Since time will be short before this January transfer window opens, L.A. Galaxy management is surely, already, talking about those Designated Player replacements for David Beckham.
Don’t forget, the Galaxy will need to be back in camp earlier than most MLS clubs, with that early CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal on deck. That can only add another pancake or two to the stack of pressure here.
First off, of course, is gathering up Landon Donovan’s status. (More on this later.) aving to replace Beckham is one thing; having two Designated Player spots available would change the entire DP dynamic here, opening up quite a few more options.
For instance, the Galaxy could bring in a Frank Lampard as a signing that checks the boxes on “useful” and “splashy,” and then employ another one to gather up a difference-maker more in his prime, someone with even greater value to the club’s competitive pursuits.
Either way, with one or two DP spots to fill, the other wildcard here might be Omar Gonzalez.
The big American center back could well be the most important Los Angeles Galaxy man of all. We all saw how alarmingly rickety that back line became in his absence during those early months of woe around the Home Depot Center. As much as Robbie Keane did over the season’s final two months on offense, Gonzalez did just as much over the final four months to stabilize that leaky defense.
And that kind of stabilizing rear guard force will come at an increasing price. It’s possible that Gonzalez, 24, might even require DP dollars to extend his Galaxy days.
This is a good place to start as we all explore the Galaxy’s impending DP pursuit, a look at life after David Beckham (complete with lots of handy numbers) at LAG Confidential.
Harry Kane forced Asmir Begovic into two good saves in the first half and Song Hueng-min should’ve scored in the second half with a header but even after after a grueling 5,000-mile round trip to Azerbaijan on Thursday night for Europa League action which saw them arrive back in England at 6 a.m. local time Friday, manager Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t pleased his team didn’t win to move into the top four.
“No, not really happy. We deserved more than we got, so I was disappointed, but it’s true that I’m proud of the players. For me they’re big heroes,” Pochettino told ProSoccerTalk. “The effort was massive. Chelsea played one of their best games of the season, and when you make the effort we showed and the maturity, you have to be happy with your players but disappointed with one point.”
With Spurs now stretching their unbeaten run to 13 games this season — their one and only defeat in 2015-16 came on the opening day of the season, 1-0 at Manchester United — Pochettino was asked if his side, who sit five points off the top, should be pleased that a draw against Chelsea felt like two points dropped.
The Argentine coach then released his inner Jose Mourinho — the pair have a close relationship and before Poch came to coach in England he spoke at length to Mourinho — dishing out a backhanded compliment to the master of the backhanded compliment.
“This is a good thing. We play the champions. It’s good. You got the feeling that Chelsea were a small team and Tottenham can win every game we play,” Pochettino said. “It’s very difficult, though. Not easy. We’re the youngest team in the PL and the maturity we showed today we have shown in different games. We have to feel happy. It’s a good thing that, maybe, we are a bigger club than Chelsea or that we deserve more. We showed good performances in the last few games, and I’m happy, but we have to keep working hard. We’ve only had 14 games in the PL and it’s too early to think about the end of the season.”
Whether or not those comments were lost in translation from a man who is still getting used to English as his second language, Pochettino clearly felt Spurs deserved more than the point they got and it’s apparent from the differing predicaments both teams find themselves in that Spurs have more chance of winning the title and finishing in the top four than Chelsea this season.