L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is still "simply staring at the wreckage of an 8-13-9 season," writes Grahame L Jones, but soon it will be time for him to start sorting through the chaff. "It's certainly a team that needs to be reconstructed," Arena said. "We have an odd balance on our team on the field. We have an odd balance age-wise. And we certainly have some issues that need to be resolved with the salary cap."
Although David Beckham, as Jones points out, "earns in a day what 11 other roster players each earn in a year," he's not exempted from Arena's criticism. Asked what he thought of Beckham's performance in 2008, Arena replied, "I think it's like the entire Galaxy team, it could be better."
Arena refused to blame AEG executives for the team's failure. "Where we've screwed up is in management and the front office, in getting the team better, and the players," he said. "That's my job and the players' job. That's why I'm here. It hasn't been good enough. We're not getting it done on the field."
Leading scorer Landon Donovan, who may be headed for a European team in the offseason, agreed. "I think we can all look in the mirror and be critical," said the forward. "We haven't done a good enough job of holding people accountable. It's one thing for coaches to do it, [but] we need to do it."
The Galaxy's shopping list is topped by "a goalkeeper, a central defender, a defensive midfielder and, if Donovan leaves, a playmaker and a reliable goalscorer," writes Jones. Arena said a clean slate "is not possible in this league ... But there are going to be changes and we have to actively pursue players."
And Mr. Beckham? "I've not enjoyed not having success with the Galaxy," he said. "We have to put that right."