I’m still trying to get my head around what happened in San Jose Saturday night. As someone who has followed the team for 10 years now and had season tickets to the Galaxy until this season, I need to register my disgust at what’s going on right now.
Now, I’ve never been a big Steve Sampson fan–well, except during that nice Copa America run when he was only Interim National Team Coach. However, after a year with him at the Galaxy helm, he’s proven that he’s best as a coach at running a team into the ground.
It has been a year now (to the day, 6-27-04) since LA collected 3 points on the road…and that game winner was a bit dubious (Kiroviski’s ‘hit-and-hope’ from the halfway line in Chicago). Steve Sampson has been given free reign on making wholesale player changes and the story is the same as it was when Sigi Schmid was shown the door…or is it?
In the first 7 road games last season, LA managed 8 points. They were 2-3-2. This season, even counting the ‘road’ game at Chivas, LA is 1-5-1 with 4 points. Things are going backwards and LA as a road team is getting worse. Thank God Chivas are so awful or LA would have a massive 1 point on the road this season….won at expansion Salt Lake.
Saturday night in San Jose was a classic example of all that is wrong with the team right now. My biggest complaint about Sampson before the ill fated 1998 World Cup was his inability of selecting a first 11. He seems to tinker with the line-up. Even with all his players available, he doesn’t seem to have confidence in his players and always chooses a line-up that he thinks will be best suited to the opposition rather than throwing his best line-up out and then reworking things as the game goes if things don’t work well.
So, Peter Vagenis was injured right before the match and created the need to make a change. I can understand Sampson’s desire to create some width and use the wings as much as possible, but was putting Donovan on the wing really the right choice? He was hardly there. I don’t know if it was the ranting from the home fans, the San Jose players or what, but he wasn’t a factor at all in the match. Wouldn’t he have been a better choice to slot in behind the forwards in the middle? Of course, Sampson’s desire to add width got stranger when he brought off Cobi. The logic just wasn’t there. Bottom line, there was no one in the middle that could control things for LA.
On top of that, why is it that the only offence LA had was a ton of crosses into the box with no one on the receiving end? Then again, what’s the teams leading scorer doing out on the wing, no where near the goal? Fan reaction aside, this was an awful performance from Landon and not helped at all by Sampson’s decision.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, Steve Sampson doesn’t have what it takes to be a successful MLS Head Coach. Take a look at the performances from the players he’s brought in. Not one of his signings (Donovan doesn’t count in that group) has done anything this season. In fact, if you look at what a couple of his cast-offs did on Saturday (Alejandro Moreno and Sasha Victorine) you could see he downgraded rather than upgraded the squad. If a 0-0 draw at home to Columbus (a team LA have always had a problem against) could get Sigi Schmid fired, what’s it going to take to get Sampson Fired? Bottom line, the team is looking awful and if Doug Hamilton will live by his words…
“I want to win championships, that’s first and foremost. But we have always believed that you can do it in an entertaining style of play.”
…Sampson is failing in all categories.
On last thing, is it possible for the Galaxy backline to be any more disorganized that it was on Saturday? One of the biggest complaints we would hear about the Sigi Schmid led team was how defensive they were. Well, they didn’t give up many goals and they certainly didn’t score 2 games in a span of 3 minutes.
At least Galaxy fans can console themselves with one fact…at least the Galaxy still aren’t as bad as Chivas. Does anyone know what was up with that exchange between Ryan Suarez and the Goats new coach?
Sorry, don’t remember watching anything else over the weekend.