SBI MLS Team Previews: Los Angeles Galaxy

Los Angeles Galaxy - JPEG

By ADAM SERRANO

At this time last year, the Galaxy were a patchwork group, hoping to build off a last-place finish, but in 2010, the Galaxy head into the season with much the same lineup that came within one penalty kick of winning the MLS Cup.

Much like last season, Midfielder David Beckham won't be around for the first half of the year, but the Achilles injury suffered during his loan with AC Milan could wind up forcing him to miss much of the regular season. 

Head coach Bruce Arena has brought in a trio of Brazilians on loan from Sao Paulo who look to add to the creative balance of the club.

Defense will once again be the strength of the Galaxy as Rookie of the Year Omar Gonzalez enters year two of his maturation process with defensive partner veteran Gregg Berhalter. While up front it will be up to Landon Donovan to help the Galaxy attack get off to a better start than in 2009.

Here's a look at the 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy:

2010 LOS ANGELES GALAXY

Players to Watch- Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Omar Gonzalez, Sean

Key Arrivals- Mike Stephens, Juninho, Leonardo, Alex Cazumba, Clint Mathis

Key Departures- Stefani Miglioranzi

Projected Lineup (New starters in bold)

——————–Mike Magee—————Edson Buddle——————–

Eddie Lewis———————-Juninho——————–Landon Donovan

———————————Dema Kovalenko———————————-

Todd Dunivant—-Gregg Berhalter——–Omar Gonzalez——Sean Franklin

——————————–Donovan Ricketts———————-——–

Biggest Question-  Will the club's Brazilians adapt to MLS?

The biggest question around Home Depot Center has not been the return of Landon Donovan, but whether or not the club's three loanees from Sao Paulo will be successful. Each has competed with established players for a spot in the starting line up during their stint with the club.

The attacking midfielder Juninho has been the most impressive, linking up with the attack with superior passing ability and providing the creative spark that should make him an opening day starter. In addition, Leonardo and Alex Cazumba remain solid opitions in the back line. However, for all the praise, many on the club remain weary about language barrier that still exists between the three players and the rest of the team.

X-Factor- Edson Buddle. If the Galaxy are to return to MLS Cup in 2010, the key will be if someone can share the scoring burden with captain Landon Donovan. Much of that will fall to the shoulders of 28 year old Buddle who scored 15 goals in 2008, but only five in 2009.

Often accused as disinterested by his critics, Buddle needs a season to warrant his inclusion in this roster. Should the striker fail to succeed, the Galaxy may need their youngsters Tristen Bowen and Bryan Jordan to add to the attack.

Outlook- The club retains its solid defensive core backstopped by Jamaican Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts who along with his front four will keep the Galaxy competitive in every game.

What will determine whether not the team can get back to the championship will be the club's ability to put the ball in the back of the net. Bruce Arena's club will need support for Landon Donovan in the attacking third, look for this support to come from a host of characters from rookie Michael Stephens to veteran Clint Mathis, if the Galaxy can get the support, the club will be a serious threat for a championship.

If the club is unable to come up with support in attack, the Galaxy of 2010 may start the season much like last year, as a club that earns the single point instead of the full three. In addition, a congested schedule that includes three competitions could pull the Galaxy into a dogfight for playoff positions.

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31 Responses to SBI MLS Team Previews: Los Angeles Galaxy

  1. boom chica slap me says:

    can somebody please explain to me how you ask a question to ives for the monthly question answering thing? I dont know how to.

  2. Jerome says:

    I know Donovan plays on the wing for the U.S and Everton, but I think he can be destroying MLS defenses playing up top. Edson Buddle seems like a good holding forward for donovan to making runs off of, and magee,birchall, or Stephens or even one of the brazilians could step up on the wing.

  3. Dinho says:

    Berhalter scares me (not in a good way), and this is coming from a Galaxy fan.

    I fear that he will be the cause of too many “soft” goals…let’s hope I’m wrong.

  4. kptx says:

    He’ll do a post once a month asking for submissions. Then you just type your question into the comments section.

  5. BadWolf says:

    You have to believe that LAG will be in the hunt at the end of the season….big question is the schedule. I like the idea of LD and Clint Mathis….might produce some really great scoring.

  6. Reid says:

    keep a look out for the monthly question asking session…. then proceed.

    Be quick about it though, usually about the first 100 comments are allowed in.

  7. buzz says:

    wary not weary

  8. BCC says:

    Yeah, and try to avoid using passive voice. Sorry — one of my pet peeves.

  9. einar says:

    junihno is fun to watch and berhalter i see him getting tired after the first half of the season and than Leonardo will take his place. p.s. alex cazumba is better than de la garza right now.

