With the head of the Mexican Football Federation in L.A. Monday, it seemed like a good time to look at the continuing struggles of that nation ahead of its final first round World Cup qualifying game for today’s column.
As always, it’s hard to fit everything into a column.
Here’s a few bonus quotes from Lalas (and while he declined to speak in detail about his Galaxy experience until January – presumably he’s still under some form of contractual obligation – you can read between the lines with some of his quotes).
On the new environment Eriksson finds himself in, despite his track record:
*”I have some experience with making a big splash in terms of who you sign, but ultimately it’s in the results. Just because somebody has experience doesn’t mean that translates into success. Just because somebody has made a name for themselves some place else doesn’t mean it translates into coming into some place else.
He’s a great coach and he thinks about things in a certain way, but he has his work cut out for him here in CONCACAF and I think he’s recognizing some of the challenges.”
*On where Mexico lags the U.S. and other nations:
“I don’t think they have enough players who are playing around the world and I don’t think they encourage enough players to come into the Mexican league to augment what they have because it is a great league and it is at times wonderfully entertaining.
“Certainly if you look at the Mexican futbol league compared to MLS they have a much greater history and much more to build on, but it’s not translating into results.”
*On what the U.S.has done right in comparison to Mexico:
“We’ve been open-minded in terms of the different types of coaches and different types of philosophies. We’ve encouraged players to play overseas and use that experience in terms of bringing them back.
“We’ve also recognized that maybe the physical advantage that Americans enjoyed for a while and used to their advantage wasn’t enough – the tactical part of it had to be sound also. We also got more wily and less naive in our approach on and off the field in that we understand how to manage games, we understand the difference in playing a home and away game.
“We’ve thrown a lot of money and a lot of resources into developing our younger players and our national team. It’s paid off.”
Donovan in Germany
In the least surprising news of the day, the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan will train with Juergen Klinsmann’s Bayern Munich for 10 days to “stay fit.” Yeah, sure.
Of course, Donovan is looking to play overseas, Klinsmann has had close ties with the Galaxy in the past and has said he’s in search of a new striker when the January transfer window opens. Goodbye and good luck, Landon.
Former Galaxy Coach and long-time Sigi Schmid was not surprisingly named MLS Coach of the Year today after leading his Columbus Crew to first in MLS during the regular season.
Here’s a look at Schmid’s career by the numbers, courtesy of the Crew:
*17 – His number of playoff wins is the best in MLS.
*57 – The Crew’s point total this season was the best in club history.
*17 – The Crew’s win total this season was the best in club history.
Lalas, who will continue as MLS analyst for Thursday’s Crew-Fire playoff game and for MLS Cup, said Columbus is his pick to win the title:
“I am nothing if not a believer in karma and that you are rewarded for your efforts over a period of time. It doesn’t always work like that in MLS and in fact we almost discourage that, but a team like Columbus that has played consistently well, that has given their fans an entertaining and ultimately successful product from the beginning of the season – that that will bear out.”
Finally, San Jose’s Darren Huckerby was named MLS Newcomer of the Year today after scoring six goals and assisting on four others in just 14 games after joining the Earthquakes in mid-season.
I’ll be back later in the day with the Honda Player of the Year winner and more.