MLS Expansion vs Rebuilding

Cleaning out the digital voice recorder from vacation…

After the Seattle Sounders-Galaxy game I asked Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid the same question: Is it more difficult to create a brand new MLS team or rebuild a bad existing one?

Here’s what Arena said:

“I think building an expansion team is easier. Ironically, no-one in the press has a clue about that. I laugh when I see your guys’ opinions.

“They give you more money, they give you more draft picks, they give you more ways of getting players. It’s very much an advantage to start fresh than maybe trying to rebuild a team that’s already there. Having said that, you wouldn’t argue having to do it, say, (without) David Beckham.

“But I do think there’s many more resources for an expansion team, financially, and just your ability to get players. And I think the league has made some big errors in how they’ve allowed an expansion team to come into the league. I think it’s been wrong and it’s not fair to existing teams. … They have more resources to build a roster and they have more access to players – having rights to players in then A-League, to having the number one picks in all the drafts and all the numbers they have – they have a much easier way of getting players.”

Here’s Schmid’s response:

“His answer is it’s more difficult to rebuild a bad team. (Laughs).

“I’ve been on both sides. I think it is more difficult to rebuild a bad team especially when you’re financial resources have not been used appropriately, so therefore your hands are tied a little bit.

“But an expansion team is also difficult because you’re guessing in a lot of areas and you’re trying to get a group to play together in a short period of time so it presents a different difficulty than a team where you’ve got maybe four or five parts that are already working and you’re just adding some parts. You’ve got no parts you know are working at an expansion team and you’ve got to try and get it working as quickly as possible.”

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Galaxy Schedule June Friendly Against Costa Rican Team

The Galaxy this afternoon announced a June 9 friendly at Home Depot Center against Cosa Rican team Club Sport Herediano, which includes former MLS players and Costa Rican internationals Andy Herron and Mauricio Solis on its roster.

That makes the third friendly against international opponents in Southern California this season – after scheduling just two (from Asia) – in the last two years.

Hmmm, I wonder why?

“We strive to provide exceptional value to all of our season ticket holders and believe that games such as this one will only add to that value,” said Galaxy President of Business Operations Tom Payne.

Season ticket holders get in free.

Translation: “Our season ticket holders, rightfully angered by paying exorbitant prices for a less than convincing David Beckham-less team and seeing two friendlies against largely unknown Japanese and Korean teams last year, want more value for money. Please don’t cancel your season tickets.”

That’s what I thought you said, Tom.

Tickets go on sale to everyone else Friday. The Galaxy didn’t announce ticket prices.

From the Galaxy press release:

On Sunday, Herediano booked a spot in the Primera Division Verano Final against LiberiaMia with a 6-2 aggregate win over Brujas. The two-leg final will be played on May 20 and May 24 with Herediano looking to win their first championship since the 1992-93 season… Herediano were the top attacking team in Costa Rica this season, scoring a league-high 28 goals in 19 games.

The Galaxy also plays AC Milan July 19 in Carson and UEFA Champions League finalist Barcelona Aug. 1 at the Rose Bowl. Season ticket holders get in free to those games, too.

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Galaxy Squad Updates

New names and numbers up in the Galaxy locker room this weekend. Most are just training with the team.

*#26 Mike Stevens, a UCLA product who played for the Galaxy Under-20 team, and began training with the senior squad last week.

*#31 Goalkeeper Kevin Guppy of Chino Hills, a Cal State Northridge product and former Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, who played in the PDL last year.

*#33 Brighton & Hove Albion utility man Chris Birchall, who headed back to England Monday and will join Trinidad & Tobago for their World Cup qualifiers in early June before likely rejoining the Galaxy.

*#35 UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk, who has one year of college eligibility left, and played for the Galaxy Under-20 team, which is why he’s training with the first team as of last week.

#36 Ian Sarachan, Dave Sarachan’s son, who took a semester off school back in Illinois and has actually been training with the team for a while.

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Galaxy-Crew Post-Game Quotes & Highlights

AP Photo

i-2798cc3055a827b59a3feaa32482da83-crasandburn.jpgCrash and burn: The Columbus Crew’s Danny O’Rourke earns a second yellow Sunday for tripping the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan shortly before the end of the 1-1 game.

This is getting old.

The Galaxy have now scored more than 60 percent of their goals this season – seven – in the final 15 minutes of a game and are 0-1-6 when conceding the first goal. Five of the six draws materialized with a goal in the last 15 minutes of a game. Oh, and their seven game unbeaten streak is the fourth longest in club history.

Here is the game story from today’s newspaper.

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena described his players as “tentative’ going forward, the field as “slow” and slippery and Columbus as “awful good:

*”Given the circumstances we’re certainly happy with the point. I thought we really wasted 45 minutes today. Our first half was poor.

*”I don’t think we showed a whole lot of energy and we were out-competed in most positions on the field.

*”I thought in particular (Crew players Eddie) Gavin and (Brian) Carroll won the (midfield) battle against (Stefani) Miglioranzi and (Dema) Kovalenko (in the first half).”

Arena pretty much conceded at one point that this team has him stumped:

“Who can explain it sometimes? Sometimes you can’t quite figure things out in terms of why players react to certain conditions. We just didn’t react well to dealing with the heat in the early going. In the second half it was better. They needed to get screamed at a little bit at half time.”

Here’s Arena on Tony Sanneh’s IQ:

“I think if Tony has an IQ of over 40, I think he probably exactly understands the mistake he made. I didn’t want to dwell on it today. … Tony thanked the team for bailing him out. He knew he made a mistake. Schelotto made an excellent play, too. He’s a headsy player.”

Here’s Sanneh on his howler:

“I saw him coming that’s why I trapped it across my body ‘cos I didn’t want to go into him and then I probably should have just cleared it, but Omar (Gonzalez) was calling for it and I just over thought it. I saw the other guy coming in and I just tried to squeeze it in there, but I had a shitty ball.”

Arena on the team’s best player:

“(Mike) Magee was good today. He was our best player from start to finish. He wanted the ball in tough spots. He was confident with the ball at his feet.”

On Landon Donovan’s performance:

“Landon has to be more assertive in these games and I think he was in the last 45 minutes of this game. The first half he didn’t find himself. He was second on too many plays. And in the second half he turned it around, so give him some credit.”

Here’s the Crew’s Robbie Rogers on the Galaxy:

“They really are a team that just sits back and tries to counter attack with Landon so I think we could have kept the ball a little better in the second half. We maybe lost our legs a little bit and gave up one of those late goals.”

Arena’s scariest line of the press conference:

“We’ve gotten better in each and every game. We’ve gotten closer to where we want to be.”


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