The latest on the Galaxy mess

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You knew things were bad in Los Angeles Galaxy land after Sunday’s loss to San Jose. Now, we have some insight into just how bad things have been.

SI.com’s Jonah Freedman has uncovered some juicy background on the state of the Galaxy, AEG president and CEO Tim Lieweke visited the Galaxy locker room last week and issued an ultimatum that if the team didn’t straighten things out that there would be "dire consequences."

Well, with a loss to last-place San Jose on Sunday, and a showdown with arch-rival Chivas USA in two weeks, you have to wonder if Lieweke is going to do something now or wait to see what happens against the Goats.

Freedman cited an L.A. Daily news article that revealed, among other things, that Gullit and Lalas are not getting along. Funny, haven’t we heard that somewhere else before?

I asked it last night, and I’ll ask it again. Who, if anybody, should be sent packing in LA? I’ve never been a fan of mid-season shake-ups, particularly when it comes to coaches, but given the constant rumors of AEG’s unhappiness with the Galaxy, you can’t help but feel that something will happen this month unless LA starts winning some games.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

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62 Responses to The latest on the Galaxy mess

  1. joe k says:

    dump lalas, bring on isaiah thomas.

  2. Randy says:

    Lalas has to go. I like the guy, but he’s the one that assembled this mis-matched squad.

  3. nathan3e says:

    I am going to boldly state that it is possible that Lalas has no idea what he is doing.

  4. Alex says:

    Abel Xavier was a coach critic, and he’s gone. So I don’t think the coach goes. Gullit survives by virtue of having Beckham’s backing alone. But he’s also only had half a season to work with. All signs point to Alexi’s time as court jester is up. While Abel Xavier is prepping his portfolio for the position as we speak. But should he go, possible candidates? My guess would be a former English or Dutch player with little to no GM experience. No one domestic, though I think Arena would take the job in a second. Dream scenario? They lure Agoos with promises of fame and glory.

  5. TK says:

    How Alexi Lalas still has a job in this league, anywhere, is beyond me. Embarrassing actually. A joke.

  6. In this equation of futility, Lalas is the common denominator. No team with Beckham and Landon should lose to the Earthquakes.

  7. Drew-ROC says:

    I like the Isaiah Thomas idea. I say he could do just about as well as Sideshow Lalas.

  8. brett says:

    Gullit is a world recognized player and coach…. Lalas is a joke… im no LA fan, but for whats best for the league, dump Lalas….

  9. Chris says:

    It should be Alexi that goes, however when it comes to changing the results the Galaxy are getting on the field for the rest of the season, firing Alexi would likely have no impact whatsoever. Replacing a coach would have a greater affect (though I think that would be a bad idea).

  10. sublicon says:

    Lalas should go, without question…but only because he’s a ginger.

  11. Barksdale says:

    See ya, Lalas.

  12. matt says:

    seriously, ives, is this even a question? lalas has fumbled and bumbled time and time again. the dude is horrible at his job. he’s got to go.

  13. Dave says:

    How about sack the MLS league rules that have tied Lalas’ hands behind his back in making player acquisitions? I understand the parity rules and salary cap keep MLS from becoming another NASL, but when it comes to push and shove the rules need to be loosening a little.

  14. manutd13 says:

    Didn’t Lalas do a bang up job with the Red Bulls as well? Everytime this guy goes some where things fall apart. It’s obvious by now he’s not GM material and should stick to plucking his guitar like he did in the 90’s or may I suggest managing a McDonalds. “What’s that…the shake machine is down? Quick who can we buy to fix it?”

  15. Speedball says:

    “How about sack the MLS league rules that have tied Lalas’ hands behind his back in making player acquisitions? I understand the parity rules and salary cap keep MLS from becoming another NASL, but when it comes to push and shove the rules need to be loosening a little.”

