MON, 4PM ET
QPR2
AST0
TUES, 3:45PM ET
SHR1
CHE2
TUES, 4PM ET
LIV2
SWA1
WED, 3:45PM ET
MCFC0
NUFC2
WED, 4PM ET
TOT2
BRI0
THURS, 3:45PM ET
VER
LAZ

A Galactic Mess

alexi lalas 300x203 A Galactic Mess

He was supposed to change MLS and soccer in America forever. David Beckham’s signing in January 2007 with the LA Galaxy was supposed to elevate his new club and by extension its league to heights never experienced before. Eighteen months later all parties (except AEG, the Galaxy’s owners who have made a killing off the Beckham name) must ponder whether it was really worthwhile.

David Beckham is a true footballer and a class act. Like most English footballers his work rate is exceptional and his understanding of true football is commendable. The truth is a footballer of Beckham’s stature deserves better than the LA Galaxy or what MLS has become thanks to his presence. It is ironic that on this day when we ponder the massive overhaul of Beckham’s team, that the two dominant forces in MLS remain the two sides that have lived within their means and have promoted continuity over flamboyance and mass marketing: Those two sides, Houston and New England should be held up as examples of what MLS was at one time and should return to once the league returns to its senses. The continued of presence of Designated Players and signings of overage foreigners has done little to sustain new support for the league. While it has stimulated some new interest, much of the interest has turned the television off when exposed to a bad product, which many MLS games not including Houston or New England remain. The one designated player who has helped transform his team for the better on the pitch, Cuauhtémoc Blanco I believe could have still been signed by MLS without the DP rule. How you ask? How did the MLS sign Luis Hernandez, then in the prime of his career in 2000? How about Carlos Hermosillo signing in 1998? Carlos Vaderrama and Roberto Donadoni in 1996? You do not really believe that MLS never had Designated Players before 2007 do you?

Blanco has been an important addition for MLS and for a Chicago Fire club that was previously under performing at the gate. But I believe Blanco could have and would have been signed by MLS without the DP rule. How sure am I of this? The second Blanco was thrown off the national team by former manager Ricardo LaVolpe, rumors in Mexico began circulating that he was coming to MLS. Unlike, Europe the examples of Hernandez and Hermosillo demonstrated that for top Mexican attacking players, MLS is always an option late in your career.

I have no comment on the firing of Alexi Lalas. While I have been very critical of Los Angeles personnel moves since the untimely death of Doug Hamilton over two years ago, I am less certain than ever Lalas was actually charged with building the squad. It seems Lalas, a man of near legendary status as a player for the US was used by the Galaxy’s owners to sell their product to the world. The responsibility for finding players was not important to the Galaxy, because after all they had David Beckham.

Regarding the resignation of Ruud Gullit, this is a black eye for MLS: for the first time since Carlos Quieroz in 1997 a big name international coach was attracted to the league, and despite having an obvious tactical edge on his competitors his employment to a team that is essentially a marketing outfit, not a proper football club made it impossible for him to do his job. No doubt the critics of MLS in Europe will come out of the woodwork with Gullit departure to heap scorn on the league. However, unlike many times in the past, this go round the scorn is roundly deserved.

Major League Soccer despite the continued success of Houston and New England has become more glitz than substance since David Beckham’s arrival. The league feeling a constant need to answer critics and over sell its product have made boastful claims about its competitiveness and the value of its franchises with no real substance to back up these claims. These are the unwanted corollaries of the “Beckham effect.”

David Beckham is a class act, a great footballer. He should once and for all talk to the Galaxy brass and ask if they are going to continue to use him as a way to sell shirts and make money or if they want him to settle down and help them win football matches. Beckham should also have a role in identifying players for the Galaxy. If the club does not want to do this, it is best both parties move on. Beckham can still find a club in Europe during this transfer window and MLS and the Galaxy can pick up the pieces of its broken reputation abroad and focus on the things that made the league successful for the eleven seasons before David Beckham came to America: fiscal discipline, player development and cultivating the American soccer media.

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, Los Angeles Galaxy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

78 Responses to A Galactic Mess

  1. Chris Moran says:

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links?

  3. Chris Moran says:

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  4. Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links?

  5. Pingback: Soccer News Aggregator » A Galactic Mess

  6. Bryan says:

    How possibly can you hold Lalas harmless in the demise of the Galaxy? Old “SuperClub” broke out the same moniker for the MetroStars before driving them right into the toilet as well.

    His track record as GM unforunately proves that out. He is AEG's Tiki Idol.

  7. Bryan says:

    How possibly can you hold Lalas harmless in the demise of the Galaxy? Old “SuperClub” broke out the same moniker for the MetroStars before driving them right into the toilet as well.

    His track record as GM unforunately proves that out. He is AEG’s Tiki Idol.

  8. Max says:

    Lalas is donkey. AEG tool and loser to boot!

  9. Max says:

    Lalas is donkey. AEG tool and loser to boot!

  10. Lonnie says:

    LA simply does not have a good enough midfield or backline to win consistently. Whether that's Lalas' fault or not is up for speculation but it does not change the fact that what should be one of the 'crown jewel' teams of the league is instead struggling to make the playoff cut.

    The vast gulf in salary between Beckham and his teammates can't do much for team chemistry either.

  11. Lonnie says:

    LA simply does not have a good enough midfield or backline to win consistently. Whether that’s Lalas’ fault or not is up for speculation but it does not change the fact that what should be one of the ‘crown jewel’ teams of the league is instead struggling to make the playoff cut.

