Thursday: Los Angeles Galaxicos, Buddle, Davies, More…


• Los Angeles Galaxicos?

Sweet Bayer Leverkusen.....I'm coming home!

But can they get there?

The MLS Re-Entry Draft, Phase II, went down Wednesday and the Los Angeles Galaxy came away with Juan Pablo Angel and Luke Sassano who they then parlayed into the Iron Lion, Frankie “The Haircut” Hedjuk.

After bumper-carring through 2010 with former greybeard USMNTers Gregg Berhalter, Jovan Kirovski and Chris Klein in varying roles, Bruce Arena and his national team friends are back to try it again with Hedjuk and Juan Pablo Angel, both of whom crested the peak of their careers years ago and are choo-chooing down the other side. Bad moves.

There is no more clearer statement made yesterday by the Galaxy than “Win now!” and there is no coach that will be under the tractor beam of the microscope than Bruce Arena.

In fact, you could argue that now that Arena has assembled a team–Arena convinced Juan Pablo Angel to come to New York in 2007 and Frankie Hedjuk was key cog in Arena’s 2006 World Cup (disaster)–that only he would. Arena won’t have to get buy-in for “his way” and there shouldn’t be any chemistry issues, but a look back at 2009 shows three hot button issues that Arena will have to confront….and that he failed to in 2009.

First, depth.

The Galaxy came out smoking to start the 2010 campaign. They were a pleasure to watch, but then Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle were called to World Cup duty and a chain reaction of events exposed the fraility behind LA’s best 11. With Donovan and Buddle gone, young UCLA stalwart Michael Stephens was keyed on by opponents and slammed–hard–into the rookie wall. To his interior, Juninho with Stephens faltering and Donovan absent had little room to work his linking magic and that only contributed to his inconsistency–inconsistency not to be unexpected from a 21-year-old player.

On the backline, the chain reaction continued as Gregg Berhalter went down and Omar Gonzalez had communication issues with Bruce Arena’s first choice replacement Leonardo. With more pressure on keeper Donovan Ricketts both through the backline and now with an offense unable to possess the ball as much, the elder keeper was exposed for being more ho-hum than awe inspiring, displaying a shocking lack of organization and clear slowing of his reaction time.

Result: A midseason swooning and inability to regain peak form.

Hand in hand with the first point, goes lack of adaptability and development. Let’s start with the latter.

In the beginning of the year last year, when the Galaxy were torpedoing opponents I mentioned that Arena had the luxury at that point of bringing along players like Cazumba, Tristan Bowen and Juninho. Arena, whether through lack of accompanying veteran guidance or one-game-at-a-time focus, did nothing of the sort.

As the the season wore on, Arena–in an eerie similarity to yesterday’s moves–went back to his tested veterans as the exclusive adjustment to right a mediocre vessel. Gone was Tristan Bowen–though admitedly injured frequently–from playing time. Cazumba? A late game defense replacment often at best.

Kirovski couldn't turn back the clock in 2010...

In game–are you ready for this–Jovan Kirovski to play both midfield and forward. (Perhaps nowhere more than forward last year the Galaxy lacked depth–actually…certainly.)

In came Eddie Lewis to “fly” down the left flank.

Seattle series nonwithstanding Arena’s “veteran” moves often imploded on him rather than resulting in inspired play.

The Galaxy flailed. For a game that TSG was at in San Jose in August, a visibily and audibly frustrated side hollered at one another as passes led to turnovers….as offensive space for the Galaxy disintegrated…as teams recognized they could could outrace and-or outmuscle the Galaxy and that Arena would not make sufficient adjustments.

Which leads us to point three. Steel.

A late game loss at home to the Red Bulls saw a an overmatched Dema Kovalenko (clearly showing the season’s wear-and-tear) and Juninho can dominated by an average-at-best Rafael Marquez and youngster Tony Tchani.

The Galaxy severely lack steel in the midfield. A Jeff Larentowitz-type would be godsend, even a Dax McCarty a bonus. Though players of that ilk are likely unattainable now.

