2000 Season in Review
Final Record: 14-10-8, 50 points (Second, Western Division)
The Galaxy finished their fifth MLS season with a 14-10-8 record (.563), good for 50 points and second place in the Western Division and the fifth-best overall record in the league. The runner-up finish marked only the second time in history the club had not finished in first place in its division or conference (the other time being 1997). A strong start (6-0-5) saw the Galaxy go unbeaten in 11 straight games from March 18 to May 20, despite the club's lowest scoring season in five years (47 goals). At the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles finished with the seventh-best home record in MLS at 8-3-5 (.656). On the road, the Galaxy recorded the third-best record in the league with a 6-7-3 mark (.469). The Galaxy posted a 5-3-4 record (.583) against fellow Western Division foes and had the second-best record (behind Chicago) among MLS squads against teams outside its division (9-7-4, .550). Los Angeles led the league in attendance for the third time (1998 and 1996 were the others), welcoming 326,392 fans to the Rose Bowl for an average of 20,400 per game. The average attendance was up nearly 3,000 fans per-game over 1999.
2000 PLAYOFFS: Despite a strong run by the Galaxy in 2000, which saw the club advance to the MLS Semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons, the team fell one game short of returning for its third MLS Cup. Los Angeles was defeated by the Kansas City Wizards in Game Three of the semifinals, losing in regulation and the sudden death mini-game, 1-0. The Galaxy fell for only the second time in a semifinal series, with both defeats coming at the hands of the eventual MLS Cup champions (Chicago Fire in 1998 was the other). Despite not having home field advantage, the Galaxy tied Game One in Kansas City, 0-0, and returned to the Rose Bowl for a sudden death overtime win, 2-1. The victory in Game Two meant the Galaxy needed only a win or a tie to advance to the finals, but the Wizards came up big behind league MVP and Pepsi Goalkeeper of the Year Tony Meola. Earlier in the quarterfinals, Los Angeles dumped the Tampa Bay Mutiny, 2-0, to advance, marking the fourth time the club has swept a playoff series.
ONE OF TWO PLAYOFF DYNASTIES: Los Angeles is one of only two clubs (Dallas Burn is the other) to have earned a playoff berth in all five years of MLS' existence. Of those two, only the Galaxy has reached the MLS Cup with the team making two championship game appearances (1996 and 1999).
GALAXY ENDS STREAK OF 20-WIN SEASONS: Los Angeles, who become the first team in Western Conference history and second in MLS (D.C. United doing it during same seasons, but reaching 20 wins earlier in 1999) to achieve back-to-back 20-win seasons (1998 and 1999), fell six games short in small part to the MLS' new system which includes wins, loses and ties, and eliminates the shootout victory. The Galaxy went to overtime a league-leading 11 times, posting a 1-2-8 record with two overtime losses at Colorado (6/10 and 9/8).
DEFENSE STILL AMONG TOPS IN MLS: After two consecutive years of leading the league, Los Angeles was the second-best defensive unit in Major League Soccer in 2000, allowing 37 goals for a 1.12 average and 8 shutouts.
MLS ALL-STAR GAME INCLUDES SIX FROM GALAXY: The Galaxy boasted six MLS All-Stars at the contest held at Crew Stadium in Columbus. Mauricio Cienfuegos, Cobi Jones, Robin Fraser and Greg Vanney were voted starters by the fans while Kevin Hartman was selected by West Coach Bob Gansler and Luis Hernandez was one of MLS Commissioner Don Garber's two picks. Jones and Tampa Bay's Carlos Valderrama jointly set an MLS All-Star Game record with four assists each. The West held a 4-3 lead at halftime, but the East exploded for an All-Star Game record six goals in the second half to win the highest scoring All-Star Game in league history, 9-4. Cienfuegos got a goal in the 19th minute off a Jones' pass, one of three assists the U.S. National Team star produced over a five-minute span.
GALAXY ALLOCATED MEXICAN INTERNATIONAL LUIS HERNANDEZ: On May 16, Major League Soccer allocated Mexican International Luis Hernandez to the Galaxy. Following the acquisition, Hernandez appeared in 16 games, making 15 starts while collecting four goals and six assists for 14 points. Despite missing four MLS games due to national team duty with Mexico, Hernandez finished tied for fourth on the Galaxy's scoring board. After a seven-game drought to start his MLS career, Hernandez demonstrated why he was such a key acquisition for the Galaxy, scoring three goals and five assists over a five-game stretch (6/28-8/5).