    The vast gulf in salary between Beckham and his teammates can’t do much for team chemistry either.

  12. Max says:

    The Galaxy are only a few points out of first place despite the negative tone of this several other pieces on the internet. They can and still make the playoffs. Lewicke made a change to satisfy his board members at AEG but the truth is the Galaxy with the addition of Cory Gibbs could still win MLS Cup.

  13. Max says:

    I guess my point is that the Galaxy are one defender away from winning the west. Gibbs could be that defender.

  14. Max says:

    The Galaxy are only a few points out of first place despite the negative tone of this several other pieces on the internet. They can and still make the playoffs. Lewicke made a change to satisfy his board members at AEG but the truth is the Galaxy with the addition of Cory Gibbs could still win MLS Cup.

  15. Max says:

    I guess my point is that the Galaxy are one defender away from winning the west. Gibbs could be that defender.

  16. Glen Wells says:

    Beckham could find “a club” in Europe, yes. But once you've played for Man Utd, then Real Madrid, anywhere else is a step down, and once you step down, the sponsorship and endorsements – which have always far outweighed his on-pitch earnings – start to dry up. Moving to LA Galaxy was an innovative way to sidestep this problem. One of the world's most marketable men moving to the world's largest market. He knows full well that he is “a way to sell shirts and make money”, but he's getting his fair share of that money and it wouldn't be in his interest to leave. Leaving the US as a failure would be far worse for him commercially than having never gone in the first place.

  17. Glen Wells says:

    Beckham could find “a club” in Europe, yes. But once you’ve played for Man Utd, then Real Madrid, anywhere else is a step down, and once you step down, the sponsorship and endorsements – which have always far outweighed his on-pitch earnings – start to dry up. Moving to LA Galaxy was an innovative way to sidestep this problem. One of the world’s most marketable men moving to the world’s largest market. He knows full well that he is “a way to sell shirts and make money”, but he’s getting his fair share of that money and it wouldn’t be in his interest to leave. Leaving the US as a failure would be far worse for him commercially than having never gone in the first place.

  18. Owen says:

    Nice post – I don't think Beckham is going though. He plans to use the five years in LA to slowly build out an empire of youth soccer academies as well as continue to get endorsements and advertising deals. He has effectively retired from European football – perhaps a year earlier than he should, but it was a smart move.

    Lalas isn't an idiot but I don't think he's a good person to go out and build a team. Gullit leaving is sad – he's a good, real coach but if you read between the lines a lot of it is that HE wanted out – sounds like his family didn't like the US and he can still get a top level coaching job in Europe so he's not going to worry.

    Galaxy need a solid defence and they can really start to do well – they are already one of the if not the top attacking teams in MLS.

  19. rainer scheer says:

    I agee with much of what the author said, but we part company on his appraisal of Beckham. He might be a “class act” but he does very little on the pitch. He looks like he no longer cares, and it's been that way ever since he figured out that his arrival wasn't going to make him the #1 sports figure in the USA. Sure he can still make a nice pass, but only if he doesn't have to run more than 10 metres to do so. And since when is making a nice pass a unique skill? If you put a monkey in front of a typewriter he'll eventually write “War and Peace”, and if Beckham takes enough free kicks he'll eventually score a goal. Every week during football season I guess about 30-40 goals are scored on free kicks world-wide, yet when Beckham does it the media gushes about how great he is while never mentioning any other successful free kick. But “bend it like Beckham” is such a cute headline…

  20. Owen says:

    Nice post – I don’t think Beckham is going though. He plans to use the five years in LA to slowly build out an empire of youth soccer academies as well as continue to get endorsements and advertising deals. He has effectively retired from European football – perhaps a year earlier than he should, but it was a smart move.

    Lalas isn’t an idiot but I don’t think he’s a good person to go out and build a team. Gullit leaving is sad – he’s a good, real coach but if you read between the lines a lot of it is that HE wanted out – sounds like his family didn’t like the US and he can still get a top level coaching job in Europe so he’s not going to worry.

    Galaxy need a solid defence and they can really start to do well – they are already one of the if not the top attacking teams in MLS.

  21. rainer scheer says:

    I agee with much of what the author said, but we part company on his appraisal of Beckham. He might be a “class act” but he does very little on the pitch. He looks like he no longer cares, and it’s been that way ever since he figured out that his arrival wasn’t going to make him the #1 sports figure in the USA. Sure he can still make a nice pass, but only if he doesn’t have to run more than 10 metres to do so. And since when is making a nice pass a unique skill? If you put a monkey in front of a typewriter he’ll eventually write “War and Peace”, and if Beckham takes enough free kicks he’ll eventually score a goal. Every week during football season I guess about 30-40 goals are scored on free kicks world-wide, yet when Beckham does it the media gushes about how great he is while never mentioning any other successful free kick. But “bend it like Beckham” is such a cute headline…

  22. Xacko says:

    This is a good piece, and a lot of your points are well taken. I must disagree, however, with your suggestion that Beckham should adopt a quasi-managerial role and help identify new players. From the team's and the league's standpoint, it would not be appropriate to heap even more responsibility on Beck's shoulders. There is no indication that scouting talent is within his field of expertise. No doubt he can tell whether someone can play a bit, but is that a unique ability? Also, I get the sense that, from the player's standpoint, he would like nothing better than to focus on his football. He has enough distractions, as it is, with the constant media circus that surrounds him. Adding scouting to his brief would surely be too much.

