HOUSTON, TX - MAY 26: David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy leaves the field after the game against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 26, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Houston defeated Los Angeles 2-1. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
2006 and 2012 are both seasons where the Galaxy won the MLS Cup the year before. In 2006 the Galaxy missed the playoffs, so with the Galaxy floundering a bit, it seemed pertinent to look back to that 2006 season and see what can be learned from it.
First off, the one major difference between 2006 and 2012 is that '06 began with the passing of long time Galaxy GM Doug Hamilton. He was the driving force behind assembling the two cup winning teams, bringing Landon Donovan to Los Angeles, and the Executive of the Year trophy is now named after him.
The man brought in to replace Hamilton was Alexi Lalas. Things were happening.
The Galaxy began 2006 with a 2-2-1 record, the 2012 Galaxy went 2-3-0. Pretty dang similar records, really the 2012 Galaxy were an equalizer in Kansas City away from posting an identical record. The 2006 record then went on a six game losing streak and fell to last place in the conference.
Should sound familiar. The 2012 Galaxy went 1-3-2 over their next six games, but with the rest of the Western Conference improving, this left them in last place.
On June 6, 2006 (about the same time this year current Galaxy fans started calling for Bruce's head) Galaxy head coach Steve Sampson was relieved of his duties. A day later, the Galaxy brought in Frank Yallop. The Galaxy then went 0-2-2.
Sticking with Bruce Arena, the Galaxy have gone 1-2-0 over their last three matches, with a match Wednesday in Salt Lake. We'll have to wait and see if this year's Galaxy have it in them to make a playoff push over the second half of the season.
So what parallels can you draw between the two seasons? Loss of leadership. On the one hand you had a tragic death, and then a head coach removed. On the other, you can't underestimate what Gregg Berhalter and Jovan Kirovski meant to the Galaxy. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are leaders, sure, but they've got commitments outside of the Galaxy that pull them in and out of the locker room.
It's difficult to continue carrying on when it feels like everyone is leaving. The whole offseason you hear that Beckham is being courted, Donovan, Keane are out on loan. Gonzalez goes on loan and gets hurt. Not trying to play psychologist, but if you're looking for a mental explanation "everyone is moving on" makes more sense than "championship hangover".
No one ever says what a championship hangover is. Championships are like graduations, you have this big release of momentum and it's hard not to start thinking about the next thing. Especially when your in a part of your career where there won't be many more next things.
Just some food for thought as the Galaxy continue to keep calm and carry on.