    [sarcasm] Yeah, poor LA never gets a break when it comes to the MLS salary cap rules. [/sarcasm]

  16. Rob says:

    I may be remembering this wrong, but I seem to recall Lalas having issues with his coaches the 2nd year at Padua.

    Then in MLS, he didn’t see eye to eye with Frank Stapleton. Stapleton was gone after one year in NE.

    But when Rongen came in the next year, even though he played Lalas regularly, he still wanted him traded in the offseason.

    Then he only lasted one season in New York before being traded to KC for Mark Chung.

    He only lasted one season in KC before “retiring” for a year, but KC switched coaches midseason that year.

    On top of that, there were the issues he had with being benched by Sampson during WC1998.

    It seems like, looking at his playing career, Lalas quickly wore out his welcome with coaches, but it never got too much attention because he had the “fortune” of having several coaches who were considered to be the problem. Then his career switched to the front office, where we’ve seen him try to run three franchises into thr ground.

    It’s odd…I don’t ever remember really hearing much about Lalas being a bad teammate or anything, but looking at what he’s done over the past 13 years or so, it seems he doesn’t play well with others. He seems to be taking his anti-authoritatian schtick into his position as GM.

  17. Brian says:

    I think they need to disband the Galaxy and send Beckham here to Houston. That way he keeps his AEG benefits and 401k and wouldn’t have to worry about starting over for his benefit pay.

  18. kpugs says:

    Maybe…and call me crazy here. But just MAYBE, if they were forced to actually comply with league rules and assign Landycakes a DL slot (obtained from another club obviously) and also were forced to unload Ruiz to a team with an open DL slot, they would have some more freedom to maneuver.

    Even with the league office doing all they can to ensure L.A. wins a championship, how can they think they’ll ever win under a salary cap with the players they have?

  19. Shakes says:

    “How about sack the MLS league rules that have tied Lalas’ hands behind his back in making player acquisitions? I understand the parity rules and salary cap keep MLS from becoming another NASL, but when it comes to push and shove the rules need to be loosening a little.”

    ————–

    Real sports leagues don’t “loosen the rules” when push comes to shove. That is bush league.

    Lalas should learn to do his job within league rules, like EVERY OTHER GM IN MLS.

    He has the best distributing midfielder in MLS, and one of the best strikers, and still gets beaten by the likes of San Jose. And lest we forget, the league rules were “loosened” to allow him to have such talents in L.A. in the first place.

    Fire his ass. Lalas is good at making noise about wanting to sign big name players, but can’t put together an overall competent team, as evidenced by their defense this year.

    Should rename the club the “Los Angeles Pylons”.

    – Scott

  20. mike from linden says:

    GIVE LALAS THE BOOT AND BRING IN HIS BROTHER ,LOL.

    BUT SAN JOSE ISNT THT BAD OF A TEAM ANYMORE, I THINK THEY CAN SNEAK INTO THE PLAYOFFS

  21. Kartik says:

    San Jose was due a win. Some of you may disagree but with their recent moves the Quakes may actually have the most accomplished midfield in MLS, and with the dominance they showed in the last few games in the midfield only translating to draws, LA was almost in a trap.

    SJ can make the playoffs as I discussed on my blog last night.

  22. Angel says:

    I think Lalas is not good for LALA Land. is time for a Change in the Galaxy front office and is time to change a little bit the Salary Cap Rules, this is not going to be a NASL. Doesn’t the commish know that this are different era and that there are more people envolve or liking the sport of soccer(Football). I not saying that to delete the Salary cap for good, just raise it a little bit or else we can have a war with Manchester United or Real Madrid for the bid of Critiano Ronaldo(joke) But serious is time for a change at least 10 million for each team, That we we can have a decent team that can compite with Mexican team and South American. GALAXY We need Solano here as soon as possible and lets get another defender with expierence and I think we can win this, BYE BYE Alexis LALAS GO BACK AND RUIN another Franchise Like SEATTLE SOUNDER THERE WILL BE LOOKING FOR A NEW GM.

