Los Angeles Galaxy president and general manager Alexi Lalas has acknowledged that an MLS ban on charter flights came under discussion when the Galaxy began outlining its security and travel arrangements once David Beckham arrives.
Red Bull New York has been denied permission by the league to travel by
charter. (The players were, however, taken on a tour of the Red Bull
facility in Santa Monica, Calif., on Wednesday during their preseason
stay in Southern California.)
Without specifying how the Galaxy will travel -- although the coach of
a rival team is convinced LA will fly charter to avoid massive throngs
at LAX and commercial airports serving other MLS cities -- Lalas
"The league is very cognizant of making sure that there is as much of
an even playing field as possible when it comes to those things. They
make their decisions accordingly. If the ability to do so were granted,
I certainly think a number of teams would look into it."
Lalas bemoaned the fact Los Angeles will play 11 of its last 18 league
games on the road to maximize the Beckham effect around the league, and
compared that to the competitive benefits of traveling by charter.
"It's interesting to me that it would be perceived by the league as a
competitive advantage and yet, the scheduling of the Los Angeles Galaxy
to accommodate the rest of the league this year is not perceived to be
a competitive disadvantage to the Galaxy," he said.
However, a converse interpretation is also viable. The Galaxy will play
two-thirds of its first 12 games at home, and thus could amass plenty
of points by the time it is strengthened, presumably, by the arrival of
the former England captain.
The scheduling to accommodate Beckham and the SuperLiga tournament also
gives the Galaxy a four-week break from league competition prior to the
"official" league debut of Becks against Toronto Aug. 5 that starts a
four-game road swing. After that road trip, the Galaxy will have played
eight home games, and eight away games.
Sounds balanced to me.
The Beckham scheduling will affect the Galaxy, however, when it plays a
Sunday game following a Thursday night appearance on ESPN2, which it
will do five times.