Alexi Lalas the General Manager
Lalas...Lalas..Lalas...Is that what the fans will be chanting when LA finally wins the title under his management? I doubt it, maybe an ironic cheer, as the Galaxy crawl along this season winning now and again. You're more apt to see a flag depicting Ruud Gullit's mug if the team goes on another win streak like they did last year or an opposing fan dragging in a poster of Beckham in his under wear as a joke.
Lalas has had a few runs as GM, first with the first San Jose club. Then with the Metro Stars, and then to LA after the Metro Stars were sold to the Red Bulls. Lalas has been the man for AEG and their MLS clubs, they must like him and what he's done. You could say the early success of the San Jose club was partly due to Lalas's handy work, but most will point the success to two coaches: Dominic Kinnear and Frank Yallop. Many are now questioning his choices for the Galaxy and their outlook this year, they've got Beckham and Donovan, but who's going to score the goals for this team, Ruiz is out and he might be too old for the role.
Lalas's former band opened for Hootie and the Blowfish on their European Tour, need I say more. Do you really want your club run by someone who's graced the stage with Hootie? It's like when Donovan said he'd liked the movie Juno, just changes your image of them entirely. Sure, I can't play guitar and wish I could, but if I could and had a band, I'd avoid opening for Hootie or any band with a name close to that. I'll ask you again, do you want that guy running your team? It was Hootie's European tour though, it's sort of like Clooney doing fast food commercial in South Korea--the bucks just too hard to pass up.
But let's talk some soccer and get away somewhat from all the trying to be funny references. All kidding aside, Lalas was the first American to play in Italy (Padova) and did well there, although he's known more for his long hair and goatee, he wasn't just some big hack. He could lace balls to forwards and play the ball out of the back and win head balls. You don't play in the Serie A unless you can truly play.
During his playing days for the U.S., he played in World Cups, the Olympics, and then won a title in the MLS with the Galaxy if I'm not mistaken.
His results are now in focus though, can he build a winning club? The focus and spotlight is even brighter now with Beckham at LA. On the business side, Beckham was a boon to sales for jerseys and worth the big paycheck, but teams have to win though. The going looked tough after a 4-0 route in Colorado, but a questionable penalty kick turned the tide in that game for the most part, giving the momentum to Colorado. In their next game the Galaxy were given a reprieve, as an early goal wasn't allowed that should have been, giving Beckham and Donovan time to orchestrate two goals and get the Galaxy the first win of the year. Lalas I'm sure very grateful for the first win and something to build off of.
But this was a win against a transitional San Jose team, how are the Galaxy and Lalas going to do in the coming weeks and months? Ruud Gullit is at the helm now, but the players that have been pulled together still remain part of the red head puppeteers doing. I'd like to see Ruud Gullit and Lalas on I'm On Setanta, both I think would make for good puppets.
The truth is though, the guy's been the GM at a number of clubs in the MLS and his success rate is not all shining and bright. The pressure is mounting now, if LA doesn't win games this year he most likely will be on his way out and back to playing his guitar and opening for Hootie or the Counting Crows. No, really, Lalas is sort of the wise veteran of the MLS and U.S. soccer. He's been around the U.S. game for a long time now. He's got too much experience not to contribute to the league and U.S. soccer, since he helped build it in a sense.