  23. brett says:

    Dave – every other team follows the same rules… hell even LA exceeds those rules with all the grandfathers they have… how about LA fans stop complaining and point out why their team is failing even tho other teams have to play by the same rule…

  24. Eugene says:

    I still think AEG need to chill on the Galaxy. LA isn’t in a bad position — if they fix the goalkeeping and tweak the defense, they should have a good team down the stretch.

    I know expectations are high for the team, but they need to be reasonable considering the salary cap situation and the increased level of competition this year, particularly down the stretch.

    I’m more concerned that AEG will throw the baby out with the bath water and the team will suffer the consequences next year.

  25. kris says:

    I think its no big surprise on who’s on their way out. LALAS! If he didn’t get along with Yallop and now he’s not getting along with Gullit. Its obvious who the problem is here. A GM needs to be a leader, someone people can go to and get along with. Lalas is far from being that person. Get him the heck out of there.

  26. kco says:

    Angel – Seattle already has a GM/TD named Chris Henderson.

    Lalas could be GM for Hollywood United?

    Surely LAG have the salary room to dump Cronin and pick up a current quality MLS back-up that could be a starter (Seitz in SLC)

    Gullit has Jones on his bench so I don’t think he can play MLS ignorance halfway though the season.

    Is San Jose suddenly NOT the worst team in MLS currently? I know my Wizards can get a couple of votes for that title.

  27. Ruudy says:

    I think it would be crazy to dump your coach after 1/2 a season, especially after:

    a) They are very much in the playoff hunt

    b) as bad as they sucked last year, this year’s form is really not that bad (scary, isn’t it?)

    I think the common thread I’ve seen with LA in the past couple years is a schizophrenic buying and selling of players and inflated expectations. Coaches have changed during that time, so I don’t blame them…who has been here the whole time during this craziness, and could be responsible? Hmm…

  28. Mike Caramba says:

    I’m going to make a bold prediction about Lalas here…

    After the Galaxy fire him (he “resigns”?), he will have a job with the USSF within a year…probably less.

  29. Omar says:

    Great article! It is nice to read about the Galaxy here, since you only write about the red bull! lol

    Well, that is a different grude, but for now, Lalas has to go!

    He’s done some good things, but along with that he’s made the wrong trades ever.

    And the most annoying thing as a Galaxy fan is for someone or ANYONE to call chivas USA an arch-rival of the Galaxy. If I remember or know something about being rivals, at my 20+ years for existance, there has to be a history between two teams to be call arch-rivals.

    On a side note – I wish that the MLS people would have been smart and stop trying to bring mexican related teams here.

    But, stop saying arch-rival, I think I rivalry will be Galaxy-DC United, Galaxy- San Jose or even Galaxy-New England.

    There is a history between those teams!

    DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. kaca says:

    i think john guppy is still available. another aeg gm that didn’t know what he was doing!

  31. Why is Gullit’s house for sale?

    Maybe he is thinking, I want out of this mess…

  32. Javier says:

    Fire Lalas. This is the team he built and they suck. Steve Cronin is a terrible goalkeeper,thier defense sucks,the midfield keeps giving the ball away, they have one guy with a majority of their assists, and two guys who have scored the majority of thier goals. And where was thier much heralded new center back during the San Jose game?

    I understand it’s mid-season so major changes to the team will probably hurt the team,but get rid of Lalas and send Cronin,Vanney,and Vagenas with him.

    As far as the rules go look at what New England and Houston have done working within the rules. It’s not MLS’s rules that have hurt the Galaxy it’s Lalas and the team he’s put together.

  33. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Thats a bold prediction Mike, but I don’t think Gulati is that twisted to let that happen. As far as this Galaxy mess, I want to feel sorry for them, but the airs of entitlement that their fans put on makes me think better of it.

  34. Henry says:

    paul bravo needs to go his scouting combined with Lalas got us this crap Defense.

