Before there was David Beckham in the US, there was Cobi Jones, the real deal. He was a lethal combination of talent, charisma, and oomph.
And before MLS decided to anoint Beckham as the saviour of the sport in this country, Jones was already doing more to bring soccer to everyone. A MLS pioneer when the league first started, his entire 11 year career was spent with the LA Galaxy. His blistering pace and eye catching assists are part of MLS folklore along with his undeniable durability.
The big Superclasico against Chivas USA will be the perfect match to win for Cobi Jones to get the Galaxy back on track.
Jones first priority is to stop Galaxy from bleeding goals. It has become an embarrasment of riches for other clubs, who have scored at will even as the Galaxy have themselves kept scoring goals. The Galaxy have lost 7 straight and conceded 40 goals in 19 games.
The Clasico should provide the perfect motivation for the Galaxy players to rouse themselves from their funk. A few points in their favor. Chivas is thin in the attacking department with Sacha Kjlestan and Ante Razov who between the two have scored 9 goals not available for this match. Brad Guzan's brilliant saves which have kept games close has moved to Aston Villa.
But obviously, Jones does recognize there is a certain dysfunctionality about the Galaxy.
"If they don't have passion for this game, they'll never have passion," said Jones. "For me, (the Clasico) was always a battle and a rivalry. I think you'll see that on Thursday and see the guys going out to fight. If you don't have that, you're not going to win any game."
For Jones it is not just managing the talent on the team, he has to find a way to provide the motivation and passion sapped out of the present team.
Today's showdown with Chivas USA at 8PM PT on ESPN2/ Deportes.