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Galaxy fires Lalas, Ruud Gullit resigns

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In a stunning, though not completely surprising turn of events at the Los Angeles Galaxy, both Ruud Gullit head coach and team president Alexi Lalas are looking for new jobs.

The Galaxy fired Lalas on Monday, the same day Gullit resigned as head coach. Tom Payne takes over as the Galaxy’s president while long-time Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones takes over as interim head coach in the midst of his first season as an assistant after retiring last season.

A seven-match winless streak provided the final straw for Galaxy ownership, which saw one of the league’s most high-profile clubs fall in danger of missing the playoffs for a third straight season.

When I asked the question a week ago about whose head would roll in Los Angeles, I imagined a scenario that might see both men leave the Galaxy, but to see LA actually set these events in motion this quickly shows that AEG was as angry with the situation as rumors were suggesting.

I questioned Gullit’s hiring from the door, remembering all the high-profile coaches who struggled and eventually failed in MLS.

As for Lalas, it appears the third time was the charm for a man who’d struggled at running three different clubs (San Jose, New York and Los Angeles). Ever the showman, Lalas had the charisma, charm and soccer-playing resume to be a leader, but his actually leadership of teams proved detrimental everywhere he went. Anschutz Entertainment Group gave Lalas every one of his opportunities, but finally cut ties after several failed experiments.

What do you think of the news? Shocked? Happy? Sad? Think it’s about time?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. the end of an era… Of a circus, of sexy football as we know it. What’d the next slogan LAG will come up with? Homo football? Well it was Gullit who came up with the sexy football thing so just for that.. I’m glad he’s gone.

  2. the next LAG coach will be…Rongen the Dutch guy I’m almost 100% sure either him or B Arena. I was at giants stadium watching RB vs DC and there was Rongen watching.. Soccer and current MLS? Updating himself? Hmmmm I got a feeling this might be the guy AEG are thinking of…knows MLS too. Hope I’m wrong.. Personally I also think Mariner would be great. As for Lalas all I can say, is that I personally single him out for other countries not respecting MLS/US soccer.. All they see is the GM who once as a player wore a horrendous goatie and played the guitar how can they take us seriously right?

  3. I don’t consider myself a smart man, but I’m going to have to go out on a limb and declare with some certaintly that Lalas is definitely NOT “the greatest thing that has happened to MLS!”

    I think you need to lay off the reefer.

  4. @MiamiAI Drugs are nice, but stick to the weekends, ok? Lalas is a POS GM and President. His bombast translated well to the field but not to the front office. Who knows, he might be a good coach if he so wanted, but I don’t think an MLS team would touch him now. Their fans would crucify the,.

  5. Alexi Lalas was the greatest thing that has happened to MLS! He brought the most known english speaking (sort of) superstar to our league, and he did it two years before many thought it would be feasible. Whatever people want to say about him, MLS and American soccer fans owe him some gratitude as he has made it possible for us to dream that someday our domestic product could be a top tier operation-(stress COULD BE). Lalas WILL be back. That is a promise! He has too much experience within the structure of American soccer and MLS to be sitting out.

    Cobi Jones was a solid move. Cobi will be an excellent coach (he should be at least as good a coach as Romario!) I think he should play while he is at it.

  6. @”THE NICK”….”Does this mean Lalas will now move into the media, where I feel he is more suited to promote this great game of ours in this ignorant country?” If it’s so ignorant why are you here? morons like you make people PUKE

  7. The timing is odd. Usually the firing takes place shortly after the game, not a week later. I wonder if there was a dust-up that caused Gullit to resign. Did Gullit resign first or was Lalas fired first? That’s not entirely clear.

  8. I know it’s been said ad nauseum, but I just want to join the horde of people agreeing that Lalas is a moron who possesses that deadly combination of a silver tongue and an empty skull.

    Thank you. Please continue.

  9. THANK GOD!! I’m happy AEG is smarter than James Dolan (Knicks, NBA) and that Gullit’s condescending butt is outta here. Let’s find a real managerial staff and get to playin some serious footy! Go Galaxy!!

    Side note: Could Becks become the first MLS player-coach?? haha jk… sort of…

  10. Evidence that Leiweke is a total scumbag, from his own remarks:

    “The fact is, the players have to look deep inside themselves and understand they have to be responsible for some of this.”

    Players don’t make personnel decisions, Timmy. Neither do they decide to be a “superclub” before they have the resources to do so. Management does, Timmy. That means you, asshole! You hired Lalas in the first place despite the fact that he demonstrated neither business acumen nor the ability to evaluate talent. And you let Beckham’s handlers hire Gullit, despite his complete lack of familiarity w/American soccer.

    “Am I angry we find ourselves in the situation we find ourselves in? Yes. This is not a fun week. The Galaxy hasn’t made the playoffs for a couple years. Punting on this season is not acceptable. It starts Thursday.”

    You punted on this season when you kept Lalas, allowed Xavier to stay and allowed Gullit to be hired, Timmy.