  35. Kevin says:

    “How about sack the MLS league rules that have tied Lalas’ hands behind his back in making player acquisitions? I understand the parity rules and salary cap keep MLS from becoming another NASL, but when it comes to push and shove the rules need to be loosening a little.”

    The only rules that should be loosened is the salary cap for the entire league, not just the Galaxy (who have been given breaks with Donovan and Ruiz, remember). The entire salary of a team here is less then many of the big name stars elsewhere in the world. Hell, Marcello Gallardo makes 1.2 mil a year, and that would be nothing in Europe.

    I agree with you that some rules should be loosened, but you seem to want the league to HELP the Galaxy to win (which they are already, so don’t encourage them).

  36. Curtis Spiteri says:

    Lalas is a joke. He’s the last of the AEG stooges.

    If Houston is lucky, Golden Boy or someone else will buy out AEG’s share and free themselves from an “A” Grade entertainment and real estate Company, but a “F” grade soccer organization operator.

  37. green says:

    As a SJ fan it makes it all that much sweeter to watch the scum wriggle in discomfort.

    LA-las is a piece.

    FUAEG.

    So glad we’re done dealing with you tools.

  38. Craig says:

    Dump Lalas and all the bad contracts/players (Ruiz, Vanney, Pires and Eduardo Dominguez (WOW does he suck!)) that he brought in ASAP. And get rid of Gordon and Vagenas while they’re at it. The cap space of those players total at least $745,000 (no salary info on Dominguez). You can easily find 3 quality replacements with that money.

    Oh and get a real GK!

    It’s been said (by the Galaxy) the league’s cap rules and having Beckham and Donovan on the roster prevent the Galaxy from signing quality players on defense and in the center midfield. I say hogwash!!!!! It’s the poor mid-level talent that is really hurting the Galaxy. Are you telling me that Peter Vagenas is really worth $144K? And why even bother signing Vanny’s corpse!

  39. JB says:

    They should encourage Donovan to go to Europe right now while the transfer window is still open. The team can’t be rebuilt as long as that salary albatross is preventing them from doing so. Then get rid of Lalas pronto, let him go destroy some club in USL.

  40. Fred says:

    Get the Dutchman Thomas Rongen for GM!

  41. EnglishBrit says:

    Can we trade Lalas for a DP? Maybe Toronto will want him?

  42. Rob C says:

    From a totally objective point of view, this is a really interesting story and speaks to the state of the league. It really has a very positive side as well as a negative one.

    On the positive side, a team in turmoil = a good story. The Galaxy being that team only adds to the fact that this story actually adds some intrigue to the narrative of the league. Yesterday’s regular season loss actually had some implications. Often times, we complain about how the regular season means too little, but for LA, losing yesterday really put their entire season in jeopardy (yes, they can still make the playoffs, but that’s besides the larger point). I think this is generally good for the league.

    However, it is also bad that this is happening to LA because of Beckham and all of the attention he brings. It’s true people wouldn’t care as much if not for LA’s “star power”, but for the casual soccer fan, they see that Beckham’s team is struggling and might lose interest.

    I don’t know, I think this is a very interesting situation. As an RBNY fan though, I’d love to see Lalas’ head roll.

  43. Squard says:

    Yeah, I can see Lalas “pulling an Isiah” and taking over coaching responsibilities.

  44. Furball says:

    Trading for “DP” Carlos Ruiz? Moronic

    Trading Chris Albright? Moronic

    Signing Xavier? Moronic

    Trading Joe Cannon? Moronic

    Playing Steve Cronin over Josh Wicks? Double Moronic

    CAN THE GINGE!!!

