Beckham's ghost looms over Galaxy
You can't blame coach
By hard-balling Beckham and AC Milan, the Galaxy, MLS and AEG have surely toughened up their image abroad and carved out the best possible economic solution. Milan has to pay more than $3 million to keep Beckham and he'll have to fork out at least that much come October to buy out his contract.
And since he can't play in Europe until January anyway, he might be persuaded to stay with the Galaxy long enough to play a friendly or two -- under a revenue-sharing deal, of course -- before he heads back to Italy. In any case, his return will further disrupt a team that conclusively proved the past two seasons it doesn't deal well with changes, great or small.
Rather than deploy veteran
Most of the time it looked about as mediocre as the Quakes, who have their own issues in the second year after expansion, especially in light of how well conference rival Seattle has started off its expansion quest. Losers of two straight, the Sounders still are 3-2 and in second place.
Lacking the injured
In their nine games combined, San Jose and Los Angeles have played seven at home, and compiled just eight points. This would not be critical in MLS 2005, with expansion Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake lagging at the bottom of a weak six-team Western Conference, and a playoff slot guaranteed to the fourth-place finisher. With the ninth-best record, Los Angeles snuck into the playoffs and rolled to the title. But that was then.
Instead, only the top two teams in each conference are guaranteed a slot, and the other four playoff berths go to teams on the basis of standings points. Yes, it's very early, but already Los Angeles is last and that's after playing its first three games at home.
Both Chivas USA and RSL reached the playoffs last year and, at this point, look like better teams. So do the Sounders. Two weeks ago, Colorado beat the Galaxy 3-2 at Home Depot Center, and plays host to L.A. this weekend. And we haven't even mentioned Houston, which finally got its first win, beating the Rapids 1-0 on Sunday.
After trying Lewis at left back earlier in the season, Arena moved the U.S. veteran into midfield against his former team, and gave rookie
There are myriad areas in which Arena is trying to foster cohesion and communication, elements that are especially critical in a league where momentum can be hard to generate because of parity among the teams and disruptions caused by international call-ups as well as injuries and suspensions.
There's time. But with call-ups and disruptions looming in June and Beckham's arrival in July, there's not much of it. Los Angeles struggled to catch up after falling too far behind last season, and despite changes on the coaching staff as well as the roster, '09 is looking much the same.