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Whose head will roll in LA?


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Maybe it was fitting that Ryan Cochrane, a player Alexi Lalas helped draft with the original San Jose Earthquakes four years ago, scored San Jose’s game-winning goal on Sunday. Better yet, maybe it was more fitting to see Frank Yallop celebrate a victory over the manager he was dumped for, a manager whose job is in jeopardy.

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s 3-2 loss to San Jose on Sunday wasn’t just a bad loss, it was a heart-breaking, last-minute defeat that leaves the Galaxy winless in its last six matches. How long has it been since LA won a match? Consider that when the Galaxy next takes the field it will be Aug. 14th, exactly TWO MONTHS since the team beat San Jose, 3-0, at MaCafee Coliseum.

TWO MONTHS! (insert voice of Henry Hill’s angry father in Goodfellas here).

Somewhere Abel Xavier is cackling like like Dr. Evil from a padded stylist’s chair in some Lisbon beauty salon, and somewhere Tim Lieweke is picking up glass from the television he shattered after Cochrane’s goal, knowing he is left with a decision to make.

Whose head will roll?

Who will take the fall for this awful run of form? I’m not advocating for someone to be fired, but after weeks of second and third-hand rumors and rumblings about AEG not being happy with the Galaxy’s performance you would think a loss like Saturday, and two months like the team has had, would merit a pink slip for somebody.


I can’t help but wonder if Lieweke and company remember the last time the Galaxy won MLS Cup. Steve Sampson was in charge and he was dragging the team through an awful season. Somehow Sampson’s Galaxy snuck into the playoffs and rode a hot streak all the way to an MLS Cup title.

You remember that right? The beauty of MLS’ playoff format was on full display as a thoroughly mediocre team got hot for a few weeks and helped make a bumbling coach into Alex Ferguson for a month. Of course Sampson didn’t make it through the next season before being replaced by Yallop.

SO what will LA do? Will the Galaxy stick with Gullit, or send him packing in favor of some interim manager with a tad more knowledge of MLS and a tad less contempt for his own players? Or will AEG finally cut its ties with Lalas, or will it stick by the man it has put in charge of ruining running three different MLS teams?

Maybe Phil Anschutz gets feds up and boots Lieweke, Gullit and Lalas in some Michael Corleone at the end of Godfather II sort of way. Maybe Anschutz makes the flight to Virginia to speak to Bruce Arena about righting the ship and Arena thinks about LA and the great golf courses and being reunited with Landon Donovan and decides the time is right to come back.

Okay, so maybe none of that is happening. What seems clear is something needs to happen because the "jewel" of MLS is tarnishing more by the week and the half a million people who bought David Beckham Galaxy jerseys are either starting to feel embarrassed to wear them, or are too oblivious of the situation to realize just what that Galaxy symbol on their jersey stands for these days.

It certainly doesn’t stand for "Sexy Football."

(What do you think of the LA Galaxy’s situation? Do you think somebody should be fired, and of so, who? Share your thoughts below.)


  1. —–
    Posted by Thom

    1. Fire Lalas

    2. Most likely fire Gullit after season because it makes little sense to do it now in terms of what could gained with the poor talent and salary cap situation.

    This is the logic that makes no sense.

    The team is not going to be overhauled this season. If you absolutely have to fire one of them right now — which they absolutely don’t — then the coach is much more directly correlated to how the team plays this season.

  2. 1. Fire Lalas

    2. Most likely fire Gullit after season because it makes little sense to do it now in terms of what could gained with the poor talent and salary cap situation.

    3. Get rid of Ruiz for whatever can be recouped. Also dump Vanney, Venegas, Franchino, Gordon, Pires (maybe even Klein and I have always admired him) etc. Why- all have experience and so their salaries free up cap space added to the fact that whatever they are paid is not worth it.

    4. Sell Donavon in winter transfer window and take what you can get.

    5. Sign a proven if average keeper who has the force of personality and experience to organize a back line ( i.e.- competent- I thought about mentioning Keller but he would cost way too much and would only be a temporary band aid at his age)

    6. Bring in football/soccer lifer from Europe or Argentina – pay a Steve Nichol type to consult (or better yet hire him since he is never going to get a stadium in New England)

    6. Give up sexy football until backline and “spine” can be rebuilt.

    7. Be a football club and not a sexy, marketing footprint.

    8. Offer Beckham a substantial minority position of ownership so he can attract his ilk and brand the franchise with his money not AEG’s. Also maybe he will renegotiate with himself to lower his cap hit!

