The case for firing Lalas and Yallop

You never want to call for people to be fired. But the LA Galaxy are just a horrible team and someone needs to be held accountable.

The bulk of the blame rests squarely on Lalas’s shoulders, as he has proven to be a horrible GM. What’s clear is that he panicked after the Galaxy’s slow start and made some rash deals that have left the Galaxy worse off. There are a number of problems with the moves that Lalas made.

First, the complete reshuffling of the Galaxy team before Beckham’s arrival threw them into complete chaos on the field. The Galaxy looked like a team in preseason mode in the middle of the season.

Second, the search for quick fixes meant the Galaxy brought in older more expensive players, while trading away some young talent. You look at the nucleus of the squad for next year, Beckham 33 years old, Klein 31, Pavon 33, Xavier 34.

Third, and most importantly, the deals haven’t improved the team.

Trading pacy forward Robert Findley and young but skilled defender Nathan Sturgis to Real Salt Lake for aging 31 year old Chris Klein, whose main attribute is his ability to cross the ball from the right wing – an attribute that with Beckham you have in spades – has been a disaster. With Beckham you need offensive weapons, not another guy who can cross the bar. You also need a solid backline and losing Sturgis certainly made it worse.

Lets look at some of the other deals:

Trade: Veteran Defender Tyron Marshall for unproven Forward Edson Buddle
Trade: 6-3 target striker Nate Jaqua for defensive-midfielder Kelly Gray
Sign: Carlos Pavon, a 33 year old, 5-6 Honduran striker.
Sign: Portuguese defender Abel Xavier

The only clearly positive acquisition here is the signing of Xavier. Pavon and Buddle have looked ineffective. Kelly Gray adds little to nothing, while Jaqua may not have set Houston ablaze, but he is a much more promising player than Gray.

All this adds up to a team that is just plain bad. Lalas clearly has to go. But you could make the argument that Yallop is a good coach that was put in horrible situation. Maybe. But he is still a part of that horrible situation. And this team needs a fresh start in the offseason.

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2 defensive midfielders is a losing proposition

One of the most frustrating aspects of many of the U.S. team performances is the lack of quality distribution from the central midfield. A large part of the problem is the two d-mid formation that Bradley seems so found of.

The pairing of Pablo and Bradley in the center of the field really creates little going forward and against Sweden Bradley’s give away’s created opportunities for Sweden to break, therefore undermining the whole purpose of having a more “defensive” formation.

To me the answer is Feilhaber. He has to be slightly farther forward in the center of the field as a true center-mid. As for a midfield partner, I think Pablo’s time may have passed, but I am not sure the answer is Bradley yet – may be in a few years. I think Ricardo Clark has the most upside. His size and pace make him a defensive monster and has touch and distribution have improved. I thought that the Feilhaber – Clark pairing in Copa America was one of the few bright spots to come out of that tournament.

Play Boca at Leftback

Bornstein doesn’t cut it at leftback for the USMNT yet.

He gets caught out of position way way to much and provides very little defensively, and frankly doesn’t do all that much getting forward. Has he ever put a cross into the box? Just contrast Bornstein with Cherundulo. Cherundulo was involved in almost every Swedish attack and was able to get involved in the attack to some degree.

But there is a larger issue here. Do we really need to play with wingbacks – ie a LB and RB who constantly push forward. Yes you want to involve more players in the attack, but the frequency with which we give away the ball in the middle of the field frequently leaves us exposed in the back, as our wide players our stuck up field. And lets face it our center backs aren’t the best in the world and are prone to mistakes or being beaten.

Also, with Beasley on the left, his pace makes him able to get box to box effectively. Bornstein seems to get in his way by attracting additional defenders. I say leave Beasley isolated on the left and play Bocanegra is more of a flat LB that can cheat going forward, but whose primary task is defend.