Tutino's take: No excuses
OK, so the worst isn't over just yet. Saturday's loss at the MetroStars was what, unfortunately, all of us seem to have in the back of our minds, an ugly game with the wrong result if you are a fan of the Los Angeles Galaxy. I know, it's gut-wrenching, it's disappointing, you want to kick the dog (don't really kick the dog or anything else for that matter). I think it's time for everyone to take a breath and realize where we are. Championships are won in September and October.
I'm not here to make excuses for the Galaxy. I'm not going to tell you they were missing Landon Donovan, Tyrone Marshall, Chris Albright, Michael Umaña, Pando Ramirez, and Pete Vagenas. I'm not going to tell you Jovan Kirovski didn't start and Cobi Jones came on late. I'm not going to use those excuses to explain a grand total of two points in their last six games, but I could and any coach in this or any league would use them. Fans, it is what it is. The kids are playing and the Galaxy is taking their lumps. I can also tell you the veterans that are out there are also struggling or not playing up to par. There isn't one part of the pitch right now that is playing fluidly and comfortably out there and this is why I say it's time for all of us - fans, broadcasters, players, coaches - to take a breath and chill a bit. Get that finger off the panic button. Yes, I'm talking to you.
This team will look a lot like the team that rolled through the first month of the season when they do get all those players back. I am going to tell you the kids are getting valuable experience. Experience and wins are better, but.... I am going to tell you I like what I see from Ned Grabavoy even though he had a tough night at the MetroStars. I am going to tell you mighty mite Michael Enfield plays like he's 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. Keep it up kid. I am going to tell you Herculez Gomez looks more and more comfortable when he hits the pitch. Was that really a shot Saturday night? Well, a good friend of mine says "the scoreboard doesn't lie," and in this case his shot found the net. Congrats on your first and hopefully many more. I'm also going to tell you I'd like to see more ball-handling skills from Alan Gordon. I don't think he has the speed to outrun MLS defenders, so keep the ball on your foot and use that wide body to keep defenders off you. It would be unfair for me to critique just the kids. It would also be unfair for me to pile on, but I'm starting to wonder about Naldo. Fourteen goals in the Swiss First Division. One goal in MLS. American defenders are a little more physical, eh? My point is when the guys in the previous paragraph are not around, the guys in this paragraph have to produce. No production equals no points equals third place. And yes, Galaxy fans, I, like you, need to take a breath and chill a bit. All together now, inhale. Exhale. That's better.
I HAVE A SMALL GRIPE ... I'm not going to argue the Eddie Gaven goal because as I said earlier "the scoreboard doesn't lie," but please, MLS assistant referees, be in the right position to make the call. From high atop Giants Stadium that play was offside. Sergio Galvan Rey was in an offside position and in the play itself. The near assistant trailed the play. You can't make the call that way and he didn't. A little birdie told me the league admitted to the blown call - that and the penalty. Yes, that was a clean play as well. Oh well.
GOLD CUP ... It's nice to see team USA rolling through group play. It's also nice to see Landon Donovan has regained his previous form. Donovan picked up another goal in the 2-0 USA win over Canada. It's something Galaxy fans can look forward to when he returns. Personally I'd rather have those goals in the Galaxy's column. I'm sure the New England Revolution feel the same about their national teamers. By the way, outside of potential warm-ups for qualifying, what good is the CONCACAF Gold Cup? I think American soccer has surpassed the days when you need each and every national team starter to play in this event. To me it's an opportunity to look at the younger players coming along and those looking for one last shot at the World Cup roster. It's also a time to use those players who are not in league play, not the ones trying to build the sport in this country. Just a thought.
THE GOATS ARE COMING ... Saturday night the Galaxy returns to The Home Depot Center to take on the cure for the common losing streak, Chivas USA, but like cockroaches, the young franchise is becoming immune to better play from opponents. Now is not the time to take this group lightly. 5-1 winners vs Real Salt Lake. What is that? Maybe they aren't the slump busters of the past. I can see these guys feeling the Galaxy are ripe for the upset. It's too easy to look past this bunch and look ahead to Becks, Zizu, Ronaldo and Real Madrid. That of course is a huge, huge match. Did I mention huge? But how many points do you get by beating Real Madrid? Exactly.
Joe Tutino is in his seventh season as the English radio voice of the Los Angeles Galaxy. 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.