Hernandez joined the Galaxy after spending his last four seasons with the Tigres of Monterrey of the Mexican First Division, where he tallied a total of 38 goals in 64 games, including 13 during his final 2000 Summer Season. The 31-year-old Hernandez, who began his professional career with Cruz Azul's reserve team in 1990, won two Mexican League Championships (1994-95, 1995-96) with Necaxa, a CONCACAF Champions Cup title with Monterrey (1992-93) and was named the Mexican Player of the Year in 1997 and 1998.
NATIONAL TEAMS SPY TALENT ON GALAXY: Eleven Galaxy players drew National Team duty in 2000, including Cobi Jones (USA), Robin Fraser (USA), Greg Vanney (USA), Danny Califf (USA), Peter Vagenas (USA), Sasha Victorine (USA), Mauricio Cienfuegos (El Salvador), Luis Hernandez (Mexico), Sebastien Vorbe (Haiti), Simon Elliott (New Zealand) and Ezra Hendrickson (St. Vincent & the Grenadines). These players participated in a wide variety of tournaments including World Cup Qualifying, 2000 Olympic Qualifying, 2000 Olympic Games, Gold Cup, Confederations Cup, 2000 U.S. Nike Cup and Oceania Nations Cup. Overall, Los Angeles' 11 national team members missed a combined 45 MLS matches over the 32-game schedule.
ROOKIES MAKE STRONG IMPACT: The Galaxy would have been in a much different position in 2000 if it were not for the talent of four rookies who put up impressive numbers for a team whose veteran roster is considered one of the deepest in Major League Soccer. Defender Danny Califf, midfielders Sasha Victorine and Peter Vagenas and forward Sebastien Vorbe all contributed significant minutes and stepped up when injury and national team call-ups had depleted the club.
The Galaxy's first-year foursome led all MLS teams in rookie production with 79 games played, 59 games started, 5,430 minutes, 11 goals, eight assists for 30 points. U.S. Olympians Califf, Vagenas and Victorine made nine starts together, while Vorbe joined in nine games.
|L..A.'s Rookie Foursome|
GALAXY REACHES SEMI-FINALS OF U.S. OPEN CUP: The Galaxy, making its second Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearance, reached the semifinal of the tournament for the first time in team history. However, Los Angeles was unable to advance as the Chicago Fire defeated the Galaxy, 2-1, at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Field on August 23.
Beginning play after a first round bye, Los Angeles defeated the A-League's Seattle Sounders, 2-1, in front of 3,063 fans at Titan Field to move to the third round. Cobi Jones scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute. Los Angeles scored first off a Greg Vanney penalty kick in the 23rd minute, which resulted after midfielder Brian Kelly was taken down from behind by Seattle's Viet Nguyen just inside the penalty box.
In the Third Round, the Galaxy defeated the A-League's San Diego Flash, 2-0, to advance in front of a Flash-record crowd of 6,118 fans at Mesa College's Douglas Stadium. Midfielders Sasha Victorine and Ivan Polic each tallied for the Galaxy in the second-ever U.S. Open Cup meeting between the two teams.
In the Quarters, L.A. defeated MLS-rival San Jose, 2-0 at Titan Field. Midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos opened the scoring in the 77th minute, while Seth George ended the Earthquakes' hopes of a comeback with a strike of his own four minutes later. Goalkeeper Matt Reis once again came up big for the Galaxy recording his second straight U.S. Open Cup shutout.
VANNEY AND FRASER TWO OF PEPSI BEST 11: For the first time in his career, Galaxy defender Greg Vanney was named to Major League Soccer's Pepsi Best 11 squad for 2000. He was joined on the squad by Galaxy teammate Robin Fraser, who earned his fourth Best 11 nod (1996, '98, '99). One of the original members of the team dating back to 1996, Vanney has emerged as one of the league's brightest stars and a U.S. National Team regular. In addition to be one of the league's best markers and deadliest penalty kick specialists, Vanney tied for fourth on the team in scoring with six goals and two assists for 14 points. Fraser captained the Galaxy to its fifth straight playoff appearance and another Top 2 finish among MLS defensive units