  45. Scott C says:

    I’m not a Galaxy fan, but I don’t see how firing either of these guys is going to do any good. I mean, has it helped the red bulls to fire their coach every year? In hindsight, Lalas has made same bad decisions, but I think a lot of the decisions are motivated by selling tickets, and not really the best moves for the team. I think the DP rule needs to be tweaked. Too much of LAs resources are tied up in these DP level players and there is not enough salary cap for the rest of the team. Except Chicago, every team with a DP is struggling. The best organizations, New England and Houston, don’t have a DP and are probably too smart to sign one, they tie up too much of the teams cap. But the DP idea is a good one, from a marketing standpoint. LAs problem was that they tried to build a “sexy football” team around DPs, which is good for MLS, but hasn’t worked out too well for them, and the whole thing is in danger of falling apart with another loosing season. MLS needs to relax some of these ridiculous parity rules…

    PARITY = BORING

  46. Enfilade says:

    Step 1: Get rid of Lalas

    Step 2: Scrap Vanney, Vagenas, Cronin, Ruiz, and Pires.

    Step 3: Acquire quality keeper, defensive mid, defenders that don’t have bloated salaries.

  47. Thom says:

    1. Fire Lalas

    2. Most likely fire Gullit after season because it makes little sense to do it now in terms of what could gained with the poor talent and salary cap situation.

    3. Get rid of Ruiz for whatever can be recouped. Also dump Vanney, Venegas, Franchino, Gordon, Pires (maybe even Klein and I have always admired him) etc. Why- all have experience and so their salaries free up cap space added to the fact that whatever they are paid is not worth it.

    4. Sell Donavon in winter transfer window and take what you can get.

    5. Sign a proven if average keeper who has the force of personality and experience to organize a back line ( i.e.- competent- I thought about mentioning Keller but he would cost way too much and would only be a temporary band aid at his age)

    6. Bring in football/soccer lifer from Europe or Argentina – pay a Steve Nichol type to consult (or better yet hire him since he is never going to get a stadium in New England)

    6. Give up sexy football until backline and “spine” can be rebuilt.

    7. Be a football club and not a sexy, marketing footprint.

    8. Offer Beckham a substantial minority position of ownership so he can attract his ilk and brand the franchise with his money not AEG’s. Also maybe he will renegotiate with himself to lower his cap hit!

    Question to board: Does anyone know what a Nichols or Dominic Kinner makes a year as well as their respective GM’s?

    If so take that and divide it into what Gullit and Lalas make and please let us all know the difference. This will be a very interesting number to all of us out here. For what they are paid there has got to be some quality professionals out there that know how to evaluate talent and then properly deploy it tactically.

    Thanks in advance.

  48. Nick says:

    I don’t know why everyone is so down on Cronin. Remember Guzan’s first year? The boy got shelled every game and look what he became. Besides, everyone going on about Josh Wicks must not have noticed that he had knee surgery and is only now coming back into full training.

    Anyhoo, Lalas has to go. He engineered the Ruiz trade which sent JC out of town. The only player keeping us from losing every game 6-0 last year. Also, the Albright trade. We got allocation for both those players that we used to get Ruiz. Wouldn’t you like a great defender and a fantastic goalkeeper instead of a whiny, crap striker? I hate my FO sometimes.

  49. SkiFast! says:

    Ha! Sell & move the club…to Vancouver

  50. alex says:

    The reality of it all is that Lalas was never the best player and is not even close to being in the position to be a GM. But, MLS has used him as a marketing tool because he is recognizable in the soccer world. Hopefully, American soccer has improved enough that we don’t have to rely on these tactics any longer. Until MLS begins to hire GM’s with expertise, the league will never get the recognition that is due. LA and NY are the two biggest venues and they both continue to disappoint with their choices!

  51. Mike Caramba says:

    @sonic

    well…it’d didn’t stop him from hiring Rongen after destroying New England and DC and proving useless at Chivas. I don’t want this to turn into an argument about Rongen, but I will say, the USSF has made some pretty silly decisions in the past…

  52. Sin2R says:

    Jason Kreis isn’t so bad.

