November 19, 2016
By Brian Trusdell
SportsVue News Net Writer
Was that thud an iceberg?
First Nigel de Jong left. Then Steven Gerrard. Then Robbie Keane. Add eight-year associate head coach Dave Sarachan. And if speculation is right, Bruce Arena could soon follow to replace the as yet-to-be fired Juergen Klinsmann at the U.S. national team.
It would make the LA Galaxy into the LA Supernova. Or did the Galaxy hit an iceberg and we just missed it?
The Galaxy had the third-highest payroll in Major League Soccer this past season at just over $18 million, behind only Toronto ($21.8 million) and NYC ($21.1 million), according the MLS Players Union salary numbers. Orlando was a distant fourth at $11.6 million.
The Galaxy still has a fair amount of “star power” compared to your typical MLS team with club scoring leader Giovani dos Santos, Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme and Landon Donovan, not counting Gyasi Zardes and, of course, Alan Gordon.
Whether Arena, who has coached the Galaxy since 2008, joins the exodus would first depend on whether Klinsmann gets bounced from the U.S. national team job.
A sixth-best record in the regular season (12-6-16) and a second-round playoff exit to Colorado is not what most expected of the club with that kind of roster.
But the Galaxy’s makeover appears to have gotten off to an early start.
What else can it steal from Europe?
Expansion club Atlanta not only had to employ FC but United as well when it chose a name (saying it deferred to its fan surveys that showed an overwhelming preference for “traditional” naming conventions), but now it’s had to borrow its uniform from Europe as well.
The club unveiled a primary (let’s use the “traditional”, i.e. British word here) kit on Tuesday: a red-and-black vertical striped shirt, black shorts and black socks. It’s about as original as a rock.
Amazingly, it looks like AC Milan (or the New York MetroStars circa Rhett Harty days).
The difference for Atlanta will be gold “adidas” stripes on the shoulders and shorts, advertising logo and numbers (they ought to be real easy to see from a distance!)
In fairness, there isn’t much you can do with a shirt, shorts and socks to be original. With thousands of professional teams – not to mention semi-pro, amateur and youth – just about every color and combination probably has been tried.
Some MLS teams at least make an effort. The Galaxy with its diagonal sash, the Revolution’s stripe down the middle, Orlando with its purple, Houston with its orange and Seattle with its sea green are trying to be a little off the beaten path. Philly and Portland, too, aren’t trying to blend into FIFA ’17.
Montreal already has swiped Inter Milan’s blue-and-black vertical stripes. The old MetroStars, when they were trotting out AC Milan’s red-and-black shirts as their home shirt under Charlie Stillitano, used Juventus’ white-and-black vertical stripes for their away shirt. Stillitano is/was a big Italian soccer fan, go figure.
Let’s just hope Arthur Blank, Darren Eales or whoever else has a say in the away uniform doesn’t have a dream about Palermo.
The Bain of MLS
A second group has emerged in St. Louis to vie to be the one that MLS picks to give a team to, and that group is speaking the league HQ’s language of #hashtag, i.e. millennials.
MLS2STL, or SC STL, unveiled this week its principals and proposal for a stadium, a $200 million, 20,000-seat building in the millennial nirvana of downtown, in this case St. Louis. The other potential group, Foundry St. Louis, has ideas for a stadium that is only, gasp, near downtown.
Another factor, good or bad depending on how you look at it, is that the chairman – and lead owner – of the SC STL (at least they have that hashtag lingo down) is Paul Edgerly, formerly of Bain Capital, the private equity firm that 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney started.
Additionally, current Bain managing director David Gross-Loh also is an investor in SC STL along with former Anheuser-Busch President Dave Peacock and Robert Hermann Jr., whose family name is where the Hermann Trophy comes from.
Those who can’t do teach ... or become player personnel directors
Amos Magee had the proverbial cup of coffee in MLS. He played a total 250 minutes over 13 games in a four-year MLS career. He apparently learned enough though to be selected as Minnesota United’s player personnel director.
The 45-year-old St. Paul, Minn., native has bounced around in his soccer career, which included 12 seasons with the Minnesota Thunder, one of the forerunners to MinU. He climbed (very) briefly to play with the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Chicago Fire before ending in the coaching ranks with the Thunder, the U.S. team at the 2007 Maccabiah Games (it won gold), Portland and D.C. United.
Magee is in addition to MinU’s “sporting director” Manny Lagos, another 45-year-old St. Paul native whose MLS career was little more extensive: 170 games over 10 seasons with five teams. Besides both being 45 and from St. Paul, Lagos’ and Magee’s careers crossed paths at Tampa Bay in 2000 when both played for the Mutiny.