Back in August of 2004, a glance at the MLS standings would show the L.A. Galaxy sitting atop the Western Division with the league’s best record. And then, some genius decided Sigi Schmid wasn’t The Man for the job anymore, and fired Schmid as the Galaxy’s head coach.
Today, Sigi Schmid is sitting atop the Eastern Division, his Columbus Crew owners of the league’s most points (and the Crew’s only getting stronger — welcome back to MLS, Pat Noonan) while the L.A. Galaxy is announcing their fourth head coach since that fateful day four years ago.
New coach and GM Bruce Arena might be an upgrade in both those roles for the Galaxy, but the transfer window has closed, so it remains to be seen just how much he can do this year.
Perhaps, a lesson has been learned down south: let the soccer people handle the soccer. Meanwhile, Quakes fans have almost redefined the term schadenfreude watching the league’s glamour team stumble along.
Speaking of “stumble along” — I tried to watch the U.S. Open Cup semi-finals on TV, and I couldn’t find either game. I must’ve had the wrong night. MLS has four TV contracts. The USL has one TV contract. I get over 100 channels via cable TV. Still, no semi-final U.S. Open Cup action to be found. What’s wrong with this picture?
(Insert diatribe about U.S. Soccer’s surprising inability to make this tournament an Event here.)
FYI, the U.S. Open Cup Final will be played Wednesday, September 3, at RFK Stadium. 7:30 (eastern) kickoff. D.C. United vs USL1’s Charleston Battery. From what I hear, it should be a good game.
One more Columbus bit — anyone else out there voting for Guillermo Barros Schelotto for (so far) MLS MVP? Schmid’s put together a good squad in Ohio, and GBS is in the middle of it all, making everyone around him better. The Crew is the only team who’ve made the Quakes defense look bad at Buck Shaw this year.
In other news: Maurice Edu is worth about $5 million to Rangers. That’s a nice payday for the 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year, and MLS. Good news all around. Another California kid makes good. And for those of you thinking a player has to have “made it” by age 20 if he’s ever going to go anywhere, Edu is a (3-year) product of NCAA soccer.
And finally: the new signings in San Jose have shown (once again) that, given a little time and money, Frank Yallop knows how to put a team together — and not a moment too soon. One downside of getting (and using) a press pass is having to sit through four 0-0 ties in 14 matches.
Not too many MLS teams can stretch a defense on both wings like the Quakes do with Huckerby and O’Brien, even if it’s been against L.A. and a Revolution side without Shalrie Joseph and Michael Parkhurst. After scoring six goals in their previous 10 matches, the Quakes have struck for seven in their last two. And now, we watch the Quakes go off to play Chivas USA, looking for revenge for that July 5th 1-0 loss (complete with utter disregard for sportsmanship and fair play) at HDC.
Hmmm… I wonder if Frank Yallop misses L.A.?