If you are an LA Galaxy fan, I feel your pain right now. I feel the frustration. I feel the broken cell phones and the damaged flat screen TVs. I feel that dark cloud that has fallen on top of you. I imagine that your questions are much like mine:
“How could a team with David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane not be ridiculously successful?”
Having covered the Galaxy religiously for the last three years, I can honestly answer, “I no idea.”
But I can tell you what frustrated me with tonight’s game.
- Beckham – He is driving me crazy. I know he has a great long ball. But guess what? So does everyone else in the league. STOP PLAYING THE LONG BALL BECKS! It’s really not that difficult. Beckham recedes to the back line and then tries to distribute from there. The problem is the further he gets toward the back line, which was most of the first half, the more difficult it is to link up with the strikers and the midfielders. His success in the second half came from – wait for it – playing in the actual midfield. His positioning, so much further up the field, allowed his passes to be on the ground. He played Donovan to his feet. He played Keane to his feet. The long ball works, but only when other teams don’t expect it. And his free kick for a goal was nice, but honestly you can’t count on those.
- All Galaxy Players, you don’t have to pass it to Beckham, or Keane for that matter. Too often the younger players defer to the “Stars.” I am all for playing the ball through these guys, but don’t just pass it to them because they say so. Pass to them because they are open, in a position to make a play and genuinely in the flow of the game.
- Bruce starts Keat at Defensive mid. Why? Why in god’s name do you start Keat there? We have 3 center backs. One of them sucks (Boyens), one of them is large and kinda sucks (Lopes), and one of them is young and doesn’t suck as bad (Meyer). But all of those guys are a better choice than Dan Keat. Keat of course is the reason the Galaxy played most of the game down 1-0. Give someone some constancy. In fact, I am going to help Bruce out. Start Meyer. He has the most upside and he is more intimidating than the diminutive ginger.
- With Michael Stephens, you never know what you’re going to get. We wasted a sub on Stephens. He was horrible. Mike Magee needs to be in this game from the time the whistle sounds.
- Sarvas is the attacking Midfielder we need sometimes. And that may mean Juninho and/or Becks is going to have to come off the field. I don’t care. He is an offensive threat and he would have scored if not for Donovan Ricketts and his excellent save.
- Landon Donovan plays up top. It’s about time.
- Robbie Keane can’t hit a one timer. Just shoot the ball Robbie. I promise, good things will happen. Just throw it out there. No more cut backs. No more step overs. Just wind up that right foot and hit it.
- Edson Buddle, I know you were injured, so you get a pass. But don’t think I didn’t notice your complete lack of cohesion with the offense in almost every game you have played this year. You are making Chad Barrett look like a savior. Dave Denholm finds that very funny, trust me.
- Galaxy Defense – I am ready to give up. Find something that kind of works and stick with it. Also, we need a shutout. People at the Home Depot Center have forgotten what “Camping Chicken” taste like. Get us Chicken. We need it. It makes us feel better.
- Galaxy Midfield – Don’t let David get the ball behind the defense. Play the ball on the ground. It works.
- Galaxy Strikers – Find a target and let it rip. I don’t care if it’s in traffic. I don’t care if we get a shot on goal, but bottom line is the more you shoot, the better chance we have of scoring.
- Bruce Arena – Figure out a way to actually “coach” this team. I am more and more convinced that there is no “plan” in the 1st half of games. I don’t care how good our possession was in the first half. I don’t care how well composed we were. All I care about is going into a half tied 0-0 or winning 1-0. I would love to see what this team could do when they have a lead to defend.
Maybe I am completely off base in my assertion that a draw isn’t okay. The bottom line is that we are sitting well outside a playoff spot. And unless we start getting 3 points on a regular basis, the hole we are digging will be too deep to crawl out of come October.
Losing in the playoffs is one thing. Not making the playoffs after winning a championship is a completely different thing. And make no mistake about it, Bruce Arena needs to start putting his stamp on this team. Get it done, Bruce. We know you are a genius, now make this team understand that you are a genius. They obviously have forgotten in the offseason.
Next week is the “Away” game versus Chivas USA. We have a chance to come out with fire in our bellies. We have a chance to break the will of a team that is ready to turn on their coach. Make it happen. Losing to Chivas is never acceptable.
The path towards redemption starts next weekend. I really don’t know how much longer the fans can be expected to wait for this team. Relatively little has changed since last year. But somehow everything has changed. Right the ship. Get the fans behind you. Win a championship no one expects now.