Okay, what the f**k is going on with the Galaxy? Really, Alexi Lalas can talk about being the marquee franchise all he wants but: A) That’s in a tenth rate league and B) As a GM he has won exactly two things: nothing and dick.
Then there’s the coach, former two-time World Player of the Year Ruud Gullit, letting this little bit fly in the English press, as he told the Sunday Times:
“I’m sure that when people think of LA Galaxy, the picture that comes to mind is not of our staff making phone calls to friends on Friday to see if they can play in a reserve game on Sunday, but, strange as it may seem, this is the reality,” reveals Gullit, sitting in the sun near the VIP area of an empty stadium. “Two weeks ago we had a game at home [against San Jose] and I had two of my office staff from the commercial department playing, two people whose job is to sit in the office all day doing their work.”
Gullit goes on to explain the reality of the situation in that there are 26 players on the roster. Five were injured and there is a rule in MLS that prevents reserve team players from playing more than 120 minutes in 48 hours.
Then he adds of the reserves, which are usually scheduled for the day after the first team games, “If they have played the day before in the first team for 90 minutes you can do the maths.”
But there is more. So much more Gullity goodness.
“In the first reserve game of the season at Colorado I had a few players who could play for only 70 minutes and another who only could play for half an hour. So what did we do? We started with 10 men because we had to. You can say that it’s only a reserve game, but you can’t operate like this because the reserve game is important… If I have a reserve game and come up two men short, what happens? We have to call people from their job, maybe a carpenter, and they just come to play with our reserve team. If we play in Toronto, we have to call people in Toronto because no one will travel on their own all that way.
“Of course, we laugh about it a little bit, but in the end it’s not a laughing matter and it’s not good… this is an example of the things I am trying to adapt to. I’m not trying to change it yet, I’m trying to adapt to it, but in the end I’ll say, ‘You need to do things in a certain way because otherwise it’s not serious’. Really, it’s ridiculous.”
Those are the bits—or edited portions of them—that have made the rounds in the L.A. Times and The Spoiler where we first were made hip to it. But there is also this little bit of tid from the story (originally reported in the L.A. Times) that is equally as priceless:
Last weekend [Gullit] was compelled to introduce in the second half against Houston Dynamo a player, Joe Franchino, whom he had watched only on videotape.
“Yes, Galaxy fans, the same Joe Franchino . . . who, along with former [New England] Revolution teammate Gary Flood, was tossed out of a recent Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game at Fenway Park after fans complained of their obnoxious behaviour,” Grahame Jones reported last week in the LA Times.
“He is also the same Joe Franchino slugged by then teammate [and current Fulham striker] Clint Dempsey at training camp a few years back. He is also the same Joe Franchino who played only 57 minutes of soccer last season because of injuries. So the questions here are: just who made this trade? Did Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit know anything about it? . . . ‘
It appears that Gullit is not totally in the loop on the transaction front. Last week he was asked about the acquisition of defenders Scott Bolkan and Vardan Adzemian and their subsequent loan to the Portland Timbers. Gullit looked blank. He had never heard of either player.
This is beyond ridiculous, particularly for an organization trying to brand itself as the Gold Standard of MLS. Right? People hip to the designated player rules and the MLS salary cap are aware that the Galaxy’s paying off of Landycakes and Beckham has left little money to round out the squad (never mind that somehow they have a third designated player in Carlos Ruiz—each team is allowed a max of two and you have to trade for a second designated player slot to accomplish that, which apparently the Galaxy haven’t done), but did anyone think it was this bad?
I’d like to be sympathetic to Lalas, but I can’t. And is his fault for talking a big game. That and the league seems to make it up as they go to accommodate the Galaxy (and other players and teams at times).
But isn’t this the same organization that had half of Santa Monica come tryout for an open slot on the team (publicity stunt) and play with Becks? You really can’t find a couplathree people from that pool that are passable footballers that are willing to be fill-ins on the reserves if necessary?
As little as Americans generally care about soccer, I don’t think you could even measure how little they care about MLS reserve squad soccer. Whatever the unit of that caring is, it’s magnitude is probably in angstroms, but it’s indicative of a fairly unprofessional organization, or just a very, very under-qualified general manager.
Really, can any failed rocker get a front office job with AEG? Because I was in a pretty cool band in college.