    Considering Becks' limited impact to date on raising the game of his current teammates, what you are suggesting is equivalent to the league's going “all in.” If Becks takes on more responsibility and still fails to improve the Galaxy, he will be the scapegoat, instead of Lalas, or the league, or bad luck. In short, you're advocating a huge gamble, and if it doesn't work out, MLS will leave the table with nothing but lint in its pockets.

  23. Xacko says:

    Rainer,
    It is not actually true that a monkey can write War and Peace given enough time in front of a typewriter. I've known a few monkeys in my time, and none of them has shown even the slightest glimmer of literary talent. (I have to say, by the way, this analogy needs to be freshened up for the 21st century . I mean, what's a typewriter anyway?)

    But on to a real point: Beckham is most definitely “trying.” That does not mean he runs around like a headless chicken, as players are wont in England. (I'm not accusing you, Mr. Scheer, of being English.) Huffing and puffing with no result will earn you plaudits from Fleet Street hacks, but Becks has grown wiser with age and a bit of experience on the continent. He has not been signed as a midfield ball winner. Rather, he's supposed to provide quality passes, accuracy in dead ball situations, and leadership. He's doing that. But, quoth the naysayers, the Galaxy are still terrible! True, but it's not because Becks doesn't run hard enough.

    My guess is that the team is awful because Gullit was mailing it in. The Galaxy defend woefully, in large part because of poor positioning and, more generally, tactical naivete. That's the coach's fault, and we're talking about a man who ought to understand tactics, given his pedigree. But poor Ruud has never had much success as a coach, and I reckon a day came sometime this season when he looked around himself and, recognizing the shambles that his managerial career has become, said “f–k it” or its nearest Dutch equivalent. Now he's left the team in mid-season because he lacks the stomach to see things through to the bitter end. Bedankt, Ruud.

  24. Xacko says:

    This is a good piece, and a lot of your points are well taken. I must disagree, however, with your suggestion that Beckham should adopt a quasi-managerial role and help identify new players. From the team’s and the league’s standpoint, it would not be appropriate to heap even more responsibility on Beck’s shoulders. There is no indication that scouting talent is within his field of expertise. No doubt he can tell whether someone can play a bit, but is that a unique ability? Also, I get the sense that, from the player’s standpoint, he would like nothing better than to focus on his football. He has enough distractions, as it is, with the constant media circus that surrounds him. Adding scouting to his brief would surely be too much.

    Considering Becks’ limited impact to date on raising the game of his current teammates, what you are suggesting is equivalent to the league’s going “all in.” If Becks takes on more responsibility and still fails to improve the Galaxy, he will be the scapegoat, instead of Lalas, or the league, or bad luck. In short, you’re advocating a huge gamble, and if it doesn’t work out, MLS will leave the table with nothing but lint in its pockets.

  25. Xacko says:

    Rainer,
    It is not actually true that a monkey can write War and Peace given enough time in front of a typewriter. I’ve known a few monkeys in my time, and none of them has shown even the slightest glimmer of literary talent. (I have to say, by the way, this analogy needs to be freshened up for the 21st century . I mean, what’s a typewriter anyway?)

    But on to a real point: Beckham is most definitely “trying.” That does not mean he runs around like a headless chicken, as players are wont in England. (I’m not accusing you, Mr. Scheer, of being English.) Huffing and puffing with no result will earn you plaudits from Fleet Street hacks, but Becks has grown wiser with age and a bit of experience on the continent. He has not been signed as a midfield ball winner. Rather, he’s supposed to provide quality passes, accuracy in dead ball situations, and leadership. He’s doing that. But, quoth the naysayers, the Galaxy are still terrible! True, but it’s not because Becks doesn’t run hard enough.

    My guess is that the team is awful because Gullit was mailing it in. The Galaxy defend woefully, in large part because of poor positioning and, more generally, tactical naivete. That’s the coach’s fault, and we’re talking about a man who ought to understand tactics, given his pedigree. But poor Ruud has never had much success as a coach, and I reckon a day came sometime this season when he looked around himself and, recognizing the shambles that his managerial career has become, said “f–k it” or its nearest Dutch equivalent. Now he’s left the team in mid-season because he lacks the stomach to see things through to the bitter end. Bedankt, Ruud.

  26. Mark says:

    Two points:

    1. Beckham as a player has always been extremely overrated, a creation of the English media and their tendency to exaggerate the abilities of English players and obsession with celebrity. His time at Real Madrid from a soccer standpoint was extremely disappointing – two poor seasons and then a league title in the third – thanks to a late season run, for most of which Beckham was dropped from the team. There is a reason that his contract with Madrid wasn't renewed and that he had no serious offers from other top European clubs. When he can do is sell T-shirts and can his picture taken a lot when he goes out with Posh Spice. As a player, he's a fraud, and so is the nice-guy routine – every word out of his mouth sounds like it was carefully crafted by his marketing team.

    2. The MLS is making the same mistake with the excessive marketing of David Beckham that they made with Freddie Adu four years ago – emphasing hype and merchandising at the expense of actually putting a quality product out on the field.

  27. Mark says:

    Two points:

    1. Beckham as a player has always been extremely overrated, a creation of the English media and their tendency to exaggerate the abilities of English players and obsession with celebrity. His time at Real Madrid from a soccer standpoint was extremely disappointing – two poor seasons and then a league title in the third – thanks to a late season run, for most of which Beckham was dropped from the team. There is a reason that his contract with Madrid wasn’t renewed and that he had no serious offers from other top European clubs. When he can do is sell T-shirts and can his picture taken a lot when he goes out with Posh Spice. As a player, he’s a fraud, and so is the nice-guy routine – every word out of his mouth sounds like it was carefully crafted by his marketing team.