In 2011 when a team is owning the midfield, who will the Galaxy turn to as their defensive stopper? And further who can they get now with their current gaggle of players’ compensation is already abutting the salary the cap?

Perhaps Leonardo will get another run out with Omar Gonzalez and we’ll see AJ De La Garza as a central midfield defender (that’s probably Arena’s best current roster option). Will Frankie Hedjuk play an extremely deep lying midfielder-defender like were seeing Johnny Heiteinga play to such success with Everton in the EPL these days?

But these are Arena’s issues to confront in 2011 where–and we haven’t even talked about the potential of a Ronaldhino, the lack of a speed player up top, a potential Buddle move, or a potential Landon Donovan loan (Arena’s comments to the contrary yesterday nonwithstanding)–he’ll have a lot more to accomplish than he even did yesterday.

Here’s your early checklist for a 2011 MLS Cup raising experience Big Bruce and Los Angeles: (1) Develop depth or find it cheaply somewhere, (2) Get some steel in the midfield (3) be more experimental in the beginning of the season so you can adapt later on.

• Buddle

Update 12/16 12PM PST: Galaxy spokesperson says Bruce Arena expects to sign Edson Buddle to a new contract to be with team in 2011. (Not a complete denial of anything).


As we actually reported yesterday, the Los Angeles Galaxy confirmed that Edson Buddle was “in Birmingham” until “around the 22nd or so” of December.

When prompted by the question of whether it was training or a trial, TSG got a “no confirmation on whether it’s just training or a trial.” In media speak, that’s a non-denial of a trial in our mind. Why? Because if it was a training the team would look to make that public to ease fan issues (for peace of mind, perhaps season tickets). (In stark contrast, SportingKC laughed at the “mountain of the molehill” that was create with the Teal Bunbury-Stoke news and told us outright that Bunbury was “training” with Stoke City.)

So in our mind, Buddle’s on trial and the work permit thing will be figured out.

Cameron Jerome...making Edson Buddle to Birmingham more of a possibility with each miss....

Perhaps that “trial” factored into the Juan Pablo Angel move yesterday. Either way, it would appear that the New Rochelle native is one player that the Galaxy can ill-afford to lose unless they have a Plan B already set in motion. As we mentioned during the Galaxy’s final game against the Union last year, Arena overused Buddle that game and down the stretch often sending him to battle two and even three players on the opponent’s defense for over the top ball.

You’re not going to find an easy replacement for the ability to combine that “targetness” with Buddle’s scoring prowess.

On Birmingham’s side of the ball, a Buddle move makes a ton of sense in our mind. Big man Cameron Jerome has disappointed this year, with only three goals on multiple chances (we’ve witnessed) and Serb Nikola Zigic is rumored to the apple of many a big club’s eye in the January window.

Edson Buddle price-tag in our mind? Somewhere between $2-4M.

Another addendum here to silly season…for now.

Update: A 2nd-hand BBC Report makes a trial seem to be the correct label as well.

• CD90%

Charlie Davies out today pleading for a chance to get on the pitch against Bordeaux this weekend.

I like that striker’s squawk. I really do. I like the bravado. I like the sense that they are the most important person on the pitch and they gain attention because it just heaps the pressure on them even more and the good ones like that even more.

But at this point our good friend Charlie, you’ve got to let your actions speak louder than words. Everyone’s still behind you–boneheaded speeding ticket move and all–we’re looking for an “I told you motherf*ckers” not a “Watch what I’m about to….”

Keep pushing though.

• And Now For Gooch?

TSG mancrushed Pastore re-ups–big time with Palermo through 2015 with a major $60M buyout escalation clause. Who’s the bidder? Barca? Real Madrid? in about a year?

Sadly enough, I’d love to see him and–gulp–Chelsea is he’s allowed the lattitude to control the flow of play. Can’t see that happening at Barca (Messi) or Real Madrid (Ronaldo)

Can miss a chance to showcase Pastore. Thanks to Eric Giardini on Twitter for the info.

