An introduction, LD, and a recap

Dear Galaxy and MLS fans,

Welcome to my new column on lagalaxy.com. Throughout the year, I will write on all things related to the Galaxy, and soccer for that matter, and give insight and analysis on the premier club in MLS. It is my hope you enjoy the column. So, please don't hesitate to drop me a line as this column is for you, the fans.

New Home

Thanks to all of you who joined us for the first of 20 Galaxy games that will be broadcast this season on FSN West and FSN West 2. I can assure our loyal viewers the same level of professionalism (except Max Bretos), pride, and work ethic is still present. The FSN crew led by Micah King and Matt Lipp is one of the best in the league and it is why I believe the Galaxy broadcasts will continue to be the standard bearer for MLS. Stay tuned!

LD

In the Fall of 1999, a promising young broadcaster interviewed a promising young player who was fresh off leading the U-17 U.S. national team to 4th place at he U-17 World Cup in New Zealand. The broadcaster, yours truly, has gone on to bigger and better things and so has the player, Landon Donovan.

Ever since that day, listening to a kid mature beyond his years, I have gotten to know LD (as I call him) very well. We've done countless interviews since, each watching the other advance and develop a career along the way and the respect I have for him is tremendous. So when I heard Landon was coming back to MLS to play for the Galaxy I was thrilled not only for the team, and fans, but also for myself as I get to work alongside the best American player today, some jobs just get better and better. With the return of one of Redlands' finest, the Galaxy continue to show why they're the class of the league on and off the field and expect big things from Landon because he expects them from himself.

The New Golden Rule

Have you ever watched a sporting event and the home team's stadium is filled completely with the home team's colors and you thought to yourself what an amazing atmosphere? Well, there's a new golden rule for Galaxy fans and it's not from your mama, for every Galaxy home game from now to forever, "Wear Gold". We all know The Home Depot Center is the best stadium in MLS but now it needs to become the toughest place to play for the Galaxy to continue to be successful. So wear your "Gold" and show your support for the winningest franchise in MLS history.

Bright Spot in Cold Columbus

OK, so the Crew managed to get old man winter to hang around a little longer in Columbus for the L.A. boys on Saturday. If you have ever played in freezing, driving rain/snow and in 40-mile-per-hour wind, you know exactly how difficult the Galaxy's match was in Columbus. Although the team played in snow during their preseason trip to Spain, nothing can prepare a team for the adverse conditions.

There were, however, some bright spots for the Galaxy to warm their thoughts as they prepare for the home opener against Real Salt Late.

Tyrone Marshall picked up right where he left off and could very well have a Best XI type season "marshalling" the Galaxy defense. Guillermo "El Pando" Ramirez is the real deal and the combination of Donovan and Ramirez will be one of the best duos in MLS this season. Mamba Chisoni not only made his MLS debut starting the second half against Crew, but he sent a message to coach Steve Sampson that it will be hard to keep him out of the lineup. Mamba showed great speed, ability and desire down the left side in the second half and earned a couple of corner kicks along the way. Mamba will provide a real burst of energy on the left and at the huge field (80x120) at The Home Depot Center, watch out wide midfielders in the league.

"Let's get ready to Rumble"

During the course of my travels during the MLS season, I endure nightmarish moments most suitable for a remake of the movie "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles". But then, there are also moments like last week where you sit back and laugh.

Joining us on the flight from Phoenix to Burbank, Calif., (Columbus is no easy place to get to) was the man who may have the best job on earth, Michael Buffer. Yes, the man with the golden pipes, and the man behind one of the greatest intros ever, "Let's get ready to rumble!" We tried to get him to break us off a little sample but nothing doing, not enough per diem. I thought seeing him was fitting, seeing how the Galaxy are hungry and ready for a rumble at The Home Depot Center against MLS newcomers Real Salt Lake.

Until next time, see you from the top.

Allen Hopkins is the L.A. Galaxy's color commentator on FSN West and FSN West2, in addition to his commentator duties on Fox Soccer Channel. He can be reach via e-mail at ahopkins@foxsportsintl.com. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of the Los Angeles Galaxy or Major League Soccer.


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