    2. The MLS is making the same mistake with the excessive marketing of David Beckham that they made with Freddie Adu four years ago – emphasing hype and merchandising at the expense of actually putting a quality product out on the field.

  28. Forxa Barxa says:

    Mark:
    I would have to disagree with you. Beckham did have a meaningful career in Spain. He, for example, successfully dragged back Capello's stuttering Real towards the title by redeeming himself in the season's second half, especially after Capello kicked him out in the first. Remember the 4-2 game vs. Barca sometime in April 11, 2005 where Beckham was imperious?

    But I still feel that Beckham is a quasi-Messiah. Americans are proud of their sporting culture, and while they admire Beckham the man, it would be hard to see most American men following the MLS because Beckham is playing.
    American male culture loves machismo-like most other cultures. Among most American males, soccer has always been looked upon as the anti-machismo sport in the US, unless you are the off spring of immigrants or politically liberal. Indeed, Beckham is mostly the pin-up for the the well travelled, multi-cultural loving, Volvo or Prius driving, anti-Iraq war, NY Times reading person. In other words, Bechkam's relatability is limited to a certain crowd. In contrast, Cuatehemoc Blanco has made a very visible effort to become a voice for the Mexican immigrants in the United States. Every word that Beckham utters is designed to be totally marketable.

  29. michael says:

    Forxa Barxa dramatically overstates Beckham's success in Spain, and to call him “imperious” is laughable. This idea that he dragged Madrid to the title in the second half of his last season is a myth perpetuated by his marketing team and by the English media, desperate for an example of a successful English player abroad. Unless by 'dragged them to the title', you mean 'played about half the games, ran around a lot to little effect, and took some free kicks with occasional success.' I would have to say that the only thing meaningful about Beckham's time in Spain was his affair with Rebecca Loos.

  30. Forxa Barxa says:

    Mark:
    I would have to disagree with you. Beckham did have a meaningful career in Spain. He, for example, successfully dragged back Capello’s stuttering Real towards the title by redeeming himself in the season’s second half, especially after Capello kicked him out in the first. Remember the 4-2 game vs. Barca sometime in April 11, 2005 where Beckham was imperious?

    But I still feel that Beckham is a quasi-Messiah. Americans are proud of their sporting culture, and while they admire Beckham the man, it would be hard to see most American men following the MLS because Beckham is playing.
    American male culture loves machismo-like most other cultures. Among most American males, soccer has always been looked upon as the anti-machismo sport in the US, unless you are the off spring of immigrants or politically liberal. Indeed, Beckham is mostly the pin-up for the the well travelled, multi-cultural loving, Volvo or Prius driving, anti-Iraq war, NY Times reading person. In other words, Bechkam’s relatability is limited to a certain crowd. In contrast, Cuatehemoc Blanco has made a very visible effort to become a voice for the Mexican immigrants in the United States. Every word that Beckham utters is designed to be totally marketable.

  31. Forxa Barxa says:

    Michael: Our dear brother Sid Lowe wrote of Beckham in 2007 thusly:

    “With Madrid collapsing, Capello granted Beckham clemency on February 11, insisting “wise men correct their mistakes”. Beckham's first act was to rescue the Italian from the sack with a free-kick in a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. Injury followed but he returned for the crucial final weeks of the season – just as Madrid began to believe in a title that had appeared beyond them. Now an undisputed starter, Beckham has proven fundamental.”

  32. michael says:

    Forxa Barxa dramatically overstates Beckham’s success in Spain, and to call him “imperious” is laughable. This idea that he dragged Madrid to the title in the second half of his last season is a myth perpetuated by his marketing team and by the English media, desperate for an example of a successful English player abroad. Unless by ‘dragged them to the title’, you mean ‘played about half the games, ran around a lot to little effect, and took some free kicks with occasional success.’ I would have to say that the only thing meaningful about Beckham’s time in Spain was his affair with Rebecca Loos.

  33. Forxa Barxa says:

    Michael: Our dear brother Sid Lowe wrote of Beckham in 2007 thusly:

    “With Madrid collapsing, Capello granted Beckham clemency on February 11, insisting “wise men correct their mistakes”. Beckham’s first act was to rescue the Italian from the sack with a free-kick in a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. Injury followed but he returned for the crucial final weeks of the season – just as Madrid began to believe in a title that had appeared beyond them. Now an undisputed starter, Beckham has proven fundamental.”

  34. Mark says:

    Gross exaggeration from the English media, but what else would you expect? When you let the media form your opinion for you instead of using your own judgement, you'll find that you get things wrong more often than not…

  35. Mark says:

    Gross exaggeration from the English media, but what else would you expect? When you let the media form your opinion for you instead of using your own judgement, you’ll find that you get things wrong more often than not…

  36. The Beckham idea was good and still is. It has brought attention to the MLS that never existed before. The US media have shown marginal interest where they showed none before.
    For those of us who have known and followed the game for years, Beckham has been a failure as a player. He has never dominated or stamped his personality on a game the way Blanco does or Valderrama or Donadoni did. He hasn’t scored from a free kick since last year and his dead ball distribution is now average. However his arrival has been good. It is now important that teams sign foreign players that want to produce.