And thank you VidRiver on YouTube…the Gonzalo Higuain Euro Music Train just dropped us off in Javier Pastore Hair Band Land! (Is that a Cat Stevens riff in the background…wow this video is just TOO AWESOME!)

Wait…wait…did someone just say….


27 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jorge on 2010/12/16 at 11:33 AM

    I LOVE THIS WEBSITE! Keep up the good work you guys.


  2. Posted by Mferrante on 2010/12/16 at 12:39 PM

    Good stuff… This could be a huge deal for the USMNT if Buddle impresses overseas


  3. Posted by Andy on 2010/12/16 at 12:40 PM

    I would really enjoy seeing Davies get some playing time this weekend. Coming off of his goal last weekend, this is a genuine possibility.

    I’d also like to see him get a camp cupcake invitation. I don’t see how it would adversely affect any of the parties involved. A similar arrangement has been made with Onyewu in previous matches.


  4. Posted by Johninho on 2010/12/16 at 1:03 PM

    That first one’s not Cat Stevens – it’s Pet Shop Boys, a 300-year-old English new wave band. The song? “It’s a Sin,” badly covered. Which seems to suggest either that having Javier Pastore on your team is a sin, or that he makes John Terry look like a monk.

    I DO hope Edson catches on at Barmy. And Yes to CD9 at Camp Cupcake.


    • Posted by EFG on 2010/12/16 at 4:23 PM

      Why would Buddle want to go to a club that cancels Christmas? Just doesn’t seem right.


  5. Once again, absolutely NO WAY Buddle can get a work permit. When Clint Dempsey Transferred to Fulham even he couldn’t get one outright. He had to appeal because he had only played in something like 71% of USA’s recent “A” Internationals because 75% was required. Buddle has only played in 2 competitive internationals ever, making his case for a permit unlikely.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/12/16 at 2:45 PM

      Yes, but then how did DeMerit end up in Europe? Either way I don’t think he’ll make it in Europe.

      I read the part about Buddle possibly being on trial and I said… “Buddle on trial in Europe? You’re funny…” I honestly can’t describe how he manages to score goals. He looks so lost and clueless all the time. If he goes to Europe, he’ll end up like Eddie Johnson.


    • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/12/16 at 2:46 PM

      evan, the thing you dont know is that david becham has some sway with the work permit people and he will put in a good word for kibble and bits. dont forget about sacha either. he is starting for anderlecht in the europa league and they are about to advnce from the group stages. kljestan with a nice assist today and some decent defense.


      • Jay DeMerit made it in Europe because he qualified for a work permit based on the fact that he has a Danish grandfather. I don’t believe one bit that David Beckham can actually influence the work permit people, that just wouldn’t make any sense. As far as Kljestan goes, not only does he have parents from Serbia, but he also plays in Belgium where the work permit situation isn’t anywhere near the same as it is in the UK, where it is very strict.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/16 at 3:20 PM

          I had to look at the calendar to make sure it wasn’t 1st April – David Beckham absolutely has no influence with the United Kingdom Home Office. It is ridiculous to even think that. Evan is 100% correct about the UK being stricter than the Continent regarding work permits.


        • Posted by Russell on 2010/12/16 at 6:49 PM

          What about Buddle’s lineage? Father is from Jamaica right? What about his grandparents?

          I agree that I would be surprised (if he somehow got there) that he gets more than Eddie Johnson type minutes.


  6. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/12/16 at 3:49 PM

    its interesting that it is the united kingdom home office, i mean does this office have say over how many games need to be played for the national team to make it with a team of glasgow rangers stature. did edu have the requisite numbers when he signed with them?

    im sorry fellas, but to think that beckham does not have the ability to put in a good word for someone is just ludicris. i mean, come on, he only has spent the better part of the last year trying to help england win the bid and he is pretty much a national hero in england. does that mean his word could sway the strict guidlines set by the “home office”? maybe we will find out over the next couple of weeks.


    • Yes I believe he CAN put in a good word, but that doesn’t really mean and/or do anything.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/16 at 5:46 PM

      Last time I checked, Glasgow was in Scotland, and Scotland are part of the United Kingdom, so yes, they are still bound by the Home Office.

