Category Archives: Los Angeles Galaxy

Klinsmann Would Have To Be A Fool

Landon Donovan’s return to LA Galaxy has me thinking …

1. If the two-time MLS champions can win games without him (not to mention Becks and even Keane) then he left the team at the right time. Galaxy’s 2-0-1 record and advancement into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals attest to that.

2. If this is indeed his last year at Galaxy — his four-year contract expires after this season — then it becomes obvious why he didn’t retire: the opportunity to cement his legacy as the best player in U.S. history with a third consecutive domestic title.

3. If he’s rested and engaged mentally then Jurgen Klinsmann would have to be a fool not to pencil in a new No. 10 0n the right side. The USMNT is scoring too few, and Graham Zusi is nice, but c’mon. The World Cup is next year (already!) and the team’s top play-maker is healthy.

4. Anyone who says he abandoned either club or country is off their nut and/or a rabid fan of El Tri, and taking cheap shots out of spite. Or… or… secretly missing their favorite player.

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Filed under Los Angeles Galaxy, Soccer, USMNT

Galaxy, Long Walks and Chicken Piccata

Made it to the Galaxy’s MLS opener, albeit it the middle of the first half.

Not much to report, beyond the ales we devoured and the goal Edson Buddle scored on a header off the foot of David Beckham.

The rest was essentially a wash, with the three unanswered goals Real Salt Lake scored in the last 20 minutes, and the treks to and from the parking lot making the evening more aerobic than planned.

We got back to my brother’s place in Lake Forest and his fiance’ made some great chicken piccata with potatoes and brussel sprouts. Hey, she likes to cook and I like to eat.

Nothing profound. Just a fairly decent evening, overall.

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Filed under Family, Food, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Soccer

Locomotion Monday

Locomotion 2012 wrapped up, for me, with my 9:30 a.m. arrival.

I was scheduled to be a standby for 10 a.m., and then work championship games at 12 and 2 p.m.

Well, there actually was enough referees to cover all the games at 10 a.m. so I ended up goofing off with Patrick Weidhase, the sophomore captain of the frosh soccer team at Riverside King. He had to retrieve several of my errant passes.

11 a.m. rolled around and it became time to get ready for my first game, a Girls U14 championship between Chino Hills and Corona at noon.

I was Francisco Davila’s senior assistant, and worked the opposite sideline from Pablo Sanchez.

Davila insisted that we wear pink jerseys for the game. So much so that he brought jerseys for everyone. I now own a pink referee jersey. It’s actually very nice.

The game was competitive, more than the final scoreline indicated. Chino Hills won, 4-0, but not after taking Corona’s best shot.

I was then tasked to referee the a Boys U10 championship at 2 p.m. This game was going to be contentious (all U10 games are) and I knew it was going to be a headache before I even looked at either team.

Surprisingly, the action was great until I called for a dangerous play infraction against a Palos Verdes team that was already winning 3-0 10-plus minutes into the second half.

On the play, the boys are on their butts with the ball between one’s legs. There’s no dangerous contact happening and the players quickly resolve and resume playing while one voice on PV’s sideline screams for a call.

“It’s gotta go both ways referee!”

“So that wasn’t dangerous?”

“What were you looking at?”

I stopped the game. Look at the coach and tell him there was no infraction. He tells me  the same three things he just said. I tell him that if I have to stop the game again to talk to him, there’ll be consequences.

That’s when a rather large Hispanic male says, “You need to be doing a better job.”

“Are you a coach?” I ask him. No response. “Keep it to yourself then.”

Palos Verdes won the game easily, 4-1, and the coach thanked me after the game and told me I did a great job. Sometimes that actually happens.

Fun stuff. And I got a pair of L.A. Galaxy tickets to the MLS opener for doing it.

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Filed under AYSO, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Referee, Soccer

Klein, Lewis To Retire From Galaxy

Chris Klein and Eddie Lewis, two of the best midfielders ever to play for the United States, or in Major League Soccer, have both announced their retirement from professional soccer following the 2010 season.

While both have earned a great deal of respect for their play and professionalism over the last decade-plus, both have suffered from a deep drop in form the last three-or-four seasons. Thus retirement was only a matter of when, not if.

