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.