Notes from Galaxy vs WizardsBy: NathanHJ | April 25th, 2010
(Image by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
Once again I’ve been thwarted by the ass-tastic nature of the new MLS internet presence. This time it is their new blackout policy for games streamed through their Match Day Live service. It turns out that this year, unlike past years, they are blacking out all games played by local teams if they are on any kind of TV at all. Since last night’s game was on FSW, they “blacked out” the stream for MDL subscribers in LA. (They did the same for the Chivas USA stream too, which most Galaxy fans won’t care about, but it seems hilarious that MLS expects everyone in LA to support both Chivas and the Galaxy despite that SuperClasico thing they keep promoting.)
So I did catch the “condensed” version of the game, the 15 minute version MDL puts together. This time the editing didn’t suck as much as it did for the Dynamo game, but it still doesn’t really give you the story of the game, so much as it just gives you some of the more interesting moments. There is overlap there, but they aren’t the same thing. I wonder if they could do 60 minute versions they way they edit old EPL games. Probably too much to ask of American futbol editors.
I’m going to whine some more about this, but I think I’ll do that later and talk about actual futbol instead. So here are some observations based on the truncated version I saw and some of the comments from the live blog.
Depth: The depth on the Galaxy this year is not only the deepest I’ve seen the Galaxy since Alexi Lalas took over as GM, but this team is easily one of the deepest I’ve seen in MLS to date. With Sean Franklin and Leonardo out, Bruce Arena can bring in Gregg Berhalter and AJ DeLaGarza. With Dema Kovalenko, Eddie Lewis, David Beckham and Clint Mathis unavailable, the team can draw on Chris Birchall, Mike Magee, Michael Stephens, Juninho and Chris Klein. When the entire team is healthy the challenge for Arena is going to be placing his hottest players on the field at the same time without disrupting the cohesion. That’s a long ways away from the dark days of late 2007.
Youth movement: While the Galaxy still has a raft of players pushing their mid and late 30’s (Berhalter, Lewis, Klein, Kovalenko), the team also has some promising youngsters. The Brazilian trio of Leonardo, Juninho, and Alex Cazumba is joined by Michael Stephens while the Galaxy can count on 2nd and 3rd year players like DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, and Franklin.
Offense: So Edson Buddle had his first quiet game of the season. And nobody else could put one past Jimmy Nielsen, despite a couple of great chances by a variety of players. But I don’t mind so much. That small field with a game in the rain was going to be a challenge no matter what. Despite that, chances came from all over the field as the Wizards worked overtime to shut down MLS-leading scorer Buddle. Keep this up and goals are going to come from lots of players, which will be important come World Cup time.
Defense: This game featured the two best defenses in MLS by goals allowed, with one apiece. So maybe expecting lots of offense wasn’t realistic to start with. But, it’s also true that Donovan Ricketts had more saves in this game than in the previous four combined and a couple of them were straight-up stone denials. And I was told that Berhalter looked good in his first start of 2010, while Gonzalez cleaned up a lot of messes.
Finally, Luck: Kei Kamara. ‘Nuff said.
Check out the link, if you want to relive the magic.
At the end of the day, Los Angeles is 4-0-1 with 13 points, putting them on top of the entire MLS table, though the Red Bulls and the Rapids have both hit double digits in points. This is very different from the beginning of last year, but not so very different from the end of last year. I’m looking forward to seeing the Philadelphia Union on May 1.
Okay, one last word on the horrible horrible horrible nature of the new MLS internet presence. It is particularly disappointing because of MLS’ status as a young league; one that watched a vibrant internet culture grow up around it because that was the best way for fans to get news and to connect, since mainstream sports media basically completely ignored the game. In the 15 years since the league started, this has become one of the strongest parts of the MLS fan base.
Which is why it is so disappointing to not only see that the new MLSSoccer site is so completely effed up (this post by All Things Footy from two weeks ago covers the “apology” from MLS, while these from Fake Sigi and Pitch Invasion cover the specifics of how embarrassingly bad MLSSoccer.com really is), but that its’ internet streaming policies have emulated those of sports that have a stronger base within broadcast TV.
MLB, NBA, and NHL all block access to internet streams for “local” teams so that you have to watch the games on TV. OK. I can see most local games from those teams on broadcast TV. But aside from a few teams in MLS, that’s not an option. So in order to see the games, I used to buy the MLS streaming service, so I could see local games, plus the other match-ups I wanted to catch. But now, I get blocked. So I have to buy cable, which to get FSC, Time Warner makes me buy the service that comes close to $80/month. Or I have to go out to a bar and compete with the Lakers or Dodgers or even the EPL and La Liga.
My basic problem here is that this is disrespectful for many fans, especially an internet-savvy fanbase. Last night the Galaxy were playing in Kansas City. That’s an away game. And it was only available on a regional sports network. And, to top it off, it was the KC Wizards broadcast team. But because my computer is in LA, I couldn’t seen the game. It’s absurd and yet another way that MLS is abusing its fan base.
Chris Schlosser is the MLS Chief of Digital Strategy and you can share your thoughts with him here: firstname.lastname@example.org
What about you? What did you see in the game yesterday? Who was your man of the match? Who did well? What did you think of Michael Stephens first start? How about Gregg Berhalter? What do you think the Galaxy needs to do to win against Philadelphia? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
What others are saying:
Andrew Wiebe at MLSSoccer.com with the Wizards perspective
Luis Bueno at MLSSoccer with the Galaxy perspective
Nick Green at 100 Percent Soccer
Post-game quotes from the Kansas City Star
AP from Fox 4 KC
Jo-Ryan Salazar from The Bleacher Report
ESPN game recap
Terez Paylor at the KS Star with the game recap
Jonathan Vera at Goal.com
Jo-Ryan Salazar’s live blog. Fun.
LA Soccer News.com
Nick Sloan at the Kansas City Kansan
The official LA Galaxy blog
Note that the LA Times, the Galaxy’s hometown flagship paper is not listed. They ran 3 paragraphs of the AP story. Sad.