Gordon embracing Galaxy's stability

LA's longest-tenured player happy to see low turnover in 2010

There was a time not too long ago when offseason meant turmoil for the
Los Angeles Galaxy. But a club that once appeared to be in perpetual
upheaval in recent years finally appears to have taken on an air of
stability.

Only five players have not returned from last season, when the club made
the playoffs for the first time in five years and reached the MLS Cup
Final. Midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi was taken by Philadelphia in the
expansion draft, veteran defender Tony Sanneh was not invited to
training camp, and midfielder Kyle Patterson and defenders Julian
Valentin and Leonard Griffin all were put on waivers.

Alan Gordon, the longest-tenured member of the Galaxy who is entering
his seventh season with the organization, admitted he breathed a sigh of
relief at the lack of significant offseason changes. Take it from
someone who's been through three general managers and five head coaches,
and that doesn't even include two coaches who were on an interim basis:
stability is more than welcome.

"It's a relief. It's a different feeling, that's for sure," he said.
"It's almost not normal. You look around and you see everybody back.
We've gotten off to a much faster start than any other year.

"We already know each other, we've played with each other for a full
year for the most part. It's all about getting back in shape now. You
don't have to worry what the other guy's like, what his tendencies are
... you kind of know. It's definitely going to help us, I think."

Head coach/general manager Bruce Arena arrived in Los Angeles in August
of 2008 and knew he had to make a number of changes in order to restore
the organization to its once-lofty status. He outdid himself with more
than a dozen new faces in 2009 and the result was one of the team's most
successful seasons in years.

But just as much as he need to reverse the club's sagging fortunes a
year ago, there was no need for a repeat scenario in 2010 and Gordon,
for one, was happy to see it.

"It makes all the difference," said Gordon, who has 15 career goals and
12 assists since he joined Los Angeles after being named A-League Rookie
of the Year with the Portland Timbers in 2004. "You look at the
successful teams in this league like Houston, New England, and they've
been good for the past five years because they've kept their squads
together. For the most part, the nucleus sticks around.

"We've got our nucleus back and we've added a couple new faces that I
think can add some quality to the team. That's what it takes."

Stability also has entered Gordon's personal life. The 28-year-old got
married in December.

"She's helped me out tremendously," he said of his wife, Sandi. "She was
not a soccer fan, but now she is. She didn't know how many people were
in it or if it even existed, but now she likes to support me and the
team.

"It's pretty funny when someone who doesn't know the game starts to get
interested, and learning what's offside is pretty funny. It's nice to
see."

The sense of calm that is almost unmistakeable in this year's camp not
only is a welcome change, Gordon said, but long overdue.

"It's awesome," he said. "This is a club that deserves stability. It's
supposed to be one of the top franchises in the league. I think that it
should be a privilege to be here and have somethere where every single
year we are continuing to get better ... not changing the whole deal.

"We have to keep the stability, keep the good people that built up this
club and helped make it great."

Larry Morgan is a contributor to MLSnet.com.