I came across a quote from Galaxy great Mauricio Cienfeugos today on the Matchnight.com Network which I think sums up my problem with the Galaxy right now.
They (The Galaxy) have good players, but they need to play like a team. Real Madrid have the best players but don’t play like a team.
In my opinion, this has been the problem with the Galaxy since ’96 and the reason why there are so few MLS Cups won by the organization. Just look at the deal which brought Luis Hernandez to the Rose Bowl a few years ago. Players like Clint Mathis and Joe Franchino were moved in order to allow some prima dona to come in and not do anything. Now, Galaxy coach, Steve Sampson has totally rebuilt the squad and was forced to part with players like Carlos Ruiz and Danny Califf in order to get Landon Donovan. I’m not saying that Donovan will flop like Hernandez, but it’s the way in which these moves are made which bothers me.
Soccer is a team sport. No one individual can change the outcome of a game. It’s the combined efforts of all 11 players on the pitch which makes or breaks a team. Yet MLS (and AEG in particular) continue to market the team as individuals. We saw this marketing philosophy at its worst last season with the way the league push a 14 year-old phenom on the media as the sports savior in this country. Sure, crowds turned out in good numbers when Freddie Adu was in town, but has this curiosity translated into season ticket sales? A look at attendance around the league last Saturday shows the answer.
Soccer is a sport played by teams, not individuals. The sooner those with a say in the running of the sport in the country realize that, the sooner we’ll see better results both on and off the pitch.