After a 1-0 home loss to the New York Red Bulls, it is time to press the L.A. Galaxy Panic Button. The last eight days were not good. Last Saturday the Galaxy managed a draw at home against FC Dallas with a stoppage time goal from Pat Noonan. Wednesday saw the Galaxy lose for the first time in Seattle 2-0 and get completely dominated in the process. Bruce Arena made the controversial decision to leave Beckham and Keane at home, bench Magee, Buddle, and Dunivant, and start reserves in order to rest the starters. Sounders television analyst and former US goalkeeper Kasey Keller called the move insulting, however the Sounders gladly accepted the gift wrapped three points which included the sparkling, 35 yard possible goal of the year from Freddy Montero. The loss in Seattle made winning against a depleted New York Red Bulls team essential. After all, the Red Bulls would be without Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez and the Galaxy would be fresh after taking Wednesday's game against the Sounders off. The only problem is that New York had other ideas, the Galaxy offense continued to struggle, and now the Galaxy find themselves with a mere 10 points and in 7th place in the West.
The Galaxy offense rarely looked cohesive today, with sloppy passes through the midfield and long balls over the top leading to turnover after turnover. The Galaxy had their moments early and especially late as a rocket from Juninho was turned away by Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara and several balls from Beckham found their way in front of goal, but no points were coming today. The Galaxy held the possession advantage 62.9% to 37.1%, but only looked dangerous in spurts. The first half was slow, even after Joel Lindpere put the Red Bulls on top with a goal in the 19th. Urgency was expected, but never came until it was too late.
The defense minus Omar Gonzalez was to blame earlier in this season, but I am not sure that can be the excuse at this point. Juninho has been absent in the midfield. The tandem of Edson Buddle and Robbie Keane is becoming painful to watch as the pair just doesn't seem compatible. It seems Keane is looking for runs from Buddle, and Buddle is looking to plant himself in front of the goal.
Where is the urgency? After winning MLS Cup with one of the best seasons in league history, this team from day one has looked as if it just expects to walk out on the field and the wins will take care of themselves. The L.A. Galaxy have lost at home to Toronto FC in the CONCACAF Champions League, Real Salt Lake, New England, and now New York. Again, Toronto hasn't won yet in league play, and New England is 1-5 on the road, and they both managed to beat the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.
PUSH THE PANIC BUTTON
This team has too much talent to be in this position. This team has the largest payroll in the league and is littered with stars. This team terrorized MLS one year ago, going undefeated at home in the process. Not enough has changed to put this team in the predicament it finds itself in. The Galaxy are too good to be sitting one point ahead of Chivas USA. It is time to make changes, changes to the roster, changes to the starting line up, and changes to the approach. The first step in righting the ship is admitting you have a problems. On Wednesday when the Galaxy sent reserves to play a mid week league game against the Sounders on the road, it was obvious that they felt comfortable where they were at. Hopefully the loss to New York will awake the giant.
1. Buddle and Keane up top isn't working. It is time to abandon the pair and move on. Pair Keane with anyone else. Keane was magical last season and has looked great at times this year, but when paired with Buddle it just doesn't work. Leave Buddle on the bench as a late sub or move him.Yes, I know that sounds drastic, but a trade wouldn't be a bad idea, especially for a center back.
2. Get Landon Donovan the ball and get it to him in a position to score. Move him up top with Keane. Donovan is one of the best players this country has ever seen and he needs the ball on his feet in front of the goal. Donovan and Keane can throw tasty passes back and forth to each other and they can convert Beckham's magic.
3. Show some urgency. The Galaxy are not in the position to rest mass amounts of starters like they did in Seattle. It is a long season, and this team still has the talent to win it all, but it is time to play like the season is on the line, every minute of every game.