  10. Kaiser says:

    I understand your concern…he is slow and will often foul after he gets beat. However his leadership has proven incredibly valuable especially in helping the youngsters develop. (doubled edged sword)

    Two reasons not to worry too much, though…

    1. Donovan Ricketts (makes many mistakes go away)

    2. More depth with the Barazilians and a healthy A.J. Berhalter shouldn’t have to play as much or such a vital role as he did last year.

  11. scott47a says:

    Outsider’s take: Il Bruce knows how to coach soccer so that his teams at least have a chance to win, which is why I think LA is up with Seattle and Houston as likely West winners and MLS Cup contenders.

    That said, I don’t see how anyone thinks a team with Buddle and Magee as forwards is great. There have to be better options.

    Plus some of these guys are nearly as old as I am. And I’m old. Berhalter, Lewis, Mathis, Kovalenko, Chris Klein, Jovan Kirovski, Beckham — all one run the field away from the injured list.

  12. Dinho says:

    Agreed on the leadership role, but that leadership can remain in practice and maybe they can find another solid option to partner OG.

    And, I presume you meant AJ DeLaGarza, not Berhalter.

  13. BetaMale says:

    The concern as an LA fan is how the Galaxy perform while LD is away with the US team. Will this team struggle to find the ball in the back of the net or does someone like Michael Stephens come in to fill his shoes?

    By all means they’ll be plenty strong this year, and even a poor middle season stretch can be overcome with MLS’ playoff system.

  14. Sean M says:

    as an LA fan I’d like to see a deal worked out to get us a good foward that can score goals,make a trade and sell Dunivant (very underated)and a draft pick for a foward.De La Garza is good enough for me to start at LB.I wouldn’t mind seeing the Christmass tree formation either.

    ————————-Ricketts—————-

    –Franklin———Gonzalez—-Berhalter—–Dunivant

    ————Stephens—–Birchall—–Kovalenko

    —————-Donovan————Juninho\Mathis—

    ———————-Buddle——————

  15. BlueWhiteLioin says:

    it would help if you could be more pacific.

  16. Pobrecito says:

    Eddie Lewis should be retired by now…He is way too slow for MLS. Magee and Buddle are too inconsistent to be top tier strikers.

    They need to use some of that loan money and bring in a goal scorer so they can move Donovan to the midfield without Becks in there.

    Also De La Garza over Dunivant anyday.

  17. Rekro says:

    Idk if Stephens has what it takes to be a starter just yet, but I do think he has the potential to be a great player for us, he’s been very impressive this preseason. As for the selling of Dunivant, I don’t think we can afford to give him up right now, AJ plays better on the left than on the right, and Cazumba played well yesterday against Aguila, but I don’t know if he could step into the starting role right away. Plus with Champions League this year, we need all the depth we can get.

  18. Rekro says:

    *My bad,Aj plays better on the right, next to Omar.

  19. FulhamPete says:

    Are you sure you don’t mean woolly? Women, they DO get woolly…

  20. madmax says:

    Do Buddle and Gordon still play for Galaxy?

  21. stumann says:

    The real question is which Buddle is going to show up, the 15 goal Buddle or the 5 goal Buddle. I’ll be hoping that it’s 15 but expecting 5.

  22. bkmelendez says:

    No, the real question is why Jovan Kirovski was not offloaded to Hollywood United when we had a chance to work something out with them.

  23. Joshstpaul says:

    They really need to use andrew shue in midfield IMHO.

  24. Charles says:

    Beckham is zero runs away from the injured list. LA will be lucky to see him this year.

    I am young enough to remember being that old and injured.

  25. Lil' Zeke says:

    Commas are a two-way street Dinho. Please insert them mentally when necessary: “with…a healthy A.J. , Berhalter shouldn’t have to”

  26. Lil' Zeke says:

    Underrated players get you the least bang for your trade buck. Besides, Dunivant is one of the last veterans of the old Donovan-Dunivant-Dunseth-Dunsheath days.

  27. DC Josh says:

    How many Brazilians are named Juninho and Leonardo? Can’t we get a last name!?

    I can’t wait to see what Landon does. He will either be totally disinterested, or ride his confidence into the World Cup. I think it will be the latter and I pray he doesn’t get hurt in a dirty tackle.

    Overall, LA looks scary. How funny is it the absence of Beckham means nothing to this team’s potential?

  28. shelbo says:

    The lack of speed on the left side is a little scary.
    Lewis, Dunivent, and Berhalter? Yikes.
    Then the right side is scary fast with Donovan, and Franklin/AJ. Omar’s a young guy with decent wheels too.

  29. Rick says:

    Berhalter was so slow last season. I can’t imagine he will be any faster this season as he is now a year older.

  30. Beerholder says:

    Eddie Lewis was done 2 seasons ago…ugggh

  31. Mr. Moran says:

    Last night I saw on at least occasion our back line defensive Brazilian(both Brazilians identified by their yellow shoes) overlap all the way to the oppositions goal. I like it!