April 20, 2006
Well, the rumored move from New York to LA for Alexi Lalas finally happened this week when he resigned as the President and General Manager of Red Bull New York and accepted the President and General Manager position with the LA Galaxy on Monday.
While this move was hardly unexpected with Doug Hamilton being promoted by AEG and then passing away earlier this year and Red Bull buying the MetroStars from AEG, it is very interesting on many fronts. The rumor mills in NY and LA will be going into overdrive as people in NY are wondering about what's next for Red Bull NY and people in LA will be watching the relationship between Lalas and Galaxy head coach Steve Sampson. For those that don't remember how the Steve Sampson led US World Cup team imploded in France eight years ago, you only need to read a few stories coming out of LA to see how the player-coach relationship between Lalas and Sampson ended to understand why everyone will be watching and waiting to see if, or more likely when, their current working relationship will come to an end.
Add in that the way Lalas has built his teams in San Jose and NY versus how Sampson has molded the Galaxy since taking over for Sigi Schmid, and you can see that there could be issues between the two regardless of their past history.
Back in NY, the media are now speculating big time about what Red Bull will do next. Michael Lewis at http://www.bigapplesoccer.com/ is all over the rumors of head coach Mo Johnston being let go as early as tomorrow to the talk of the team's front offices being taken over by three former New York Cosmos in Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, and Shep Messing. If the expected Cosmo-fication of the Red Bulls does take place, it will be yet another bold move by Red Bull since they bought the club such a short time ago.
The best idea I've seen is from NY Times writer Jack Bell who suggested that if Red Bull were willing to wait until after the World Cup, that perhaps they could go after US Men's National Team manager Bruce Arena to replace Mo Johnston. As a DC United fan, it would pain me to see Bruce Arena prowling the sidelines in New York. However, he would be the best person an MLS could possibly hire. Especially given that they are talking about bringing in a lot of people who don't have any experience running an MLS club. Granted, Shep Messing knows about the league through his long tenure as the MetroStars and now Red Bulls color analyst on MSG. But, he still doesn't have any experience actually running a team.
Here are some other thoughts on MLS' Week 3:
- It became official today, Chelsea is coming to play the MLS All-Stars at Chicago's new Bridgeview Stadium on August 5th. Although, when Chelsea destroys the MLS All-Stars, it will give more fodder to those that like to trash MLS.
- I don't know how to view the LA Galaxy's late comeback versus Chivas USA. Was this Landon Donovan and Cornell Glen stepping up and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat or Chivas USA getting too full of themselves and just failing to kill the last 10 minutes of the match? Either way, you have got to go to MLSnet.com and watch the highlights of Glen's two late goals. Donovan's run and pass to set up the stoppage time game winner was spectacular.
- Ante Razov looks motivated right now. He's always been skilled, but the question has always been about his effort. Well, it looks like Bob Bradley has Razov going like he did in their heyday together in Chicago. Even though they are 1-2-0 and their one win was versus Real Salt Lake, I think that brighter days are ahead for the Goats. Especially if they can get John O'Brien on the field for more than 10 minutes a game.
- If Mo Johnston does get the boot in NY, will he be the first head coach to get fired despite never losing a game? He probably wouldn't be the first coach to have never won a game, though.
- I don't know what was the worst thing that I saw when I turned on MSG after the Houston-DC United match on Saturday night. Was it the quality of the picture, the hideous football markings on the field, or just the Real Salt Lake team? Real Salt Lake would do well to shake things up ala Chivas USA or NY with the way things are going a year plus into their tenure in MLS.
- It only took until Week 3 for MLS to get a sub-10,000 attendance game. And this past week they had two matches that didn't crack the 9000 figure with Kansas City hosting New England in front of 8436 and Colorado and Dallas playing in front of 8160 in the Mile High City. The good attendance notes were that they had over 20,000 on hand for the Crew's home opening in Columbus and they had 27,000 fans at the Home Depot Center to watch the Super Clasico match up between the Galaxy and Chivas USA.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.