Monday, August 11, 2008

LA Galaxy Clean House

Owners AEG last week issued an ultimatum to the team, specifically to General Manager Alexi Lalas and Coach Ruud Gullit--"get better or be gone with you." With seven straight games without a win and a tumble from the top of the Western conference to a position where it they would not qualify for the playoffs, AEG decided it was time to clean house. GM Alexi Lalas is gone and Coach Ruud Gullitt left for "personal reasons."

Lalas was fired, make no mistake about it. It was his moves, his policies and his failures that have created a team of essentially three superstars with something like 50% of the payroll and a group of young players, who have performed fairly well despite themselves (see Sean Franklin and Brandon McDonald). Lalas was a quality player and a defensive stalwart, but a lousy businessman.

Ruud Gullit, unlike Dominic Kinnear and Stevie Nichol, has not gotten how to work in the MLS. To be honest, I can understand how he got here. The salary cap is hard to deal with, particularly when the front office staff doesn't get how to run a club. Gullitt is a fine coach and has no doubt learned a lot from this episode, but I think that he may not have really given this league a chance.

Cobi Jones will be the interim manager and were I he, I would be looking for the door after this season no matter how much he does with the remainder of the games. Assistant GM Tom Payne will assume Lalas' duties.

A word to the future management of the LA Galaxy. Sell, Donovan, sell Buddle and start building a team from the get go. Admit that your attempts to build a "super-club" failed and begin building a real club. If Beckham buys himself out of his contract, take the money and run.

No comments: