Top 5, 07.11: Lalas Responds*; Great v. Good; Johnson Flying Away?

* To be clear, LA Galaxy GM did not, in any way, respond directly to anything written in this space...I think he only goes after the Brits...

- May as well lead with Alexi: Mark Ziegler spent some time with both Lalas and LA head coach, Frank Yallop - though probably not in the same room. Ziegler got some quotes that might explain the apparent spazzing in LA to the outside world:

“'There is the conventional wisdom that you ride the storm out and let things settle, and certainly there's a time and place for that,' Lalas says. 'But we didn't think this was the time or place for that.'"

“'We wanted to identify players who we felt would enjoy and be able to perform in a high pressure situation,' Lalas says. 'It doesn't necessarily mean it's the best player. It's a very specific type of player we need. We need players who are strong mentally, who can withstand the pressure of playing with eyes of the world on them.'”

Thanks, Alexi. We'll take that under advisement out here....still looks like spazzing....

- Speaking of LA, Jay Hutcherson of had a thing or two to say about how he views LA thus far (can't link to anything but the general address for Hutcherson's blog...still waiting on permalinks for the site's blogs):

"It's odd watching a team in obvious transition. The Galaxy don't play as a unit. Half the team operates as if they have no clue what to expect, and this didn't suddenly happen - the result of too many trades and an off night in Virginia."

"Maybe this is the step too far, or at least too soon, turning the Galaxy into the touring version of the Cosmos revisited minus the depth. How does this team plus added superstar concentrate on league and exhibition schedules when they can't keep it together for 90 minutes?"

This is what the Alexi-era has wrought. A good thing?

- OK, one more LA thing, then I'll leave it alone. Someone, anyone, please for the love of a god who supports things good and decent and doesn't take live puppies for sacrifice, please tell me that the logo that Mike H posted on My Soccer Blog is not the Galaxy's new, official logo. That is more than "a little Star Trek-inspired." That is a sign they'll be sporting 90s-themed body suits by 2010.

- A line written by Ken Pendleton in his celebration of Adu hits on something massive:

"Moments of inspiration are often what separates the winners from the losers at the highest level. Good tactics and hard work are not always enough. You have to have players who can do something unorthodox or unexpected, like Adu did to set up the winning goal against Brazil. He received the ball from a throw-in with his back to the goal and two defenders closing in. Most coaches would have instructed their players to make the simple pass back to the person who made the throw-in (Zizzo), or to try to win a corner by knocking the ball off one of the markers, but Adu opened up the Brazilian defense because he had the audacity to try to beat both markers by playing keepie-uppie."

This same notion has been rattling around my head for a while now and I'd take it one step farther: the simple pass is always there, or nearly always at least, plain as day to everyone in the stands; but, as much as it means to winning, the aesthetic side matters too. I mean, we watch the game to see players do these things; they're paid to play because they can do those things and that's why we pay to watch professional athletes. This stuff is huge.

On a related point, I move that we start referring to Adu simply as "Adu." I don't care whether you think he deserves it or not; we're free to crown our icons on our own terms. Who's with me! Huzzah!!

- Crap...rambling...sorry. This last one's quick: MLS Underground reported a rumor that England's Derby County (that's the right name, isn't it?) wants to sign Kansas City's Eddie Johnson. They can have him. Maybe it'll help...but I'd recommend strongly against holding your breath.


Matth: said...

You should be named the official nicknamer of the US soccer establishment. It certainly is time to crown Freddy as simply Adu. I don't know if it was original with you or not, but your usage of Yanquis is pure brilliance as well.

I'm glad I don't support the Galaxy.

Then again, I do support the Fire.

Braden said...

I think I've figured out what happened to Lalas over the past few months. He lost faith in American soccer.

Yeah, he defended us on the BBC and made a passable impression of a US soccer fanatic, but a recent article in the San Diego Tribune suggests that Lalas and the MLS have been fudging the salary cap so that LA can bring in Pavon and Xavier, while getting rid of quality young American talent like Sturgis and Findlay.

The Brits got to Lalas and made him think he needed to pull a radical makeover of a fairly decent MLS side before Beckham's arrival. I'm really starting to get into this whole hating Lalas thing!

pate said...

And the best part of just calling him 'Adu' is that the MLS will have to let him wear it on his jersey (for however long he ends up staying in the league).