Vancouver v. LA: A Meditation on Difference-Makers

My interest tilted toward the home team when I tuned into the Vancouver Whitecaps v. LA Galaxy. Memories of the season-opening curb-stomp against Red Bull New York the angle: maybe the ‘Caps would do it again, especially if they carried some confidence over from the prior week’s narrow loss to LA at the Stub Hub.

Pedro Morales made one hell of an impression in that opener. Talk of how he’d eviscerate any team fool enough to leave him alone with the ball at his feet bubbled into commentary. Yep, all very promising.

The Pedro Morales I watched last night was not that guy. He did hit a couple cross-field beauties, balls that landed on a dime’s edge from 40+ yards away – things o’ beauty, in all honesty – but he squandered those hot little flashes with some alarmingly loose, shorter-range passing. You start to wonder if Morales can only hit the long ball. Continue reading

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MLS Week 5 Recap: Reputations and Cool Kid Tables

ImageBlows came to a couple reputations in Week 5. Big questions dog the Houston Dynamo and the New England Revolution, but the shine also came off the Columbus Crew a little. Going the other way, did Toronto FC just move to the “cool kid” table? Some things didn’t change, however. I mean, who beats the Colorado Rapids when it comes to pulling a surprise out of an ass? And the LA Galaxy made it look easy against Chivas USA. Again.

The rest looks like the usual inconclusive mess. We probably won’t know anything until everyone jumps into their respective playoff brackets at the end of October (I assume; not looking it up). Or they make plans for an extended Christmas visit. That starts in November…maybe some team will do use the favor of doing something to encourage bold predictions. That will inevitably prove wrong.

All right, to the videos! Continue reading

LA Galaxy 2014 Season Preview: Kings of the Jungle

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“Hold on. I’ll get up. Soon.”

How’d 2013 Treat ‘Em: 15-11-8 (W-L-T), 53 gf, 38 ga; 3rd in the West
Year after year, around August typically, the Galaxy stirs from a comfortable nap, stretches a little, maybe glances at the morning paper, and then proceeds to kick the living shit out of everything around them. They stop kicking eventually, at the end of MLS Cup, and then it’s back to the nap. I suspect that any team above LA in the standings during the second half of 2013 made a regular habit of checking over their shoulders for the “super club’s” annual surge. Only last year, it didn’t happen. For whatever reason – better opposition, maybe; Mike Magee’s mid-season flight to Chicago, perhaps; the light of Goldenballs no longer shined on them – LA couldn’t find fifth gear last year. They posted solid numbers all in all – see above – but that whole haughty, invincible bit took a (long-awaited) blow.

Exciting Additions! – Samuel, Rob Friend, Stefan Ishizaki

Tricky Departures… – Sean Franklin

Quality Parts: A. J. DeLaGarza, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, Juninho, Robbie Keane, Jaime Penedo, Marcelo Sarvas

It Gets Better If They Come Good: Friend, Baggio Husidic, Leonardo, Jack McBean, Robbie Rogers, Samuel, Gyasi Zardes

What I’d Expect Based on the Above:
I won’t lie: I don’t remotely understand what LA did this preseason (no preseason tourneys? no trips abroad….what? And it’s too hard to figure out; c’mon, people, post preseason results), but I have some sense – not a good one, either, more of a foreboding – that LA set out to right some perceived wrongs in their roster and game-day approach. A couple big bodies up top (Friend and Samuel) give them more experienced options and, whenever they want it, a different means of assaulting other teams. Those come on top another year to improve for young players like McBean (another big body) and Zardes and all that sits on top of an already solid foundation. There’s still the Robbie Donovan show, plus decent cover at nearly every position, plus the new guys…all of which leaves the Galaxy primed for the long season ahead. Hell, all that depth means they could even hit the ground running, maybe even play the whole damn season for once. Personally, I think the built up the team precisely in order to be able to phone it in till late July while still winning the whole damn thing. They’re dangerous like nature’s laziest beast, the male lion – i.e., they lie rolling in the dirt until it’s time to eat or fuck something. And then they eat and fuck the shit out of it. I think LA is the team to beat in 2014. Naturally, I hope Portland does it. Again and again. (We play them twice times this year, right?)

2014 Season Opener: v. Real Salt Lake, March 8