I received tickets to Sunday’s Los Angeles Galaxy-FC Dallas match at the Home Depot Center and was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had.
Tickets came courtesy of Galaxy super PR man Gary Gomez, who hooked me up with two seats, 12 rows up. I took my Father-In-Law and we were both taken in by how intimate a venue it is from the field seats. We sat in the shade the entire first half and had a terrific sight-line on David Beckham’s arched assist on Edson Buddle’s headed goal.
We had so much fun, in fact, that the game went by way faster than any 90 minutes should. The match was back-and-forth, with the Galaxy scoring first on Buddle’s header. FC Dallas then scored twice in a four-minute span to quiet the house before halftime.
We walked around the concourse during intermission and pondered the total number of Beckham jerseys being worn and sold. All merchandise was reduced 40 percent because it was the last match of the season, or Fan Appreciation Day. In other words, all items must be sold!
Back to the match… the Galaxy attacked relentlessly in the second half and eventually earned a PK that Landon Donovan slammed home with style to tie the match. It was a moment of elation for those in the stands. The goal didn’t mean victory but everyone got to go home on even-footing, which was just as satisfying considering the alternative.
All in all, it was a fulfilling experience, but… this is the part where I’m brutally honest.
The Home Depot Center is adequate. It has all the amenities, luxury boxes, concessions stands and the like. But the thing stands like a testimonial to communism, in a Karl Marx sense. That is, everything is gray and drab. It lacks much architectural nuance and the only color is that of the team’s advertisers. It’s an arena for the proletariat, not the bourgeoisie.
The Galaxy’s humble surroundings are very suitable for a team in last place. I argue that the Galaxy could’ve finished in the cellar WITHOUT Donovan or Beckham and it probably wouldn’t change L.A.’s place on the league table if they both play and stay in Europe through next year. Who knows? The team might actually improve. Sounds crazy but without any stars around, guys will have to step up and take more responsibility.
Without Donovan and Beckham, guys like Edson Buddle, Alan Gordon and Alviro Pires would be the leaders of next year’s team. Buddle had a career year this season while Gordon and Pires are mostly unproven players thus far.
Eddie Lewis is a quality winger with U.S. National Team experience, but his time is short and his age is long. He was brought in at mid-season and may or may not be back.
The only other player who is impressive enough to stick around is Mike Randolph. He plays left back like his hair is on fire. It’s obvious how hard he works because of his lack of size, but he’s fast and causes problems for opposing forwards.
As a manager, Bruce Arena’s got all the credentials — World Cup manager, MLS Cup winner — but his future is less certain than that of his star players. He was brought in to replace Ruud Gullit in August so who knows how long he’ll be coaching in Carson. Bruce Arena probably doesn’t know how long he’ll be coaching in Carson. He probably isn’t a long-term solution.
With all the influx taking place right now, it may be hard to image another MLS Cup anytime in the club’s future.