1999 Season in Review
Final Record: 20-12, 54 pts. (first, Western Conference)
The Galaxy finished the season with a 20-12 record (.625) with 54 points and earned the Western Conference regular season title for the second consecutive season and third time in club history (1996, 1998 &, 1999). A slow start to the season (2-3) and a lack luster performance from the MLS' highest scoring team in 1998 (85 goals) saw head coach Octavio Zambrano relieved of his duties on April 22, 1999. Los Angeles named a local college legend luring UCLA's Sigi Schmid to the challenge of coaching in Major League Soccer. In his first year as head coach, Schmid led the Galaxy to a 17-9 record (.654] good for 49 points. Since Schmid joined the Galaxy, Los Angeles went through a season long transformation from a team with potential to runner-up champion. At the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles finished the season with third best home record 12-4 (.750) in MLS. On the road, the Galaxy finished with an 8-8 record (.500). The Galaxy tied to the best record against fellow West opponents with a 13-7 record (.650) and as the top club versus the East notching a 7-5 record (.583). The Galaxy enters the 2000 season with an all-time 79-49 MLS record.
LEAGUE LEADERS: Los Angeles had four players that ranked among league leaders in several categories. Cobi Jones finished 16th among league leading scorers with eight goals and eight assists good for 24 points. Jones, along with Carlos Hermosillo, finished tied for 15th among goal scorers with eight goals apiece. Mauricio Cienfuegos was among league leaders in assists for the fourth year in a row as he recorded a personal-high 17 helpers to finish tied for 2nd among league leaders. Cienfuegos also finished first among game-winning assist leaders with eight. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman had yet another record-breaking season, as he finished first among MLS netminders in goals-against-average (0.91), wins (20), minutes played (2870) and tied for first in shutouts (11) and games played (32).
A PRIVILEGED FEW: Los Angeles is one of the privileged few to have earned a playoff berth in all four years of the MLS' existence. The Galaxy is one of three teams to have achieved this feat and is joined by only D.C. United and Dallas Burn. Of the three teams, D.C. United is the only club to have captured the MLS Cup (1996, 1997 & 1999). Los Angeles' strongest performances were in 1996 and 1999 when the club went to the MLS finals but fell to United, 3-2 in overtime and 2-0, respectively.
GALAXY BREAK 20-WIN PLATEAU, AGAIN: Los Angeles has become the first team in Western Conference history to achieve back-to-back 20 win seasons, compiling 24-8 (1998) and 20-12 (1999) records. Also, Los Angeles is the second team in MLS history behind D.C. United (1998-99) to win 20 games in consecutive seasons. In 1998, the Galaxy earned its 20th win on 8/22 at New England [3-0), but this season the Galaxy notched its 20th win in the final game of the season on 10/9 at Kansas City (1-0).
REGULAR SEASON WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: The Los Angeles Galaxy finished the 1999 regular season with a 20-12 record, earning 54 points and the regular season Western Conference Championship. The Galaxy also clinched home field advantage for the third time in the club's four-year history (also 1996 and 1998). The 20-12 record stands as the Galaxy's second best record in history only behind 1998's record setting 24-8 (68 points) mark.
12TH MAN DOMINATES AT ROSE BOWL: The Galaxy and its "12th Man", the fans, helped the club to dominate at the Rose Bowl, posting a 12-4 record (.740) the third best in the league. Against the Western Conference, Los Angeles compiled an amazing undefeated 10-0 record (1.000), sweeping all two-game series' against their five West opponents at the Rose Bowl. The Galaxy outscored its opponents 24-10, including eight shutouts. Los Angeles finished the regular season in second place in attendance averaging 17,632 at the Rose Bowl.
BEST DEFENSE: Los Angeles boasted the best defensive unit in Major League Soccer for the second consecutive season, allowing a league low 29 goals against for a 0.91 goals-against-average (GAA). The Galaxy destroyed the old league low for goals against beating the previous record of 41 goals allowed and 1.22 GAA set by the Columbus Crew in 1997. Also, the unit contributed to recording 11 shutouts on the season, the most in a single MLS season, equaled only by Dallas (1999). The defensive unit was led by Galaxy captain Robin Fraser and included Paul Caligiuri, Ezra Hendrickson, Steve Jolley and Greg Vanney. However, one must not leave out the club's defensive midfielder Danny Peña.