  53. Joseph D'HIppolito says:

    The first person to go should be Leiweke. He’s the one who hired Lalas. More importantly, he’s the one who fosters this atmosphere of arrogant entitlement, intimidation and constant pressure that saps the potential for excellence. Why do you think Lalas made all those trades when he first got hired? He was under pressure to please Uncle Tim, der Obergruppenfuerher.

    There’s a reason why Leiweke made it clear that Lalas, Bravo and Gullit will make the decisions. It’s called “plausable deniability.” That’s what allows him to save his sorry posterior — despite the fact that he’s done nothing about the stadium situation in Houston, and despite the fact that he was so obnoxious in negotiations w/Red Bull over a new stadium that Red Bull had to pay AEG $50 M to vacate negotiations (right, Ives?).

    Get rid of Leiweke and you get rid of most of the Galaxy’s problems.

  54. Benjamin James says:

    Galaxy should have hired Darren Huckbery and then your left would be as good as your right. A more balanced team, with absolutely exceptional wide players, you would simply win by scoring more goals than you concede… forget about your defence play and just win by attcking.

    In fact both Beckham and Huckerby should be considered regular Engalnd players…

  55. Ben James says:

    By the way, Guillet is a good coach, dont judge him on half a season. Relax the wage cap rules, see how the ginger performs and make a judgement after the season, if need be.

    … Every club needs a ginger.

  56. Posse says:

    LA could have an all-star back line and an all-star goalie but the problem is a midfield that cannot control the ball.

    If they can get a couple of midfielders that can play, they can be the best in the league and nobody would have to worry about job security.

  57. Strider says:

    Its pretty obvious that the consensus is Lalas needs to go. While this won’t help right away, it will prevent further decline, i.e. MORE bad trades. [Oh, for clarity I am a Fire/Crew fan.] Give Gullit a chance to coach, it takes a while to figure the MLS ‘system’ out. Dropping Ruiz, Vanney, Vagenas, etc. should enable the team to find some defensive & GK talent and make the most of this season without mortgaging next season.

  58. Kaiser says:

    One man holds the answers to all of the Galaxy’s problem…Paul Mariner.

    As an English legend he would command Beckham’s repsect. He could also bring in the 3-5-2, and let Beckham create on the wing while having 2 defensive midefielders to cover for him (granted they would need to trade to get 2). Mariner is the mastermind behind NE’s great drafts, and he would provide a steady stream of young talent to the club. Mariner was also key in the club bringing in young internationals who have thrived this year.

    Mariner is the man who needs to be in charge of the Galaxy. Either as a GM or coach.

  59. Mike Caramba says:

    Gullit is okay…his results were mixed and fairly mediocre. Personally, I think the Galaxy should have gone for a “world-class” manager rather than the “big name” they advertised… I’m not saying he should be fired–he’s good enough to coach the Galaxy–but I wouldn’t classify him as a “great” or even “really good” coach.

  60. TJ says:

    Seattle Sounders FC general manager/minority owner is Adrian Hanauer. He is the current USL Seattle Sounders general manager/owner as well. The Seattle Sounders Fan Membership will vote to retain or retire the general manager every 4 years.

  61. mike says:

    Lalas must go.

    Gullit is staying, he is currently dealing with what he has as players. Donovan is either gone in the winter to Europe or will be in another uniform next year making more money. Gullit will be able to trade and bring in his players and make this his team. A team is not made in 4 to 6 months. Gullit is giving guys who try and are coachable time over other players, i.e the developmental player on the bench after impressing Gullit during the Galaxy staff/development team game in Dallas. We are giving Africans a look see and will probably be making a few drops in players and bringing in young Africans and Cubans for much less. Lalas brought in old MLS rejects from other teams, Vanney Franchino Vagenas all are too old for this league. None do their job well and suck up the roster spaces and money.

  62. brizzle says:

    Lalas should go. Lalas should go. Lalas should go. Lalas should go. Lalas should go. Lalas should go. Lalas should go.

    Or not…as a Quakes fan, I’m loving this!!