  37. J Harris says:

    Beckham's lack of impact with the Galaxy has been striking. The team has now gone something like 45 games without scoring off a corner. He may have been a great marketing tool to the types of people described above but as a footballer, Blanco has had a much bigger impact and thus Chicago is far ahead of LA in the table.

  38. J Harris says:

    Beckham’s lack of impact with the Galaxy has been striking. The team has now gone something like 45 games without scoring off a corner. He may have been a great marketing tool to the types of people described above but as a footballer, Blanco has had a much bigger impact and thus Chicago is far ahead of LA in the table.

  39. Max says:

    Beckham seems a step slow in MLS without adequate cover. MLS was supposedly a slower league but the league is almost moving too quickly for him. He cannot do anything down the flank and seems uncomfortable in the middle. How Bruce Arena works this out will be a real test to his coaching caliber.

  40. Max says:

    Beckham seems a step slow in MLS without adequate cover. MLS was supposedly a slower league but the league is almost moving too quickly for him. He cannot do anything down the flank and seems uncomfortable in the middle. How Bruce Arena works this out will be a real test to his coaching caliber.

  41. Forxa Barxa says:

    Bruce Arena's appointment is a nightmare. He wil bring in the typical English style game: long passes, and physical play. This sort of game will, however, suit Beckham, a style which may compromise its p opularity in the MLS. IF my true fears are confirmed, then Go Chivas!

  42. Forxa Barxa says:

    Bruce Arena’s appointment is a nightmare. He wil bring in the typical English style game: long passes, and physical play. This sort of game will, however, suit Beckham, a style which may compromise its p opularity in the MLS. IF my true fears are confirmed, then Go Chivas!

  43. Chris says:

    David beckham was a decent player, but not a ronaldinho, he is overhyped to a large degree. the man played 13 games in his last season at real madrid and was subbed in most of these games. ruud van nistelroy scored 20 goals, even the likes of reyes had a bigger role in the title run. He was bought by madrid to sell T-shirt to asian fans. He is exposed in the us. He can take a corner but for 25 million a year i would want more than that.

  44. Chris says:

    David beckham was a decent player, but not a ronaldinho, he is overhyped to a large degree. the man played 13 games in his last season at real madrid and was subbed in most of these games. ruud van nistelroy scored 20 goals, even the likes of reyes had a bigger role in the title run. He was bought by madrid to sell T-shirt to asian fans. He is exposed in the us. He can take a corner but for 25 million a year i would want more than that.

  45. thomas says:

    An interesting measured tone in this article which fails to compensate for its inconsistent argument.

    New supporters need to be won with a higher quality product, so the prescription is to force out the highest earning and most visible symbol of quality..? well really!

    No. The artificial parity may create new levels of league-wide excitement, but only by artificially maintaining internal disparity on rosters.

    As you say, Houston and New England are the most consistent performers, but this is because they have the fewest weaknesses and afford the highest median quality of player, which is at most an indirect consequence of a lack of a designated player. It is more directly a consequence of having the most stable internal set-up, which follows on from their billionaire ownership groups supporting them above and beyond pure fiscal sense but in the interests of league stability – neither of these teams make a profit and neither are likely to until they build SSS's, yet they will be among the last in MLS to do so.

    The answer is that MLS is developing just fine, it is only the commentators who are impatient for the point in 3-5 years time when it can start to be taken seriously.

    This point will occur when everyone recognises, understands and accepts how MLS integrates with global competitions – it is the same as trying to enjoy the game before you know what the offside rule is.

    Only when the Concacaf CL is bedded in and a US club qualifies for the CWC and pits itself against a European or S American team in a meaningful competitive match will MLS start mattering. And until then everybody must remain patient.

  46. Dave says:

    Beckham was 2nd in world footballer of the year twice. He was an amazing footballer who could hit a ball onto your head from anywhere on the pitch. I think doubting his calibre has been part and parcel for him as his career has come towards its finale but people should remember him for the footballer he has been. You do not play week in week out for Manchester Utd and then for Real Madrid if you're not world class. People in the UK may have hyped him, but he did single handedly get England to the world cup, set up 70% of the their goals for 5/6 years whilst being immense for Man Utd. Only people that have seen him for season after season in his prime should be allowed to comment on him. In the US LA are the top scorers or thereabouts and he's setting up and scoring goals as is his job. He's not a defender which is what the team need. Regardless of pay 1 man doesn't make a team and he cannot do it all on his own.

  47. thomas says:

    An interesting measured tone in this article which fails to compensate for its inconsistent argument.

    New supporters need to be won with a higher quality product, so the prescription is to force out the highest earning and most visible symbol of quality..? well really!

    No. The artificial parity may create new levels of league-wide excitement, but only by artificially maintaining internal disparity on rosters.

    As you say, Houston and New England are the most consistent performers, but this is because they have the fewest weaknesses and afford the highest median quality of player, which is at most an indirect consequence of a lack of a designated player. It is more directly a consequence of having the most stable internal set-up, which follows on from their billionaire ownership groups supporting them above and beyond pure fiscal sense but in the interests of league stability – neither of these teams make a profit and neither are likely to until they build SSS’s, yet they will be among the last in MLS to do so.

    The answer is that MLS is developing just fine, it is only the commentators who are impatient for the point in 3-5 years time when it can start to be taken seriously.

    This point will occur when everyone recognises, understands and accepts how MLS integrates with global competitions – it is the same as trying to enjoy the game before you know what the offside rule is.