    Question to board: Does anyone know what a Nichols or Dominic Kinner makes a year as well as their respective GM’s?

    If so take that and divide it into what Gullit and Lalas make and please let us all know the difference. This will be a very interesting number to all of us out here. For what they are paid there has got to be some quality professionals out there that know how to evaluate talent and then properly deploy it tactically.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. It should be Lalas. He calls the shots on trades and things like that. The offense is great, but the defense has been horrible, and Lalas has not been doing anything since the transfer window opened.

  4. Alexi Lalas has done the greatest feat in MLS history- he brought David Beckham to the league! I don’t care what anyone says, he accomplished what the league was dreaming about for years. And he got Beckham here two years before they had anticipated getting his services to boot…Plus he is a young executive that MLS has invested quite a bit with. To me, Ruud, has been the one that seemed pessimistic about the MLS in general from the onset and never really believed that MLS is a decent quality league. He has looked like being here in the US has been some kind of torture; if that is the case, let Ruud go!!!…to DC UNITED!

  5. I really don’t know why everybody is up in arms specifically after this loss. Goff has a poll on the subject on his blog, too.

    We all know that it is rare for any MLS team to be dominant throughout a whole season. That’s just not how the league is set up. The Galaxy, for the players they have, are right where they should be in the table. The only cause for concern is that the list of results hasn’t been balanced.

    It’s quite clear that the only reason this is even an issue is because of Beckham. The Galaxy haven’t underachieved this season any more than Houston or D.C. or New York or Chivas USA, and those teams all had higher expectations pre season. Sure, the Galaxy have lost a couple in a row right now, but realistically they are still probably going to make the playoffs.

    I guess I just don’t see why a losing streak triggers firing a GM. Nobody is going to turn the Galaxy into the Revolution by the end of this season. If they still don’t make the playoffs this year, then you fire Lalas.

  6. @Will

    American soccer fans are stupid for saying Gullit should be fired and Lalas should stay…

    There is literally one comment that might be read as “Fire Gullit, keep Lalas” (although Lalas isn’t mentioned–the poster is just questioning Gullit’s managerial skills)

    Every other on-topic comment suggests Lalas should definitely be fired and Gullit should be given more time. (note: many question Gullit’s coaching credentials (rightfully), but none goes as far as to claim he should be fired over Lalas)

    Maybe you’re reading a different comments section…

  7. Lieweke is the one who needs to be removed. Let him go “run” something else; he has no idea how to run a sports franchise.

    The Galaxy get “blown up” – massive roster/coaching changes – all the time looking for a quick fix. What it needs is stability.

  8. It seems to me that the weakest part of the Galaxy is the defense. Their defenders keep allowing goals that would be excruciating to watch if your club allowed them. Their keeper hasn’t shown many flashes of brilliance this season, either. Their offense is fun to watch and I think that if their defense would provide ANY support, they’d do much better.

  9. I wonder how people can say that Alexi Lalas ruined three franchises? I find that kind of funny. Yes, he was at the helm of the San Jose Earthquakes when they picked up and moved to Houston, but he can not be blamed for that. He was there for two years and it was obvious AEG was trying to pull the team out of the market and yet he was the one taking all the hits for it. Also, the last time I checked, in the last year of there first existance, San Jose ran away with the Supporters Shield and it is the same foundation of the team the he built that have won back to back MLS Cups in Houston.

    To say he ruined the Metrostars is kind of joke. He was there less than a year, Red Bull bought the team in March less than 8 months after Alexi’s move to NY. Saddled with Salary Cap issues, they drafted Marvell Wynne with the first pick in the draft that year and Jozy Altidore in the second round to start building a foundation of success. He was let go by Red Bull in April. I am still trying to figure out how, as everyone says, he ruined NY?

    His stint in LA has been less than remarkable, but it seems that it is a circus there and it will be hard for any GM to deal with the Beckham show.

    Just my opinion, but I reiterate that saying Alexi Lalas RUINED three franchises is a statement ignoring fact.

