Motorola Cup heartbreak, and dealing with the pain

There were some empty seats in Seoul. It looks like the Galaxy may have to play some league games in order to pay the bills this year.

The nice thing about preseason games is how easy it is to dismiss the negative and accentuate the positive. This doesn't necessarily work when there aren't any positives - say, MLS v. Gamba Osaka, and I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that Real Salt Lake v. Lynn University wasn't much in the way of consoling.

So right now we Galaxy fans are focusing in on certain parts of the first half against Seoul, where actual factual passes were being completed and actual factual shots on goals were made. And Ruiz looks like he's come to the team in shape, which should drive every single Dallas fan to apoplectic rage, but c'est la guerre. The only thing more frightening than Ruiz working the refs to get Beckham and Donovan in range is Ruiz rediscovering his 2002 form. Skeptics may continue to refer to the ski slope that is his career MLS goal totals, but the theory is that with Landon and David serving him up, he will feast metaphorically instead of masticatingly.

Ah, but what about the defense. Yeah, about them. The theory is, Gullit teaches the Galaxy to control the ball so well that even with a weak defense, the other team simply won't have the opportunities to take the point-blank shots we've seen over the past couple of years. Realistically, the Galaxy are at any given point one injury away from turning 2-0 and 3-0 wins into 4-2 and 5-3 losses. And, since the Galaxy have cunningly overloaded the back line with guys that are both old and injury prone, what we have here is an elaborately set-up fruit stand in the middle of a movie starring Burt Reynolds, Terry Bradshaw and a Trans Am.

So the Galaxy, after roster turnover after roster turnover, are still the same team they have been since 2005 - a team that could either win MLS Cup or miss the playoffs.

Of course, they could flop completely in Hong Kong, and then I get to re-post the Gamba analysis. (This time, though, I'm ready with my "Hong Kong Phooey" headline.)