2006 Club by Club
The Los Angeles Galaxy finished the 2006 regular season as the fifth-place team in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference, ending the season with an 11-15-6 record and collecting 39 points. For the first time in club history, the Galaxy did not qualify for the MLS Playoffs, snapping the longest playoff streak in League history at ten seasons (1996- 2005).
The year began with tragedy with the passing of the club’s President and General Manager Doug Hamilton as he returned from Costa Rica after seeing the club play in the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup. Just how much he meant to the Galaxy organization might not be as easy to understand. Hamilton was the architect of the Galaxy's two MLS Cups. A perennial candidate for MLS' Executive of the Year -- and the person for whom the league award is now named -- Hamilton played an integral part in bringing veteran players like Tyrone Marshall, Chris Albright and Landon Donovan to the Southland. His impact on the team -- and the void he left -- was immeasurable at the start of the '06 campaign.
Knowing that no one person could fill Hamilton’s shoes, AEG’s first step was to announce Alexi Lalas as the President and General Manager of the club. Lalas, who played for the Galaxy from 2001-2003, returned to the club as their top executive to oversee all business and soccer operations. He had spent the last year as President and General Manager of the New York Red Bulls (formerly the MetroStars) after serving as General Manager of the San Jose Earthquakes from 2004-2005. In addition, AEG promoted Tom Payne to Assistant General Manager to help oversee the business operations for the team. On the field, Los Angeles opened the season looking to defend their 2005 MLS Cup championship, but a 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution foreshadowed the struggles to come as the club posted a 2-2-1 record over the first five games of the year. The season continued to slip away as the club went on a six-game losing streak, falling to last place in the conference with a 2-8-1 record.
On June 6, the Galaxy announced that head coach Steve Sampson had been relieved of his duties. A day later, the club introduced Canadian National Team and former San Jose Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop as the club’s new head coach, whose job would be to turn around the struggling side.
With Yallop at the helm, the Galaxy slowly began to respond going 0-2-2 in his first four games before stringing together the club’s first three-game winning streak of the season. The team gained momentum and fought to make the playoffs, but a home-and-away series with FC Dallas to end the season proved too much as the teams split the two games, knocking LA out of the playoffs for the first time ever.
At The Home Depot Center, Los Angeles finished with the eleventh-best home record in MLS at 6-6-4. On the road, the Galaxy recorded the third-best record in the league with a 5-9-2 mark. The Galaxy posted a 7-10-3 record against fellow Western Division foes and a 4-5-3 record against teams outside its division. Los Angeles led the league in attendance for the fourth consecutive time and seventh overall (1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006). The club welcomed 333,016 fans to the The Home Depot Center for an average of 20,814 per game, including three sellouts (4/1, 9/30 and 10/14). In addition, Los Angeles defeated the Houston Dynamo, 1-0, in front 70,550 at Reliant Stadium in a double header that also featured FC Barcelona (Spain) versus Club America (Mexico).