    Only when the Concacaf CL is bedded in and a US club qualifies for the CWC and pits itself against a European or S American team in a meaningful competitive match will MLS start mattering. And until then everybody must remain patient.

  48. Dave says:

    Beckham was 2nd in world footballer of the year twice. He was an amazing footballer who could hit a ball onto your head from anywhere on the pitch. I think doubting his calibre has been part and parcel for him as his career has come towards its finale but people should remember him for the footballer he has been. You do not play week in week out for Manchester Utd and then for Real Madrid if you’re not world class. People in the UK may have hyped him, but he did single handedly get England to the world cup, set up 70% of the their goals for 5/6 years whilst being immense for Man Utd. Only people that have seen him for season after season in his prime should be allowed to comment on him. In the US LA are the top scorers or thereabouts and he’s setting up and scoring goals as is his job. He’s not a defender which is what the team need. Regardless of pay 1 man doesn’t make a team and he cannot do it all on his own.

  49. jo says:

    I wonder how many of Beckham's games for Real Madrid Mark saw for him to pronounce so damningly on him. You'd get profounder soccer insight from George Bush.

  50. jo says:

    I wonder how many of Beckham’s games for Real Madrid Mark saw for him to pronounce so damningly on him. You’d get profounder soccer insight from George Bush.

  51. rainer scheer says:

    Beckham was once a very good player, but his lifestyle hastened his decline into mediocrity. At age 27 he was over 30 as a footballer. Now, at age 32, he is washed up. He can still kick a ball, but only because itr requires little movement. And, as stated earlier, kicking a ball is hardly a unique skill.
    Putting it another way, do you really think Sir Alex would have sold him to Real Madrid if he didn't think that Beckham was past his prime? 3 years at Madrid where the team underperformed and a 4th year where they won the title only because Barca threw it away. This with a team that was supposed to be the best in the world. Becks started about 10 matches that season, and I don't think he played 90 minutes in a match all season, but his buddy Tom Cruise showed up for the last match so it had to be because of Beckham that Madrid won the title.

  52. rainer scheer says:

    Beckham was once a very good player, but his lifestyle hastened his decline into mediocrity. At age 27 he was over 30 as a footballer. Now, at age 32, he is washed up. He can still kick a ball, but only because itr requires little movement. And, as stated earlier, kicking a ball is hardly a unique skill.
    Putting it another way, do you really think Sir Alex would have sold him to Real Madrid if he didn’t think that Beckham was past his prime? 3 years at Madrid where the team underperformed and a 4th year where they won the title only because Barca threw it away. This with a team that was supposed to be the best in the world. Becks started about 10 matches that season, and I don’t think he played 90 minutes in a match all season, but his buddy Tom Cruise showed up for the last match so it had to be because of Beckham that Madrid won the title.

  53. Dave says:

    Well he's in the England squad, hardly mediocre.
    As i said, 1 man doesn't make a team, he was loved at Madrid due to his hard work and impressive passing. Ask a spanish fan they'll say the same. Trophy's are not everything. The great Ronaldo (not Cristiano) has never won the Champions League but he's still one of the greatest forwards to have played the game. Beckham has got himself into the England squad as he's still doing now what he's always done, right midfield, get crosses into the box and be a threat from set peices.

  54. Dave says:

    Well he’s in the England squad, hardly mediocre.
    As i said, 1 man doesn’t make a team, he was loved at Madrid due to his hard work and impressive passing. Ask a spanish fan they’ll say the same. Trophy’s are not everything. The great Ronaldo (not Cristiano) has never won the Champions League but he’s still one of the greatest forwards to have played the game. Beckham has got himself into the England squad as he’s still doing now what he’s always done, right midfield, get crosses into the box and be a threat from set peices.

  55. Thom says:

    Look, I'm English, and I'll concede right now that Beckham is woefully overhyped. Even in his prime at United he was a one-dimensional player. George Best said it, er, best: “He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that he's all right. ” Add to that he's slow and cannot beat a man to save himself (a significant deficiency in the armoury of a supposed winger).

    Beckham has always been about his own brand. Imagine if he looked like Paul Scholes (twice the player Beckham could ever hope to be) – there's no way he would even have held a steady role in the England team, let alone wind up with a cushy payday in LA.

  56. Thom says:

    Look, I’m English, and I’ll concede right now that Beckham is woefully overhyped. Even in his prime at United he was a one-dimensional player. George Best said it, er, best: “He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that he’s all right. ” Add to that he’s slow and cannot beat a man to save himself (a significant deficiency in the armoury of a supposed winger).

    Beckham has always been about his own brand. Imagine if he looked like Paul Scholes (twice the player Beckham could ever hope to be) – there’s no way he would even have held a steady role in the England team, let alone wind up with a cushy payday in LA.

  57. dan says:

    I've seen Beckham live three times this year, watched another four on TV. Can't say I've seen many problems with his game. He's scored some terrific goals, his passing has been superb, his work rate more than satisfactory. Still tracks back into a defensive role like he did in his younger days. Seems to be playing with a sense of enjoyment.

    And the Galaxy draw big crowds wherever they play. As usual, critics make mountains out of molehills. Pro soccer isn't going to become an overnight sensation in America regardless of Beckham. The game and its glamour boys have been there before, floundered and been reborn to become stronger than ever. It has a long way to go to achieve the success it seeks, but whether Beckham succeeds or fails won't alter the progress of the process.