  10. I have nothing but contempt for Lalas–he’s a fool. That said, Gullit has a lot more impact on how they’re playing. Buddle has always shown the ability to blow hot and cold. A hot streak by EB is the only reason the LAG aren’t the worst team in all of MLS. But Gullit was responsible for bringing in Babayaro (who didn’t even last the preseason) and was initially comfortable with Xavier (who was a disaster from the git-go). He blew off the draft (and given LAG’s cap situation and depth last year, you knew that the only way they were going to add depth was through the draft and USL signings).

    Furthermore, with a young and limited backline and no competent D-mid, he insists on playing a scheme that pushes players forward and exposes defenders.

    Ultimately, anyone can tell you that if you effectively have two DP players (and LAG has 3–Ruiz, Donovan and Beckham) you’d better have a lot of great bargains, good young talent, guys who don’t get hurt (cuz you won’t have a lot of depth). And LAG has none of those 3 (ie: great bargains, good young talent and guys who are iron-men). So instead they’re a pub team with a few youngsters and Donovan and Beckham with a hot Buddle.

    It was a sign to me that Donovan expressed interest in playing in Europe. This from the guy who made it clear he loves being in California. If suddenly he’s talking “maybe Europe isn’t such a bad idea” that tells you things are messy with the LAG.

  11. As long as Galaxy keeps on selling out the HDC, Lalas will have a job. Results aren’t as important to AEG, note the past couple of galaxy seasons.

    Coaching changes are made to appease the STH and the few savy galaxy fans. Capitalism does not care about sport results.

  12. The CM is in shams, fix that and you’ve fixed a big part of the problem. Me?, I move S. Franklin to DMid playing behind behind Tudela (yes Tudela since we’ve tried everyone else there and Tudela had a good run last year). I try B. Jordan at the Left Mid spot to see if I can free up some space with his speed, stay with Buddle up top and Donovan playing behind him.

    Franklin has enough bite to be a good dMid and played there in College. Dominguez then has to step up with the big boys.

    This sends Pires, Vanegas, Randolph to the bench.

  13. If Tim Lieweke doesn’t dismiss Alexi Lalas, then AEG’s board of directors should take a good look at their President/CEO.

    Alexi Lalas’ resume prior to 2003 was spectaluar. But since his time in San Jose and New York, Lalas’ record for success is far from spectacular.

    Year W- L- D Club

    2004 9 -10-11 San Jose Earthquakes

    2005 12- 9-11 New York MetroStars

    2006 11-15- 6 Los Angeles Galaxy

    2007 9 -14- 7 Los Angeles Galaxy

    In 2003, San Jose won MLS Cup. Then Lalas took over. A year later, they moved to Houston.

    The New York period can be somewhat forgiveable. It really seems that AEG gave up on New York a while back. Lalas surely isn’t the first GM to fail there.

    In 2005, the Galaxy won MLS Cup. In 2006, they welcomed Lalas into their fold. The Galaxy hasn’t seen the playoffs since.

  14. La La Lalas. La La Lalas … Hey hey gooodbyye! That man has got to go! Ruud definitely deserves at MINIMUM, a slap on the wrist for not getting a better effort out of this team, but Lalas fingerprints are all over this squad and they are underachieving in the worst way.

  15. Keep Ruud, fire Lalas and his we need more attacking players even though our defense stinks strategy and get some help on that backline. A couple of more players will make this team competitive.

  16. Whoever is repsonsible for not bringing in someone who can defend should go. I doubt that is Rudd. As for the “doesn’t know the MLS” notion, I’d say MLS needs more people who don’t know the MLS, not less.

  17. Lalas should be fired, but that won’t improve results for LA this season; it’ll just keep him from making more boneheaded moves in the future. The problem is LA has mediocre players outside of Beckham and Donovan. You can’t win with two good players. Maybe Gullit should be fired too, but the new coach will still have a subpar team to work with.

  18. For the mistakes that Lalas has made, regardless I think it is important to have him active in the league in some capacity. As an intern at a newspaper I had to talk to Lalas for a relatively small story, and from that and everything I have read, he is very accessible. I won’t forget seeing him go onto Fox Football Fone-In and taking hard questions from the hosts, because he said he knew it was good for the game to do that. I strongly agree.

