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L.A. Galaxy 2008 Season Preview

Los Angeles Galaxy

2007 Record: 9-14-7 (5th in West)

Coach: Ruud Gullit (1st Year)

Key Players: Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Carlos Ruiz, Abel Xavier, Chris Klein

Key Pickups: Carlos Ruiz (from Dallas); Sean Franklin (Drafted 4th Overall)

Key Losses: Cobi Jones (Ret.), Chris Albright (to N.E. Revs), Joe Cannon (to San Jose)

2008 Outlook: Average

Lord. I have been dreading drafting this preview, and not because I don’t like David Beckham. I am just so sick of hearing about him.

The Galaxy are the most talked about team in all of MLS, and not because of their stellar play. In fact, last season was the worst in franchise history.

No, the traditional sports media (only) talks about David Beckham when they talk about the MLS for the same reason Britney Spears is for some reason one of the top stories on my local news. They both keep the idiots’ attention, even if they really aren’t all that newsworthy.

Beckham is (somewhat) newsworthy though (or at least more so than Brit), but not at the expense of the rest of the league.

It’s sort of a love-hate thing for real MLS fans. We liked that the league was getting exposure at first, but then we realized that it wasn’t the league that was going to be exposed, just Beckham that would be overexposed.

In the end, I believe he will be good for the league. He certainly has increased attendance at games he shows up for. I just hope the league is hedging some of its Becks bets though. The way they have set it up now, if Beckham fails, the league may as well.

But how ’bout some actual soccer analysis?

The 2008 Galaxy are probably the most enigmatic team in the league. They were bad last season. Not “oh, that was a good show old man but you’ve come up short again” bad, but “thank God there’s no relegation in MLS” bad.

Despite their woes though, expectations are once again high in L.A.

However, this is the same town that had high expectations for Gigli.

Everyone has got a theory about how good David Beckham will be. I think he will be good (not “breaking every record ever set and looking hot while doing it” great, but definitely waaay better than most in the league).

But I have a more important theory about Landon Donovan.

The Galaxy will only be successful if Donovan can produce. The addition of Ruiz certainly makes the Galaxy more dangerous up top, but Donovan needs twenty or so goals this season if the Galaxy are going to compete in the West.

Why do the Galaxy need to score so much? Well, because their defense is poor. Albright is gone. Xavier looked lost out there often last year. Vanney is past his prime. Youngsters Franklin and Valentin are good players, but unpolished. The new goalkeeper is an unproven commodity. I expect the Galaxy once again to finish at the bottom of the league in goals against average.

Yet, I believe the Galaxy will make the playoffs this year. Why? Well, Beckham.

With DB swinging in his trademark crosses at Ruiz and Donovan, the Galaxy’s offense will largely improve. So long as the defense isn’t abhorrent, the Galaxy will win enough games to sneak in to the postseason.

And once they do, this should be a darkhorse team to fear. Beckham is a clutch player, and Ruiz and Donovan are the MLS postseason all-time top scorers. If Gullit’s bunch can keep the ball out of the net, the Galaxy will be tough to beat come November.

Enjoy watching the Galaxy in person this season. Check out the availability of LA Galaxy tickets