    The fact that MLS continues to grow as a business through the construction of new, soccer-specific stadia or the addition of incredibly wealthy, successful owners like Paul Allen in Seattle or MLSE in Toronto – who own the NBA Raptors and NHL Maple Leafs – is far more indicative of the league's bright prospects than anything one player does or doesn't do.

    All this criticism directed at Beckham only serves to show the deep feelings English and European fans still have for him.

    And if this carping about a high-profile MLS player helps them overcome their general ignorance of MLS Beckham has done service to both the game over here and fans over there.

    Coz, dontcha know, America's gonna win their first World Cup well before the self-devouring English get even a sniff of a second.

  58. dan says:

    I’ve seen Beckham live three times this year, watched another four on TV. Can’t say I’ve seen many problems with his game. He’s scored some terrific goals, his passing has been superb, his work rate more than satisfactory. Still tracks back into a defensive role like he did in his younger days. Seems to be playing with a sense of enjoyment.

    And the Galaxy draw big crowds wherever they play. As usual, critics make mountains out of molehills. Pro soccer isn’t going to become an overnight sensation in America regardless of Beckham. The game and its glamour boys have been there before, floundered and been reborn to become stronger than ever. It has a long way to go to achieve the success it seeks, but whether Beckham succeeds or fails won’t alter the progress of the process.

    The fact that MLS continues to grow as a business through the construction of new, soccer-specific stadia or the addition of incredibly wealthy, successful owners like Paul Allen in Seattle or MLSE in Toronto – who own the NBA Raptors and NHL Maple Leafs – is far more indicative of the league’s bright prospects than anything one player does or doesn’t do.

    All this criticism directed at Beckham only serves to show the deep feelings English and European fans still have for him.

    And if this carping about a high-profile MLS player helps them overcome their general ignorance of MLS Beckham has done service to both the game over here and fans over there.

    Coz, dontcha know, America’s gonna win their first World Cup well before the self-devouring English get even a sniff of a second.

  59. Thom says:

    “Coz, dontcha know, America’s gonna win their first World Cup well before the self-devouring English get even a sniff of a second.”

    You're funny…

  60. Thom says:

    “Coz, dontcha know, America’s gonna win their first World Cup well before the self-devouring English get even a sniff of a second.”

    You’re funny…

  61. Andrew says:

    I will agree that Beckham has been overyped by the Media but there is no player that could live up to that amount of hype. Beckham was instrumental in Madrid winning the title in 2007. I watched most of the games and even went to Madrid twice so I feel pretty confident that my assessment is not media based and probably more accurate than Mark's.

    However, I must admit I am biased as I am a huge Beckham fan. I can't wait for the movie he and the rest of Real Madrid are in, GOAL 2, comes out next friday.

  62. Andrew says:

    I will agree that Beckham has been overyped by the Media but there is no player that could live up to that amount of hype. Beckham was instrumental in Madrid winning the title in 2007. I watched most of the games and even went to Madrid twice so I feel pretty confident that my assessment is not media based and probably more accurate than Mark’s.

    However, I must admit I am biased as I am a huge Beckham fan. I can’t wait for the movie he and the rest of Real Madrid are in, GOAL 2, comes out next friday.

  63. bocia says:

    i agree that beckham was great, but still unavoidably over-hyped as the poster-boy of british soccer. too pretty for the blood and guts uber-macho american male, he cashes in but inevitably fails to bring either more fans or any real presence to the game. mls would do better to bring in some working class heroes, like rino gattuso!!! ha ha … no, really!

  64. bocia says:

    i agree that beckham was great, but still unavoidably over-hyped as the poster-boy of british soccer. too pretty for the blood and guts uber-macho american male, he cashes in but inevitably fails to bring either more fans or any real presence to the game. mls would do better to bring in some working class heroes, like rino gattuso!!! ha ha … no, really!

  65. Nemo says:

    Everyone always forgets one fundamental about David Beckham – as a footballer, he made the absolute maximum of his abilities. He would be the first to tell you that he doesn't have the natural ability of a Zidane/Best/Pele etc., but he made his reputation by working like a maniac to be the best that he could be. He was superb for Man Utd and Madrid. He's still first choice for England and although I haven't seen him play for Galaxy, it's clear that he's not finished yet. If you ignore all the celebrity nonsense (the only reason Ferguson ever let him go), you're left with a decent (world class in his day) footballer and a decent bloke – nothing more, nothing less.

  66. Nemo says:

    Everyone always forgets one fundamental about David Beckham – as a footballer, he made the absolute maximum of his abilities. He would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t have the natural ability of a Zidane/Best/Pele etc., but he made his reputation by working like a maniac to be the best that he could be. He was superb for Man Utd and Madrid. He’s still first choice for England and although I haven’t seen him play for Galaxy, it’s clear that he’s not finished yet. If you ignore all the celebrity nonsense (the only reason Ferguson ever let him go), you’re left with a decent (world class in his day) footballer and a decent bloke – nothing more, nothing less.

  67. Hawk says:

    We need more people like Rainer Scheer in this world…….able to see through all the charade and notice that Beckham was surplus to requirements as a top flight footballer five years ago.

    A man who will also no doubt remember that during Beckham's supposedly Lazarus-like comeback in his final months at Real, they still almost threw the title Barcelona had presented them away in the final match against Mallorca. That was until Beckham got the hook with half an hour left and his replacement, Jose Antonio Reyes, turned the game around.

    Mr Cruise still celebrated though.

  68. Hawk says:

    We need more people like Rainer Scheer in this world…….able to see through all the charade and notice that Beckham was surplus to requirements as a top flight footballer five years ago.

