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David Beckham

What’s Next for the LA Galaxy?

Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham holds his head after taking a fall during their MLS Western Conference final soccer match against FC Dallas in Carson, California, November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

The LA Galaxy are MLS’s most glamorous team in its second largest market.  It is coached by the most successful American soccer coach of all time, is captained by the most famous American soccer player today, and employs if not the most famous soccer player in the world, certainly the most recognizable.  It also has the 2010 Keeper of the Year and all-star players around the pitch.  And yet the team again has failed to win the MLS Cup, running its championship-less streak now to five years.  Supporters can take solace in the Supporters Shield and CONCACAF Champions League qualification, but for a team with so much star power and so many expectations, last night’s result has to be disappointing.

So where do the Galaxy go from here?

In yesterday’s match, FC Dallas took advantage of a Galaxy back line that was a strength against Seattle the week before, and reduced the defense to watching Ferreira & Co. make plays.  This is still, however, a young unit and the progress they made individually is impressive, especially Omar Gonzalez.  Where there is continued concern is depth.  Former USMNT player Eddie Lewis is retiring and injuries this season forced the team to shuffle its lineup toward the end of the season.  This offseason the club should look to shore up the defenders for the multiple competitions and inevitable injuries.

The elephant in the room are the two most famous LA Galaxy players – David Beckham and Landon Donovan.  Beckham looked to be finally healthy in the Seattle round, running up and down the pitch for all 90 minutes and, while not looking like Manchester United Beckham, still looked and played like a top-class MLS player.  However, he looked stifled by the Dallas defense in yesterday’s match except for some excellent set pieces (although he may have been injured).  He has already said he will play out the final year of his contract next year and will not go out on loan, but a factor to consider is his international duty.  Fabio Capello seems more and more interested in Beckham playing for the national team, and a rugged UEFA schedule at his age could hinder his play in MLS.  So next season, if Beckham does make the national team (and considering some of the call-ups recently England may need him) LA could again be playing with damaged or tired goods.

The second consideration is Landon Donovan.  The face of U.S. soccer is still under contract and is being paid as a designated player, but recent interviews suggest he still wants to play overseas while at the peak of his game.  And who can blame him – his time at Everton was successful for both parties.  But if he does spend some time in England, he like Beckham will also need time on the national team as the US gears up for CONCACAF.  Again, the LA Galaxy could be seeing the Landon Donovan of the end of the season – talented, but tired.

Donovan could be only one of the Galaxy players to be leaving the team.  Young Juninho is only on loan to the Galaxy, and an international cub could make a run at the youngster after a very good season.  And any one of the young defenders, especially Gonzalez, could catch the eye of an overseas club.  But that is the life of any MLS team, and LA has one quality that can help guarantee its competitiveness – a designated player spot/money.  Whether Ronaldinho or another star, the Galaxy are positioned by finance, roster, and location to be a prime destination for the next big name.

So while there are some worries with the Galaxy, they are still in a better position than most MLS clubs to continue their success.  Don’t forget that as long as they have Bruce Arena, they also have one of the best coaches in the game, which is an obvious advantage.  Some shrewed depth signings in the midfield and back line this offseason, as well as maybe another DP, and look for the Galaxy to be competing for the Supporters’ Shield again next season.

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  1. Dan

    November 16, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Charles – Donovan will probably go on loan, Everton sure as hell needs him

    I think we can never expect the MLS to truly become a strong league and allow teams like New York and LA to blossom in to the marquee clubs of our league to represent us in the Champions League and perhaps the Club World Cup until the salary cap is increased significantly. How can either of these clubs exepct to compete in so many fixtures with so little money to increase depth? Furthermore the STUPID MLS does not break on international dates which f*s over all the top clubs even more!

    • Charles

      November 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      I realize that many want “marquee” franchises, but just as many of us think that is the dumbest idea we have ever heard of. I am not going to root for NY or LA or Chicago, so if my team doesn’t have a chance,ever, I am just supposed to go to the games anyway ?

      As the league becomes stronger, the salary caps will go up. As opposed to when Seattle is strong ( now ) the salaries will go up for the “marquee” team.

      Exciting league as opposed to boring league in my opinion.

  2. Charles

    November 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Not sure where you are getting Landon wanting to play overseas ?

    In the ESPN interview after the game he was asked if he would be back playing for LA next year…the answer: OF COURSE.

    Maybe he goes out on the circus side show at Everton during THE offseason, hopefully not.

  3. Bolacuadrada

    November 15, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    You must also say “the best fans in the MLS.” Maybe not, I will say Seattle wins that one but I believe we are no far behind. Next step? Ronaldinho. Next year? CONCACAF Champions League Champions. I cannot wait for the signing of most fan to watch player of the last few decades. Go LA Galaxy!

    • Joe

      November 15, 2010 at 11:45 pm

      You’re about to be behind both Seattle and Portland in the fan department. And I’d wait on talking about doing anything in the CONCACAF Champions League after what happened this year…

      • Bolacuadrada

        November 16, 2010 at 12:14 am

        Starting behind Seattle and Portland is not a bad thing considering how I would like the MLS to grow. I would like to star behind Vancouver too and take it as a challenge. I will take the challenge anytime.

      • LI Matt

        November 16, 2010 at 4:57 am

        As the Supporters Shield winner, they go straight into the group stage this time.

  4. Joe

    November 15, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    If the rumor mill is to believed, what’s next is adding Ronaldinho to the mix. I’m not sure how another aging former star does much to help them, but maybe it’ll make a few headlines and bump ratings for a few weeks.

    The MLS Designated Player System: it’s faaaaaantastic.

    • Bolacuadrada

      November 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

      I think that if you are playing for the Brazilian national team in a rivalry game (Argentina), you are not a former star. To play for Brazil you have to be a *star period. Ronaldinho at 30 still has a lot to play for. He has stated that he wants to be in Brazil 2014. The only problem is that some Brazilian teams with a lot of sponsor money will make a run at him (Flamengo, Corinthians, etc.). With even offers he will probably decide for one of the Brazilian Giants. If LA Galaxy wants to bring him here, the offer has to be a lot better than the one he will get from home.

      • Joe

        November 15, 2010 at 11:39 pm

        I’m sure Ronaldinho has more left than Beckham, but the fact that AC Milan would pretty much just let him go at this point says a lot (especially considering the same team took Beckham on loan last season).

        • Bolacuadrada

          November 16, 2010 at 12:10 am

          AC Milan does not want to let him go and will offer him a deal (no for much). Now, why would AC Milan offer Ronaldinho a lot of money when Man city and Barcelona gave Robinho and Ibrahimovic for almost nothing. With Ibra and Robinho AC went from middle to the top of the table. Another thing, AC Milan is not paying the money other big clubs in Europa are paying for players. That is why they let Kaka go to Madrid. I like AC Milan but not paying tons of money to Ronaldinho may be a good situation considering that some clubs in Europe do not know what to do with their players and just give them away. This is good for LA Galaxy also.

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