      Like Kevin says, he can have a word, but whether that would influence the decision is another thing. Do you think Tom Brady or Kobe Bryant or Derek Jeter can influence the USCIS?

      One thing Evan didn’t touch upon is the special dispensation given to young players, whom it would be unreasonable for them to have played 75% of A Internationals over the prior 2 seasons.

      But I am sure if somebody really wants XYZ, their legal team will find a way to argue their case for a work permit…


      • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/12/16 at 6:47 PM

        actually, there are two criteria which the home office look at. the first is the 75% number. that is a player must have played in 75% of the matches over a two year period. the stipulation here, is that it is 75% of matches the player was available for selection for. if a player is injured, then this is taken into consideration. as may be the case if a player has club commitments and is not available for selection.

        the second thing the home office looks at is the fifa ranking of the players home country. countries have to be in the top 70 to qualify, so buddle is golden on that front. buddle is 29, the coach at birmingham said he has done OK so far. to me, that means he is in the running for a spot. usa sure does have a lot of talented forwards. buddle would be sort of like a cross between elmander and kevin davies in the epl


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/16 at 7:13 PM

          We will see in January if they make a move for him, right?


        • I pray for Buddle’s, Birmingham’s, and MLS’s sake that this deal doesn’t happen. Buddle IMO will just end up like Eddie Johnson, but with less time avaiable to earn playing time.

          If this happens and Buddle fails it…
          1. Looks bad on MLS and US Soccer
          2. Wastes Buddle’s time and eventually ends up washed up
          3. Wastes Birminghams’s money.


  7. Posted by dth on 2010/12/16 at 3:58 PM

    In the LULZ department–Galaxy re-sign Jovan Kirovski:

    Definitely believe now the Bowen-to-ChivasUSA deal tells us more about Arena than Bowen.


    • Posted by Mike Mc on 2010/12/17 at 12:00 AM

      Really? Bruce had to practically go to him crawling on his knees begging him to come to the Galaxy and play just one more season instead of retiring. Getting rid of Bowen has a high probability of looking really stupid by about midway through the season.

      The only thing that is stopping me from going completely bananas over LA’s now even OLDER roster is the fact that Arena has done excellent at bringing in quality young players via the Superdraft. Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLagarza, and Stephens over the past three years. Of course the draft is a very poor way to try and fill any immediate needs a team has. And it certainly looks like we need a CM that can help us keep possession and help out the back line, which i don’t think Bruce is going to find in this draft.


  8. Yes, I didn’t mention the young player stipulation as it is irrelevant to this case as Buddle is 29.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/17 at 7:34 AM

      Yes I know Evan. I mentioned it for completeness and for the lad at Rangers…


  9. Posted by bottlcaps on 2010/12/17 at 2:47 PM

    Buddle is eligible for a Jamaican passport through his father who was born in Jamaica. Having a Jamaican passport means he would then have a Commonwealth passport. This does not “automatically” give him a work permit for the UK, but it the bar to gain a permit would be far lower than if he was just a US Footballer. I suspect that coupled with a WC spot would be enough for him to get a WP.


  10. Posted by dth on 2010/12/20 at 7:40 PM

    A late addition: with the news that Becks is seeking a loan, their moves look even worse–you know that’ll wear him down towards the end of the season, and who’s your backup at that position? Pushing Sean Franklin up is, IMHO, very much a stopgap solution; who else? Tristan Bowen would’ve been great to keep around.

    Again, I suspect a surprisingly tepid Galaxy season in 2011.


  11. […] Tristan Bowen was shipped down the hallway. That’s probably the reason Bruce Arena has been so adamant that Buddle isn’t going anywhere; the Galaxy don’t have a good option to replace him. […]


  12. […] Tristan Bowen was shipped down the hallway. That’s probably the reason Bruce Arena has been so adamant that Buddle isn’t going anywhere; the Galaxy don’t have a good option to replace him. […]


  13. […] Your Los Angeles Galaxicos — Our column from December 2010 citing the JPA signing as a poor one. […]


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