My excitement about David Beckham signing to play in MLS in January quickly subsided when I realized what club he was going to be playing with. Sadly the fears I had about the LA Galaxy which led me to pen this blog in May have been confirmed. Alexi Lalas’ terrible record of club management which saw him destroy a championship team in San Jose, fire the future national team manager in New York and fire the former national team and MLS cup winning coach in Los Angeles have continued. Lalas’ pre Beckham arrival moves of trading goal scoring threat Nate Jaqua to Houston for Kelly Gray and Robbie Findley (who has played very well for Real Salt Lake) along with Nathan Sturgis (who had a big summer with the USU-20 team) for Chris Klein, the signing of an obviously washed up Carlos Pavon and releasing of Santino Quaranta have further undermined the squad which had already been gutted by Lalas’ meddling. Since Lalas took over as General Manager the Galaxy have traded or released Pablo Nagumura, Herculez Gomez, Ugo Imehlu, Nate Jaqua, Joseph Ngwenya, Robbie Findley, Nathan Sturgis, Santino Quaranta, and T&T World Cup veteran Cornell Glen. Each and every one of the players named with the possible exception of Imehlu would be an upgrade over the player currently playing the same position with the Galaxy. Alexi Lalas maybe a gifted at public relations for the sport, but his obvious inability to appreciate and hold talent have been painfully obvious wherever he has worked.
The fact that Beckham has played only twenty minutes of league action in three matches is just as well. I can think of nothing more humiliating for one of the great footballers and football ambassadors of our time than to be thrown to the wolves with such a clearly outclassed bunch of team mates. Landon Donovan and Abel Xavier notwithstanding, it is tough to find any quality in the Galaxy field players comparable to the teams they will be competing with to make the MLS playoffs. With such a large investment riding on Beckham being fit and playing in the playoffs, had it ever occurred to Lalas or the Galaxy that meddling with the squad too much would destroy whatever chemistry and continuity the team previously had. This after all is a club that won the US Soccer “double” (The US Open Cup and MLS Cup) the season before Lalas became the boss. Since they have failed to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and are now poised to repeat that feat this season.