    A man who will also no doubt remember that during Beckham’s supposedly Lazarus-like comeback in his final months at Real, they still almost threw the title Barcelona had presented them away in the final match against Mallorca. That was until Beckham got the hook with half an hour left and his replacement, Jose Antonio Reyes, turned the game around.

    Mr Cruise still celebrated though.

  69. Chris says:

    I can't get my head round the beckham myth, he's good but ffs, he has never been one of the greats. I would imagine in a few years time, his mythical status will only grow. He has more exposure than far better players in his own generation. Ronaldo, zidane and rivaldo are legendary. all time greats. His work rate is also a work of fiction. He is 15 yards of the centre line all game, never tracks back and as to his amazing free kicks, his record is pretty poor; 5 free kicked goals in 103 englad games tells its own story. He is really a corner kick taker. Imagine if he had the same talent as the likes of henry, his hype would dwarf the milky way. Bur as a man, i like that he made 100s of millions, something even Ronaldo and zidanne can only dream of.

  70. Chris says:

    I can’t get my head round the beckham myth, he’s good but ffs, he has never been one of the greats. I would imagine in a few years time, his mythical status will only grow. He has more exposure than far better players in his own generation. Ronaldo, zidane and rivaldo are legendary. all time greats. His work rate is also a work of fiction. He is 15 yards of the centre line all game, never tracks back and as to his amazing free kicks, his record is pretty poor; 5 free kicked goals in 103 englad games tells its own story. He is really a corner kick taker. Imagine if he had the same talent as the likes of henry, his hype would dwarf the milky way. Bur as a man, i like that he made 100s of millions, something even Ronaldo and zidanne can only dream of.

  71. Will Kuhlkamp says:

    Beckham left Man. U. for Real a team which did not need him and were he had no impact on their performance on the field. He was basically bought in to improve their
    marketing potential. No change there in his move to the Galaxy. Years ago David was a good player who had the potential to become a great one. Unfortunately for his fans he decided to follow the money. The normal thing to do these days. Since those days it has been all about hype rather then substance gladly provided by the English media.
    For him it's too late now. His best years as footballer have been wasted. As for the Galaxy and North American football who knows. Pele and Beckenbauer certainly made a greater impact here years ago but even that came to naught.

  72. The Gaffer says:

    The message you sent requires that you verify that you
    are a real live human being and not a spam source.

    To complete this verification, simply reply to this message and leave
    the subject line intact.

    The headers of the message sent from your address are shown below:

    From Sun Aug 24 14:06:59 2008
    Received: from disqus.com ([74.86.107.154] helo=disqus.net)
    by box360.bluehost.com with esmtp (Exim 4.69)
    (envelope-from <>)
    id 1KXLrX-0000tq-7u
    for thegaffer@epltalk.com; Sun, 24 Aug 2008 14:06:59 -0600
    Received: from fray.disqus.com (unknown [10.8.50.130])
    by disqus.net (Postfix) with ESMTP id E156A4015D
    for <thegaffer@epltalk.com>; Sun, 24 Aug 2008 15:07:03 -0500 (CDT)
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”utf-8″
    MIME-Version: 1.0
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
    Subject: [majorleaguesoccertalk] Re: A Galactic Mess

  73. mark jenkins says:

    Beckham flew to China so that he could be used as window dressing to promote the 2012 Olympics. That, presumably, was more important than training with his team and their new coach. And you still wonder why the Galaxy are a pathetic joke.

  74. Stuart says:

    David Beckham got us (England) to one World Cup singlehanded, by virtue of scoring the last gasp equaliser aginst an average Greece Team. (Yes they were Euorpean Champions 2 years later but they had improved). That was in 2002 – I'd imagine Kevin Costner was still making profitable movies in 2002 but would you open a $200m blockbuster with him tomorrow? Since that game, Beckham has done nothing in two World Cups and one European Championship. Good player but vastly, vastly overrated.

  75. Bob says:

    The quality of a player is marked by how he is rated by his peers. We can argue whether he was anywhere near as good as Zidane or Figo, but the truth is only an exceptional player would have been able to break into that team – it just says how good the rest of the galacticos were to say that they were better.

    The quality of the man is marked by the level of prominence he has attained for himself. We can argue whether he is a product of pure marketing or whether the marketing is a product of his ability but it doesn't change the fact that he inspires more kids, aspiring players and fellow pros alike (even Landycakes loves him), and there's no doubting Beckham can sell more shirts than any other sporting figure.

    And he still works everyday on his game and his image, so is it because of this or in spite of this that he is still a pretty normal bloke who average people like you and me can relate to?

  76. jacob reilly says:

    i don't think Beckham cares that much. he is somehow still holding down a place in the England sqaud (in the starting XI believe it or not!!) and so actually his career hasn't suffered at all. he has been used as a marketing tool (and used himself as one) since the turn of the century, i reckon it is nothing he can't deal with.

    you need to calm down a bit on how “great” a player he is too. really, he isn't that “great” nor has he ever been.

  77. i agree that beckham was great, but still unavoidably over-hyped as the poster-boy of british soccer. too pretty for the blood and guts uber-macho american male, he cashes in but inevitably fails to bring either more fans or any real presence to the game. mls would do better to bring in some working class heroes, like rino gattuso!!! ha ha

  78. Pingback: 1999 - 2008 @ Taurus Virgo Signs, Ford Taurus Parts Cold Air Intake - 13.defutbolazo.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>