In 2005 Los Angeles Galaxy were MLS Cup Champions, and US Open Cup Champions. Even so, the team had only managed to sneak into the playoffs and Steve Sampson knew it better than anybody else.
Heading into 2006 LA suffered one of the most painful losses in club history, the unfortunate passing of team President Doug Hamilton. Without Hamilton behind him, Steve Sampson was unable to make the necessary changes to stabilize the team and Sampson was soon without a job.
Lalas did not make many direct mistakes as the General Manager for LA Galaxy, however, he did make one crucial mistake, and he made it early on: Replacing Steve Sampson with Frank Yallop.
Yallop’s job was simple, tighten a nut here, screw a bolt there and get the team scoring. Galaxy’s biggest problems were in the attack. John Wolyniec, Thiago de Souza, and Cornell Glen were all ineffective answers to the team’s scoring problem.
So what was Yallop’s asnwer to get the team moving? Trading away the team’s cornerstone left-back and releasing holding midfielder Marcelo Saragosa.
The team’s defense went on to be one of the best in the league, allowing only 37 goals, but Yallop had yet to address the scoring situation, something which he was expected to address in the offseason leading up to 2007.
Yallop’s answer? To trade away fan favorites Kevin Hartman, Ugo Ihemelu and Herculez Gomez in different trades in order to make room for former San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
In the next couple of months Frank Yallop brought in Edson Buddle from Toronto FC in exchange for center back Tyrone Marshall.
A simple nut-tightening, bolt-screwing job turned into a complete dismantling of the core group from 2005. A year and a half later, only 3 players from the team’s championship run remained with the team.
Yallop soon found that rebuilding a team by subtracting 3 and adding 1 player at a time often fouls up team chemistry and leaves you with gaps in key spaces, and at the end of 2007 Yallop was the second manager in as many years to be released of coaching responsibilities in Los Angeles.
Frank Yallop took a simple rebuilding job which required upgrades at left midfield and at the forward position and left the team needing upgrades in every position. Galaxy did not just lose key players during the Frank Yallop era, the team also lost its identity, leaving Galaxy with 9 out of 11 starters that had been with the club less than a season when Yallop was finally sacked.
In 2009, Galaxy is still seeking to recover both a core competitive group and its identity. Alan Gordon and Landon Donovan, who were the new kids on the block in the team's 2005 title run are now the longest serving players with the club.
Galaxy’s core in winning the double in 2006:
Hartman, Albright, Marshall, Ihemelu, Dunivant, Nagamura, Saragosa, Ramirez, Jones, Gomez, Donovan
Galaxy’s core a year and a half later:
Cannon, Albright, Harden, Xavier, Jazic, Harmse, Martino, Jones, Donovan, Buddle, Jaqua
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