Galaxy owners take charge, Gullit and Lalas out, buzzwords are ‘fresh start’, ‘responsibility’ and ‘playoffs’. Cobi Jones takes over as interim coach.
Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG (Galaxy owners):
“We are stepping up and doing what we need to do to straighten this thing out.
There are two good people that for different reasons aren’t part of this organization today, and that’s a shame. The fact is, the players have to look deep inside themselves and understand they have to be responsible for some of this.
Am I angry we find ourselves in the situation we find ourselves in? Yes. This is not a fun week. The Galaxy hasn’t made the playoffs for a couple years. Punting on this season is not acceptable. It starts Thursday.”
On Thursday LA Galaxy take on Chivas USA with the Galaxy on a seven-match winless streak. The Galaxy were in pretty good shape this season before the recent winless streak left them at 6-8-5 with just 23 points.
Gullit will be succeeded on an interim basis by 37-year-old Cobi Jones, a first-year assistant who retired following last season after spending his entire pro career with the Galaxy.
Leiweke on Ruud Gullit:
“I think this was a tough move professionally and personally for Ruud. I don’t think it was working out for him and his family. I have no issues with Ruud, I appreciate what he’s done for us. And we move on.
I appreciate Cobi’s stepping in. The one guy’s loyalty and passion over there I don’t question is his. I think we have eliminated any and all excuses now. No one can point any fingers.”
Leiweke on Lalas:
“I think because of the Ruud situation, it was an opportunity to once and for all look for a fresh start. Alexi’s been with us a long time. I’m very appreciative of everything he’s done for the Galaxy. That one is painful. We haven’t made the playoffs for two years running, and we’re headed for a third year. You can’t blame Alexi entirely. I do think we need a fresh start.”
So what’s really happened?
Galaxy aren’t doing as well as their owners expected after the investment they’ve made in the last two years. They’re trying to stem the rot now instead of giving the manager another season, which basically amounts to them losing faith in the manager’s commitment to the club and/or his ability to lead them to the playoffs and beyond. With Lalas, my guess is that he went because he backed the manager, but any number of things could have happened behind the scenes.
The bar just got raised for the next guy coming in – any manager who’s ‘expected’ to make the playoffs and then fired for not bringing in the results isn’t going to come in when he sees that just bringing in a new manager is not going to solve the problem.
Too bad you can’t get non-performing players to ‘resign’ or better yet, fire them.