field at the relevant time, I confess myself stumped.  As captain from the BB era (that’s Before Beckham), Donovan really had to take that kick.  I just wish he didn’t.

The biggest surprise for me, though, was Edson Buddle’s kick.  Holy crap, son.  Where did that come from?

Well, CF Pachuca takes the first Superliga title.  So be it.  I’m mainly glad it was a good game and look forward to next year’s.