HARTMAN SHATTERS RECORD: Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman shattered Major League Soccer's goals-against-average (GAA) for a single season by less than one goal per game for the first time in league history. Hartman's 0.91 GAA easily surpassed the previous record set by Chicago's Zach Thornton in 1998 (1.17 GAA) An additional note, Hartman, who registered 32 games played and 2870 minutes, played five games and 794 more minutes than Thornton's 25 games and 2076 minutes.
CLEAN SHEETS: Goalkeeper Kewn Hartman also finished the 1999 season as the MLS' most unblemished 'keeper, allowing a league low 29 goals while recording eleven clean sheets on the season. The record-season for the young keeper tied him for the most shutouts in a single season with Dallas' Matt Jordan. Hartman is tied with Kansas City Wizards' netminder Tony Meola for the all-time shutout record with 21. However, Hartman (69) has recorded 21 clean sheets in 30 fewer games than Meola (99).
SIGI EARNS ALL SPORT COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS: Los Angeles head coach Sigi Schmid was named All Sport Coach of the Year. The awards garnered by Schmid, Kevin Hartman (Pepsi Goalkeeper of the Year) and Robin Fraser (BIC Defender of the Year) marked the first individual awards won by the Galaxy (not including ATAT's Best-11).
The 46-year old Schmid, who finished ahead of Dallas' Dave Dir and DC United's Thomas Rongen, completed his first year as head coach of the Galaxy with a 17-9 record (.654) good for 49 points and a first place finish in the Western Conference. He was named the Los Angeles Galaxy's third head coach in team history on April 22, 1999 taking over for Octavio Zambrano. Prior to becoming the Galaxy's manager, Schmid served as head coach at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
HARTMAN RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD AFTER PHENOMENAL SEASON: Los Angeles goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was named Pepsi Goalkeeper of the Year. Hartman became the first MLS goalkeeper to record back-to-back 20-win seasons between the pipes and the first to go an entire year allowing fewer than one goal per game (0.91) shattering the previous record of 1.17 goal-against average (GAA) by Chicago's Zach Thornton. Hartman, who finished ahead of Dallas' Matt Jordan and Tampa Bay's Scott Garlick, also set a league record with 11 shutouts (tied by Jordan, 1999).
The 6-1, 174-pound netminder led the league in several categories including wins (20), shutouts (11), games played (32) and minutes played (2870). Hartman, who was drafted by Los Angeles in the third round (29th overall) of the 1997 MLS College Draft, also finished third among save (118) and save percentage (.787) leaders.
FRASER NAMED BIC DEFENDER OF THE YEAR: Galaxy defender Robin Fraser was named MLS' 1999 BIC Defender of the Year. Awarded to the player judged by MLS coaching staffs and general managers to be the best defender during the regular season, Fraser finished ahead of D.C. United's Jeff Agoos and 1998 winner Lubos Kubik of the Chicago Fire.
The 32-year old Fraser, who finished third in the 1998 Defender of the Year voting, spent his first season as captain of the Galaxy in 1999 helping the club set a new defensive league standard. LA became the first team to allow less than one goal per game (29 goals in 32 games, a 0.91 average). Likewise, the club registered a league high 11 shutouts with Fraser leading the Galaxy's last line of defense. Under the 6-1, 175-pound defender's guidance, the Galaxy has now allowed the least number of goals against in back-to-back seasons (44 goals, 1998).
AT&T BEST 11: Featuring the best 11 players at each position, the 1999 ATAT Best 11 squad featured three members of the Los Angeles Galaxy. Defender Robin Fraser and midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos made it back-to-back appearances on the world-class squad. Fraser and Cienfuegos were also named to the prestigious all-league team during the league's inaugural year in 1996. In addition, goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was also named to his first Best 11 team.
Selected by MLS coaching staffs and general managers from each team, the Galaxy has had nine members of the ATAT Best 11 team in its first four years. The nine Galaxy honorees are three-time winner's Fraser (1996, 1998, & 1999) and Cienfuegos (1996, 1998, & 1999), in addition to Hartman (1), Cobi Jones (1) and Eduardo Hurtado (1).