    “I appreciate Cobi’s stepping in. The one guy’s loyalty and passion over there I don’t question is his. I think we have eliminated any and all excuses now. No one can point any fingers.”

    So, Timmy, are you questioning Beckham’s “loyalty and passion”? Aren’t you BFF’s w/him and his agent?

    “Alexi’s been with us a long time. I’m very appreciative of everything he’s done for the Galaxy. That one is painful…You can’t blame Alexi entirely. I do think we need a fresh start.”

    Despite the fact that Lalas didn’t know how to operate under a salary cap, couldn’t judge talent and was the person most responsible for turning this franchise into a laughing stock, you call his firing “painful,” Timmy? Maybe it pains you because it demonstrates that you have no ability to evaluate executive talent?!?!?

    Then again, we all know what you did for the Kings, don’t we, Timmy?

    Do us a favor, you ignorant schweinhund: Stop blaming others and look in the mirror. This debacle has your fingerprints all over it.

    While you’re at it, consider yourself fortunate that you do not live in medieval Japan. After your incompetent management, you would be the perfect candidate for seppuku.

  11. Nero burned Rome. LA is done for the season thanks to the impatience of their management. As a veteran of a few management turnovers in NY, I’m pretty comfortable in saying this lack of stability in LA will not produce better results. Sorry.

  12. P.S. Lalas was / is a loud-mouth bombastic moron, so firing him was definitely a good move.

    I am a bit more ambivalent about Gullit. He was a great player and learning from someone of that quality had to be good for the young players. The problem is that at least based on what’s been reported, Gullit had trouble accepting a few unfortunate realities of a young (and often bizarre) league, like the MLS. I sympathize, but if you agree to coach here, you have to take the bad with the good, be ready to adjust, and be constructive about the bad. So, if Gullit was that unhappy here, may be it is best for everyone to go their separate ways.

  13. I think it is a good move for the Galaxy. Perhaps, especially if Jones works out as a coach, they can tone down the circus and start playing the game. In between all this nonsense, they have a few good players (Beckham, Buddle, Donovan) and some serviceable ones (Klein).

    Also, If I were the Galaxy, I’d actively encourage Donovan to look for a European move. The guy needs to jump-start his career, and the team needs cash to buy a couple more serviceable defenders (non-DP quality). I bet that if they look high and low in USL / PDL, they can find a defender or two, who could play better than Xavier or Troy Roberts.

  14. Oh, yes, in my previous message it said fired. Who thinks he did NOT see the writing on the wall and resigned for no other reason? Come on, he saw it coming down the pipe and typed that letter fast.

  15. Hmmmm. A coach who moves the league’s leading scorer to a midfield/winger position gets fired? What was going to be next–Buddle to central defender? No shock.

  16. It is a shame Gullit has to go, I think he was a positive influence on the league and brought a level of tactical awareness and international credibility many of the current MLS coaches don’t. I would love to see him go to another MLS club but it is unlikely if the stories of his frustration with the MLS system are true. I would love to see him take over for Tom Soehn at DC with players better suited for his style, and also that way the coaches post game analysis would consist of more than “I don’t think the guys brought enough effort for 90 minutes and that is dissapointing.” Thanks coach very insightful.

  17. Though it sounds like firing Lalas was a good move (based on the comments above), I am sad to see Gullit go. I feel like the quality of play improved this year and that Gullit had a hand in that. Unfortunately, the defensive play didn’t match the improvements elsewhere on the pitch, so here we are. That said, let’s hope that things settle down. I would love to see Cobi have some success, but unfortunately none of today’s employee changes solves the core problem on the field: a lack of an effective defensive line.

  18. Sorry to post twice in a row, but cmon people, are you just reading the headline, and not actually paying attention to the story? Gullit was not fired. He resigned.

  19. I hate to say it but I’d take Lalas over Mo Johnston…

    Posted by: Aljarov | August 11, 2008 at 03:21 PM

    Seriously, dude!?

  20. Perhaps the greater problem is with ownership.. This Tim Leiweke character, with his macho locker room speaches and incessant finger pointing, seems like a world class buffoon. An empty suit. A corporate tool. Nice to have corporate support for US soccer, but if you DEMAND immediate results while focusing on marketing synergies, you get half-baked quick fixes.

  21. As a follow-on to my earlier post, does anyone know if Ruud got sick of the whole circus and really left on his own, rather than getting fired?

  22. Wow – Firing Ruud? I think it’s crazy to dump a coach after 1 season, let alone one half season. Look at the improvement in LA’s offense…while their D still sucks, that’s no different than last year. So Ruud has improved their team 50% (!, roughly speaking) in the short time he’s been there.

    Seriously, though, coaches need time to get their system in place. If you look @ Houston & NE, they have had remarkable consistency in coaching…and success has followed. AEG — make a decision and stick w/it!

  23. Lalas for the next President of the USSF. You heard it here first.

    And Matt, the argument there would be that with LD gone, they’d have 325K in cap space to beef up the defense. Of course, with contracts guaranteed, that argument’s pretty much dead; if he leaves in the offseason though, the Galaxy would have an opportunity then to build some depth for next year.

