TS Kamali


For the second straight year, a Home Depot Center General Manager was shown the door, despite being ahead in the standings over their derby rival, Chivas USA. People may criticize the job Lalas and Gullit did for the Galaxy, but you can’t argue with their success. My take on the situation follows:

"Both parties have agreed on mutually-agreeable terms to part company,” said Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO AEG, investor/operators of the Galaxy. “It is an amicable arrangement and we appreciate and respect the issues that Ruud has highlighted with the club and are very grateful for all the hard work he has contributed while with the organization. Hopefully, he has laid the foundations for future success for the Los Angeles Galaxy."

I’m translating this as "Ruud had an ironclad three-year contract, so we had to negotiate with him instead of just spitcanning him."

“With Rudd moving on, we believe that this is the right time to make more sweeping changes throughout the organization,” said Leiweke. “Our commitment continues to be focused on not only winning the MLS Cup this and every season but to build a club capable of competing at the international level. This decision is the right one for the organization, the right one for the players and the right one for our fans. We thank Alexi for the tremendous hard work and dedication he brought to his job each and every day.”

Paul Bravo, the Galaxy’s Director of Soccer, will continue in this role overseeing all issues related to the Galaxy’s roster including scouting and evaluating players, overseeing the club’s development system and other team administrative functions.

Assistant General Manager Tom Payne will continue to oversee the Galaxy front office, including corporate partnerships, ticket sales, marketing, programming, communications, operations and community development. Payne has been with the organization for six seasons.

Translation: "Alexi was a figurehead." I think this is the first time that both player and business duties were spelled out so clearly in a press release. I certainly don’t remember anything this clear.

I don’t anticipate much change, particularly in the business area. They even seem happy with Paul Bravo’s work, reiterating his jurisdiction. This tells me Bravo and Cobi Jones were the brains behind the very good superdraft the Galaxy had this year, and that forces beyond his control were behind things like Carlos Ruiz and Eduardo Dominguez. Bravo’s been on the job longer than Gullit, and was a prime target in the housecleaning this has become.

It could also mean that the next General Manager will want to pick his own Director of Soccer. The problem is why on earth would you replace or promote someone over Tom Payne, the one guy who has been exceeding expectations? Unless AEG really does think the Galaxy should be selling out every single game with Beckham.

As for Gullit leaving for personal reasons, it’s possible. I don’t want to say "he was fired or forced out", and read tomorrow that he has a terminal illness or something to that effect. But from the point of view of a legendary European, the Galaxy job was an effort to salvage a coaching reputation that now lies in ruins and or turmoil. Gullit will be hired to coach a club again, just that it might take a while. Alexi will run a club again, guaranteed.

Cobi Jones is the temporary coach. I feel he will lose the temporary moniker and become permanent in the position. There will be another round of negotiations with Jurgen Klinsmann, they will fall through. Cobi wants to be a head coach, and it’s to his credit that he didn’t just leverage his name into a head coaching gig without previous experience.

Cobi also has the fire that makes people want to win and be successful. Cobi can be charming when he wants to be, but anyone who’s looked into his eyes while competing won’t doubt his dedication and determination. At this moment people will question whether he has the tactical acumen at this point. I think the Galaxy’s management will give him chance to develop and prove whether he can coach a club or not.