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A Supporter’s View: The Los Angeles Galaxy


Hopeless to hopeful. That was the path traveled by Los Angeles Galaxy fans last Thursday night after watching the Galaxy rebound from a season-opening thrashing by Colorado to post as sorely-needed win in its home debut.

David Beckham and Landon Donovan scored, helping to remind their fans that they still have the firepower to do damage when needed. The Galaxy needed it against a San Jose squad that had its own offensive issues.

So who are the real Galaxy anyway? The team embarrassed by the Rapids, or the squad that put together a quality performance (Alan Gordon fumblings aside) in beating San Jose?

SBI Correspondent Nathan Henderson-James was the Home Depot Center last Thursday for the victory and shares his thoughts on the match (Feel free to provide your reaction to Nathan’s piece in the comments section below):

From zeros to heroes, Beckham and Co. wake up

By Nathan Henderson-James

I watched the thoroughly enjoyable, if not always compelling, LA-SJ game with one thought just lurking below all the action: "It’s a really good thing San Jose plays like an expansion team." I loved watching the team play, especially after that mess in Colorado. But any team that can string together any sequence of passes in the midfield and has even half a striker will be big trouble.

On the one hand Thursday night’s game showed a glimmer of what a Beckham – Donovan partnership can deliver; it was no accident that all the scoring came with them involved. On the other hand, if Alan Gordon is the other option up top with Carlos Ruiz injured, I’m getting flashbacks to 2007. Without the benefits of a misspent youth.

Point of personal pique: What kind of forward stops to tie his shoes with the play taking place in the offensive third of the field? You can’t go commando for 30 seconds with a possible goal on the line? PS.
You might also want to look into this thing called "one-timing" a shot in the box. Just sayin’.

There were some good things besides the marquee players: Pires looks to be a bruiser and disruptor in the middle, the right side combo of Klein, Becks, and Donovan looks potent, and Sean Franklin’s play was encouraging.

But then there were those things that made me thankful that San Jose wasn’t defying the expansion team expectations. Ely Allen is still just a step behind the game, forever chasing. Mike Randolph’s crosses are just as likely to hit the defender as they are to get into the box. Brandon McDonald needs to remember that you can cover more ground by staying on your feet. Alvaro Pires’ touch and distribution need a lot more work. And my best friend Alan Gordon, despite a prodigious workrate and the ability to (almost always) get into great positions, still has feet of concrete and the first touch of a chainsaw.

No matter. The Galaxy beat San Jose thoroughly and it felt really, really good. But that niggling feeling of papered-over inadequacy, made me think about recent Galaxy history and I think I pin-pointed when the whole thing went higgledy-piggledy: Doug Hamilton firing Sigi Schmidt while the Galaxy was in first place. He might has been able to pull that one back despite compounding the problem by hiring Steve
Sampson, but then he died. The Lalas regime, since making the easy decision to end the Sampson era, hasn’t exactly been the model front office.

I say all that because I want to continue feeling good when I leave the HDC. If the Galaxy isn’t going to win, I want them to at least play with heart, the way the finished out last year. They aren’t playing
with heart yet. And I want the front office to approach this year with a measured and calm touch. Let the team figure out how to be a team. Then they’ll play with heart ‘cuz they’ll be playing for each other.
And if we can have that plus Becks, Landon, and Fish on the field at the same time, well, it just won’t matter how the other team plays.


  1. Do we really think our boys will be mistaken for gals? If so we have bigger problems than loose laces. (Which may be why commenters strangely focused on that.) Either way, this is why football clubs have FC at the end, so that a team like the G-Gals could be written as GFC in a hurry.

    I liked your article, especially the ending, a lot.

  2. I’m not a Galaxy supporter but I find it unlikely they will be better than last year. If anything their opening day roster looks weaker overall. However, they may do better than 2007 as last year the injury toll was among the worst in the league (next to Toronto).

    I can’t see how any team with three maximum salary players can compete. Take this as an example.

    Pick which team of six players you’d want on your roster:

    Team 1:

    David Beckham, Carlos Ruiz and four developmental players (you know, the guys that were drafted 71st through 120th in the draft)


    Team 2:

    Cannon, Albright, Shavar Thomas, Tyrone Marshall, Marcelo Saragosa and Paulo Nakamura.

    Which would you prefer as they have the same salary cap value?

    Yeah, I’d go with team 2. Not because Ruiz and Beckham aren’t marquis players. Rather by picking up one excellent player, you lose three good ones. In a long season in a harsh climate, depth is best.

    Don’t foresee playoffs this year.

  3. Oh yeah, on the preferential treatment… I’m not gonna get into that at least for awhile. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that I was living in the Bay Area for 9 years and only decided I needed to follow MLS again in 2004 – which meant the Quakes – I don’t know enough to comment.