    Of course, the smarter thing to do would be to get rid of Ruiz, who would free up just as much space, but wouldn’t lose the Galaxy anything other than a diver who’s scored a total of one goal this season–that’s less than Alan “Snowshoes” Gordon.

    I hope Cobi gets a chance to try and pull the team together with himself at the helm before AEG go out and try to find a Ruud Replacement. I’d take Cobi over Bruce Arena any day.

  24. I couldn’t be any happier that Lalas got fired. I’m not so sure if it was fair to get rid of Gullit. I understand he had problems with MLS rules, the reserves, the draft, and the lack of talent in the game (I read several interviews where he said he spends much of his time teaching tactics to players who should already know them). Whether he researched the league or not the Galaxy did hire him. This was the team Alexi Lalas built and Gullit should have been given the year to finish out the season.

    So who gets hired to replace Gullit? I read a lot of posts of people calling for Bruce Arena. Is he really the right fit for the team? Or should the Galaxy look to Dave Sarachan (55-50-31 in 4+ seasons with Chicago)? Would he be a better fit for the Galaxy? Or do they hire Peter Nowak after the Olympics? I’m not sure who would be a good fit for this team. Management is deperate for a coach that can win immediately. Given the Galaxy’s treatment of it’s coaches I’m not sure who would want the job. Ives what do you think?

  25. sad to lalas go. i really enjoyed the train werck that was the la galaxy. glad to see coby given a shot, one of my all time favorite players. i hope he can have success, it would be great to see him get them into the playoffs.

  26. “imagine Lalas and Balboa together, hell throw in Wynalda for the trifecta” brentmcd

    If that happens it will surely end up in the Hague on the charge of crimes aganist humanity

  27. Not sure where all the hatred at Donovan and Beckham is coming from.

    By getting rid of the leagues top scorer, does the atrocious LA defence get better somehow? How does that work?

    Beckham has also been very good on the field if not necessarily dominant. And he’s done his job in selling Jerseys, generating interest and serving as an ambassador.

    Gullit, I believe, should have stayed. No coach should be fired after six months. I think he might have been more tired of LA than visa versa.

    Lalas, of course should have gone. Personally, I think he’s an ass. And his record of personnel decisions is poor.

    Yes, part is that fact that Beckham, Donovan and Ruiz take up half the team salary cap. It wasn’t his fault Ruiz got hurt either.

    But he kept Xavier (for too long), Vagenas, Jazic, Buddle (last season, this one was good), Alvaro, potentially dominquez, etc

    I still doubt the new guy, whats his name that’s been hurt for four years.

    Buddle has given 1/2 a good season. Other than that only Klein was a good acquisition/retention among the mid-salaries on the team.

    On the other hand, he gave up Nakamura, Saragosa, Marshall, Cannon, Shavar Thomas, Ihemelu, Kevin Hartman, etc.

    Three or four of those guys still on the LA roster in place of Jazic, Dominquez, Alvaro, etc would have made a world of difference.

    That’s a bad history with his mid-range salary players.

    The youth movement was mediocre. Franklin was good, Cronin not so much.

    On the whole, Lalas should be out.

  28. please please PLEASE don’t let Lalas become a broadcaster. imagine Lalas and Balboa together, hell throw in Wynalda for the trifecta. (shudder) the horror!

    good luck to Cobi. he’ll need it

  29. The next time Lalas goes on a soccer fan call in show (FFC) the “footprint” he keeps talking about won’t be his usual pseudo MBA Mumbo Jumbo about the Galaxy’s Big Club marketing metrics it will be the one squarely imprinted on his ass.

    ( In regards to Lalas- is it wrong to hate someone for being so smug and self assured while simultaneously being so completely incompetent?)

    As for Gullit- my feeling is once the novelty wore off he realized what a mistake he made in taking the job in the first place. The salary cap laden MLS is no place for high profile, high spending European based coaches.

    And in New England as I write Steve Nichols lets slip out a wry, “I could have told you so”smile….

  30. Quite frankly, the Galaxy’s problem runs deeper than a coach or a GM. There are several players in this team that do not belong there and do not add anything to a team that used to be a powerhouse in MLS. If they want it back, they really do have to clean house and the locker room should be next.

    I’ve been a fan since ’96 and I even worked for the team so my heart is with them. I just hope the right decisions are made.

  31. I hope Sigi is getting a nice little laugh today. As a longtime Galaxy fan, i have been waiting for this day, since the day he was hired. The worst GM in the history of MLS. Horrible talent evaluator, horrible at making trades, dont let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Too bad for Ruud, lets hope Cobi gets the job done.

  32. The firing of Lalas reminds me of a bible passage…

    Mark 14:47 = And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

    Can I get an AMEN?!!! Praise the Lord!!!

  33. Aljarov,

    Dude, you gotta be high.

    Mo was not the greatest coach (especially with tactics) but as GM he has been LOADS better then Lalas (granted hes a little late sometimes ahem wheres our striker Mo?).

    Lalas was able to take potential and make it implode with delusions of grandeur.


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