Wednesday, April 8, 2009

No Open Cup, Heads Remain Low

In the end, I guess when Bruce Arena and Gary Smith sent out their reserves to the field for an Open Cup Play-In Match the odds were married to a coin toss.

Whenever a manager sends in reserves to a match, it's obviously a match that he considers expendable. The US Open Cup, to soccer nerds like myself, is a fun little tournament because of history, the "intimate" feel that those games provide, and ultimately the opportunity to play a final at home.

However, for practical intents, there's little to be won from the Open Cup. At best, it provides one ticket to the CONCACAF Champions League; at worst, unnecessary stretching of the now extraordinarily thin rosters, and added travel and fatigue, often during the worst part of the season.

Even so, all excuses now having been dispensed of, it remains somewhat troubling that Galaxy was unable to come away from the Open Cup without a win, especially considering that the Rapids played a man down for most of the game thanks to Greg Dalby’s red card.

Somebody in the Riot Squad boards recently said that for a team in Galaxy's current state, it didn't matter what type of game it was, games were to be won. I agree.

If you've ever played, losing hurts. If you've never played, if you think it hurts as a fan, it hurts even worse as a player. Even if it's a completely meaningless pick-up game, losing takes an emotional toll on you.

When Arena took over the helm at Galaxy he stated that one of Galaxy's problems was that a losing mentality. Galaxy had been (at that point) the worst team in MLS. In a recent broadcast of the LA Clippers, a commentator stated that in sports, losing is an illness, and no matter how you build your team, you must cure that illness before you aspire to anything.

Galaxy outshot Colorado (24 to 6), had more off sides (6 to 0) and more corner kicks (8 to 2) which speaks to a more offensive effort than the rivals. In the end though, Galaxy did not convert and in the end lost the match in penalties. I could be wrong, but this speaks volumes to me about another casualty of the "losing" mentality.

Until that is addressed and the team starts to believe that they can WIN games, it's going to be hard to right the ship. You can't always win 2-0 or 3-0 in football. Sometimes; very often, matches are close. Matches are decided by a single goal, often late on, which requires not only that you be able to find that winning goal but also that you manage to keep the opposition at bay.

Recently, Ben7 of the Riot Squad pointed out that one of the team’s usual behaviors is "giving up very early/late goals or just after we scored one."

That speaks to a team that doesn't know how to win. For LA, it’s time to remember how to win.


To emphasize this "win-less" mentality, a simple look back at the team's last 41 games (last season + this season) and the team has only managed 9 wins. Less than 25%. Compare that to the team's 20 losses in that same time period. Yikes!

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