    “Documented and completely factual”? Send me some links and I’ll explore. Preferably from objective people who don’t hate the Galaxy just because they are the Galaxy.

  4. Kpugs,

    I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of “one-timing the shot” in futbol. This could be that I’m just repeating sophomoric comments made by guys like that hilariously amateur play-by-play guy who called the Rapids-Wizards game last week. That guy was awesome.

    But I’m also pretty sure I’ve never heard anyone say “he one-touched the shot”. I’ve heard of one-touch passes, though.

    What am I saying here? Not much, other than one-time sounded right in my ears.

  5. Great comments.

    I espeically agree with what you had to say about when it all went wrong for the G’s…firing Schmid. The past few years have been painful to watch, although the 2005 double was a bright spot, even if it did come under the Sampson regime.

    However, your best comment was “Let the team figure out how to be a team.” The big mistake last year was that every week Lalas was trying to bring somebody new in to try and fix the thing. They were never a team. Lalas brought these guys in, he now needs to give them time to develop together. It’s not the losses that bother me, it’s the feeling that the team has no direction. Well, OK, the losses bother me, too, but the other thing more so.

    Great article, look forward to reading more.

    Viva la Riot Squad!!!

  6. This was an entertaining post, thank you.

    The only comments I have is that you “one-time” in hockey. In soccer it’s one touch.

    Also I was hoping to get a take from an L.A. fan on how they get preferential treatment from the league. And I’m not being bitter…it’s documented and completely factual. I don’t know how I would feel if my team was treated that way–I guess I’d like it.

  7. Appreciate all the feedback. Keep it coming. Feel free to let me know what you think, positive or negative, about my writing or the Galaxy.

    One comment on “objectivity”. It’s probably giving me more credit than I deserve to hit me with that description. I try to be even handed, but at some point I’m sure I’m not going to want to step back and be all stentorian and “thus it was so”.

    On Alan Gordon. I think your 10-year old has sharp preception. Maybe she should be a scout. Or an ESPN commentator.

    Finally, I didn’t understand the uncomfortability with the “Gals” construction until I really thought about it.

    Once I did, I have to admit my initial thought was that ya’ll might maybe want to get just a teensy-weensy bit more comfortable with your own conception of the masculine.

    After all, in the realm of world futbol, the only US team with a world championship has balls made of ovaries.

    But then I realized that was a totally sissy way to approach the issue and rather than be a wuss about it, I’m shaping up and flying right.

    *spits tobacco juice and adjusts athletic supporter*

    Seriously, though, its “G’s” from now on.

  8. Nice article. I love the Gordon comments.

    The fact that he covered lots of ground and was in good position most of the game makes me think that this kid has potential. Lets give him a chance and see if he grows, hopefully he wont follow the example of Eddie Johnson who still has feet of concrete.

  9. Nathan,

    Good job. I second the “gals” comments. What does this board think of projected lineups/man of the match selections?

  10. Yeah, isn’t “Gals” a term used by fans of other teams that hate us? Maybe try using “G’s” instead.

    Otherwise, nice write up.

  11. I enjoyed what you wrote, however “Gals”?!?!…. geez might as well call em Zeppos or Chachis…..”Gals” sounds very amateur, please refrain from using that again…EVER!

    Now, on Gordon having the touch of a chainsaw -I’d say it’s more like the TOUCH OF RAPIST!!! How he still on the team is beyond me.

    Whenever I see Gordon with the ball I find myself yelling “Big Kick, Big Kick!!” Not to mention having my 10 year old say that he was amateur for not having his laces tied and not be able to finish his chances.

    My daughter is either a very astute fan or Gordon truly sucks, so much so that a 10 year old girl can see it.

    If you ask me Gordon is an A league player at best.

  12. Great article, good to see a balanced and realistic notion of the Galaxy current state rather than the over hyped smorgasbord we received from the ESPN commentators on Thursday night (sorry to slam your colleagues Mr. Ives). The key issue I see this year is that the Galaxy doesn’t have a coach that is experienced with the US game and the US culture which is very very different from outsiders’ perceptions.

    With the Galaxy being the face of the MLS I am very concerned that they will implode this year and the MLS will get main stream media attention for all the wrong reasons.

  13. hey james good stuff,nice to read something written by an objective galaxy supporter who actually attends the games and gives his objective opinions without being a homer.keep it up bro,thanks…

  14. Great article, I like how you offered analysis on multiple players instead of going on rants like some of the other new writers

    I know this is unrelated but I can’t find a answer anywhere. I’m doing MLS Fantasy in Ives league but I noticed NE and KC play two games this week(Wed and Sat). Does that mean players playing in both games can get double points for my team?

    Also do you have a team Ives? What’s it called?


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