    So with everything Lalas might have done wrong in terms of building a team, I think his image and accessibility and endless desire to enhance the league are so important to the league’s growth.

    As a Minnesotan with no MLS affiliation, I just want to see the league improve and get better. If a controversial guy like Lalas can be in a position to keep people talking without actually harming the league, I am all for it.

  19. Noby Solano? Last time I checked, he neither plays in goal nor in defense. Clip Lalas and Bravo and start again.

  20. the notion that Ruud should be in any kind of jeopardy simply seems absurd. The problems LA are having are personnel issues. He doesn’t handle those.

    The onus is squarely on the shoulders of Lalas. He was terrible in NY and he is just as terrible in LA.

    In fact, the fact that he began this season employed is the biggest failing AEG has made and only have themselves to blame.

  21. Randall, I’m not really sure what the Red Bulls have to do with this conversation but since you brought them up, let’s compare:

    The Red Bulls have made the playoffs the past five seasons, yet have seen three different managing director/presidents and three different head coaches in the past three seasons. In other words, the Red Bulls haven’t had nearly the struggles that LA has had in the past three seasons yet the club has still had considerably more turnover.

    Meanwhile, the Galaxy has had Lalas in charge for most of those three seasons and have yet to make the playoffs since he’s been there. Let me say that a little more slowly. The Galaxy has missed the playoffs the past two seasons, with a third looking like a distinct possibility. Now they have Gullit, who they made the league’s highest-paid coach, and he doesn’t seem to have made much of a positive impact with the club based on the results.

    When you take these things into account, AND you consider the rumblings that AEG is very unhappy with the club, it is a very fair question to ask who, if anybody, do people think should get the boot in LA. These facts also make your LA-NY comparison one not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

    Now Randall, if you really did read my writing on a regular basis (and I don’t think you have based on the fact that you have never once posted on this site before) you would know how off-base your comments are regarding my writings about the Red Bulls. In the past three years I roundly crititicized Alexi Lalas for firing Bob Bradley, wrote about Red Bull’s mismanagement of the club under Marc deGrandpre and most recently ripped the club’s decision to hire its new managing director. So how exactly have I let the Red Bulls off the hook? Please tell me, I’m dying to hear that one.

    And lastly, your “and i know its not unbiased journalism here” line is weak. I’ve got nothing against Lalas or Gullit, just presenting a question to my readers.

  22. Whoever is in charge for player in’s and out’s – has to go.

    Pick your fall guy(s) but keep in mind, we do NOT know who is responsible, we can only guess!

    btw Gullit’s house is for sale because his wife doesn’t like it (don’t laugh, it was reported)

    K-Mart = he’s gotissues, otherwise he’d play for another MLS team by now (injuries, stupid cards, not a regular performer)

    Klein / Findley+Sturgis

    Sturgis has played how many games since then? (just days ago it was reported he has serious injury probs that can’t be cured just like that). Both Klein(would do better in midfield) and Findley have done well. To me that’s an almost fair trade (if you keep the age thing out of it).

    Getting rid of Hartman, Gomez, Ihemelu for draftpicks and Cannon, then getting rid of Cannon for draftpick(s) = That’s CRIMINAL!

    Getting rid of Albright in order to make space for Ruiz, debatable in terms of quality but bl**dy stupid when you consider the defense is so bad and unproven.

    As for Solano = no thanks (he’s not what the team needs and wants a lot of $, otherwise he’d be here already.

  23. wow, you defend reyna and the hapless red bulls for two years and a six game losing streak means massive changes have to take place in l.a.?


    lalas is a complete bafoon- everyone knows that- problem being apparently mls owners feel that the face that anyone “knows” him at all is reason enough to hire him.

    he makes ridiculous moves (generally decent young players for guys about five years past their mediocre prime) and is a general embarrasment as a representative of u.s. soccer.

    fire him? ok, sure. but absolutely nothings changed here. again- the contrast between this post and, well, every post about nyrb in the last years is striking.

    arguably the best (on field) designated player in the league, best young american player, best american player period, best american coach ever- and theyve done far, far less than l.a. over the last few years.

    i dont have a horse in this race, and i know its not unbiased journalism here- but this is very surprising.

    theres no crisis- l.a. is an overhyped team that doesnt get results…just like n.y.

    its just shocking how differently youve addressed those two very similar situations.


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