Klein, the No. 4 overall selection by the Kansas City Wizards in the 1998 MLS SuperDraft, scored 39 goals in 200 matches with the Wizards from ’98-’05. The 6-foot-1 winger was arguably the Wizards best player when the team won the MLS title in 2000, which was also the year he made his first appearance with the U.S. Men’s National Team. He scored five goals for the USMNT in 23 matches from 2000-’06.

With the Los Angeles Galaxy since ’07, Klein has scored just two goals in 89 appearances. Clearly, his time as a premier player had come to an end, though his steady contribution was considerable despite his lack of goal scoring.

Lewis, arguably the U.S’s best left-sided midfielder ever, spent 2000-’08 playing for four lower-division clubs in England, scoring 23 goals in 196 matches for Preston North End (’02-’05) and Leeds United (’05-’07). The 5-10 winger enjoyed the finest year of his professional career in ’07 with Leeds, when he was voted by the fans as the team’s player of the year.

A member of the USMNT since ’06, Lewis has scored 10 goals in 86 appearances, including the only goal in a 2-1 loss to Mexico in a qualifying match for the ’06 World Cup. Though he transitioned to left back after the emergence of younger left-sided players, Lewis remained a viable option until ’08, when he played his final match.

Lewis has played with the Galaxy since ’08, netting three goals in 82 appearances with the club. Leg injuries have plagued him as of late, as time has seemingly caught up with the 36-year-old.

So yes, they’ve been good players for their clubs and country. Even great, at times. But their time has come. And it’s refreshing to see players with the class to call it a career before their clubs suffer from their inability to chase, tackle and score, and allow younger, more in-form players to take their turn.

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Filed under Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Soccer, U.S. Soccer, USMNT, World Cup

Ah Beh, Beckham

“Ah beh” is Italian for “oh well.” That’s the way I think about David Beckham.

Beckham, who is now going to finish the season with AC Milan before returning to MLS over the summer, has been doing little more than slumming for the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was coming off an ankle injury two summers ago and needed a place to play that would elevate his profile without taxing him physically. So he sort of hit the jackpot. But that was then. Now he’s healthy and ready for an international return. Give it to him. And then grant a release from his contract at the end of the season.

It’s clear — he’s fallen in love with Italy and desperately wants to hang in Milan, where his pale wife actually fits in among the Euro chic. He wants to play with Kaka and Ronaldihno and Pirlo and Shevchenko and Seedorf, Gattuso, Emerson and Inzaghi. And do it all for as long as he possibly can. There’s no way a swinger like Becks would pass up an opportunity like that.

Go have your fantasies fulfilled whilst you can, Golden Balls.

You’re not much more than your silly nicknames, anymore.

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Galaxy Smart To Loan Becks

David Beckham will play with Italian superclub AC Milan on a loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy.

This is going to hurt Major League Soccer. Or will it?

Beckham hasn’t exactly been great this year. He’s had moments of tremendous skill on free kicks but those moments haven’t equated into victories for the Galaxy (8-14-8, 33 pts), bottom-feeders in the MLS’s Western Conference. He played on a mediocre team that had a completely mediocre season and missed the MLS Cup Playoffs.

And now, the Galaxy’s off-season schedule only includes matches that have been canceled now that Golden Balls won’t be making the trip to Australia and New Zealand. But those matches were hardly the quality of competition Beckham or his Galaxy teammates need to face in order to get better. At least he’ll be training at a world-class level for 12 weeks leading up to the new season. That’s more than can said for his Galaxy teammates.

At his advanced age (33) Beckham needs to work constantly to stay in playing shape. Training on the right side for AC Milan will definitely keep his pace up and may even improve his stamina. Injuries are always a concern, but Beckham is healthy and should remain so if Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti treats him properly.

If anything, he’s a warrior for wanting to continue training for and playing in meaningful matches. He could take the winter off and kick around L.A. but he’d rather be on the pitch. His choice of loan partners, Milan, only proves his commitment to the Galaxy is more than just about being in L.A. — it’s about bringing world-class soccer to MLS.

Sure, Beckham’s real passion seems to be suiting up for England now that he’s only one cap away from tying England’s all-time leader, Bobby Moore, at 108.

Playing for Milan will make that goal a reality. And the Galaxy, by osmosis, a better team.

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“Hang Time” At The HDC

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.

 

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Filed under Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Soccer, Sports Celebrities