Tuesday’s Column: Galactic Questions

Well, I’m still trying to figure this team out.

Frankly, whether we’ll know much more after this weekend – the Galaxy play on the road against a terrible Dallas team – as the season reaches its one-third mark is unclear, too.

What do you folks think? Is this team as bad as many suspect? Or are there signs of improvement? Chime in.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • http://www.shirtees.net Shirtees.net

    Wins v. Losses, our team is actually worse than it was at this point last year. Not by much and last year we had David Beckham too. I feel the real difference here is we have a solid goalkeeper now. Our team might be slightly on the older side of life, but the players are fighting harder and not giving up so easily. There is hope at least, whereas last year everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. If we had Buddle in the lineup we would score some more goals and if we get that T&T guy, plus Beckham I think we will make the playoffs and that’s a step up from last season. The fact is… this is a new year and we are only a couple wins outside of second place. It looks like a crowded middle pack of the conference… which mean a big battle for playoff spots… I feel we can pull it out. Never been a big fan of Bruce, but at least he is successful at pinpointing our deficiencies and trying to make trades and adjustments accordingly. Step by step we will get decent again.

  • The Wolf

    Interesting column Nick. Although I agree with many of the points you highlight, I think there’s a bright side to the dullness that is being displayed on the field.
    Bruce Arena’s approach somewhat reminds me of Roy Hodgson’s approach when he took over at Fulham. Hodgson started with upgrading the Fulham backline by adding some size and grit. He followed that by adding a reliable GK and a couple of key midfield additions. Now Hodgson’s “safe” approach of winning through not conceding has payed dividends.
    I really think the Galaxy are a couple of midfield additions away from being a fairly formidable team. The resources are very limited for a coach in MLS and although the pace of this particular rebuild is slow, I think it is on the right track.
    Not conceding goals is a foundation from which to build upon…

  • DANIEL

    Well Nick, I’m not sure how to feel or what I think of this Galaxy team?

    I mean this time last year we were the leading MLS in scoring…but on the same token we were the worst in giving up goals!

    Now there is this year! I believe the Galaxy has only scored 10 or 11 goals! I believe if Buddle can get healthy again the Galaxy can start scoring goals again. Landon can’t do it by himself!

    So I guess to answer your question: the Galaxy I believe is a more solid team than last year in the back! But believe it or not and I hate to say it the Galaxy need a player like David Beckham on the right side! NO ONE in the midfield is giving Gordon or Jordon or who ever is up front good quality balls!

    I just hope the Galaxy can put some wins together soon because it is killing me that Chivas is the leader in the West! But at least they pay their “rent” on time! =D

    Daniel

  • Studs Up

    This team reminds me a lot of the USMNT for obvious reasons. It’s basically an all-American team, probably has the least number of foreign born players and starters than most other teams. It plays with a lot of heart and hustle but does not have enough quality (fantasy) to dominate games and play attractive soccer. It plays with a scripted soccer meant to change the mentality of a very vunerable team.

    Their veteran players know what it means to play for the shirt and they will not let this team sink. If LA can stay in the middle of the table it can catapault to the playoffs when Beckham comes back. The quality that he or another much-needed high caliber midfielder can bring to this well entrenched blue-collar team should spur them on to victories. My only fear now is can they hang in the middle of the table with various national team call ups looming in the horizon. A victory against Dallas could be huge this Saturday.

  • Inigo Montoya

    For me, it’s all about the midfield right now, and especially on possession. This team doesn’t (can’t?) consistently possess the ball through from back to front, so they don’t threaten during the normal run of play. If you look back at their 11 goals, the Galaxy mostly score when the game breaks down into MLS chaos.

    Some of the problem is individual player quality: we seem to lack consistent skills, patience, imagination or ambition. It was revealing to hear Arena sounding like an AYSO coach on Sunday, yelling “Ball to feet! Ball to feet!” Quality players do not need to be told this.

    A lot of it is teamwork: moving forward in organized ways, connecting through to players up top with short passes rather than hopeful long-balls. Well-coached and disciplined teams can do this even without individual stars. Adding Beckham might help a bit because midfield attacking teamwork is his great value, but he’s only one guy.

    At this point, I doubt the individual quality issues can be helped. But the teamwork is entirely Arena’s responsibility. He’s coached the back line into far greater effectiveness than last year. Now he needs to turn his attention to the midfield.

    I keep watching for it, but I won’t hold my breath.

  • nathanhj

    Nick,

    Thought your column was a great read and raised a lot of points worth pondering.

    My analysis is similar in many ways to yours and to the posters here. The defense is loads better than it was last year, starting in back and going up to the d-mids. Dreaful d-mid play was a key reason the backline wasn’t successful last year, and they weren’t helped much by the goalkeeping situation.

    Cutting goals allowed in half is a big achievement in any league and the G’s are now in the top third of teams in defense.

    What’s missing now is offensive spark. A guy like Miglioranzi can win the heck out of a ball and break up a few attacks, but he’s a poor distributor of the ball and adds precisely nothing to the attack. Tudela, whom I love for no good reason, isn’t any better there. Kovalenko does have a bit of offense in him, but his strenght is ball-winning and harring the heck out of the opposition. He is a better passer than Migs, but he’s no Shalrie Josephy.

    The G’s need a true midfield creator to link with the flank players and the forwards. Failing that they need a Joseph/Brian Carroll/Osvaldo Alonso/Klye Beckerman type player (yeah, that’s like 4 different flavors of that player, but you get my meaning) who can make the killer pass, even if they can’t make something from nothing.

    Overall, the team is better this year than last, no question in my mind. But it is inches away from a string of horrible defeats due to its lack of firepower. Last year’s San Jose Earthquakes come to mind. Great defense with no offense = lots of frustrating losses. Can Magee or Jordon step up? Will Buddle ever get healthy? Will Becks actually help the team rather than upset the chemistry? Is a guy like Birchall the answer to any of these questions?

    Unless the scoring starts happening, the G’s are going to lost what they are now tying and staying mid-table and fighting for the last playoff spot will be nothing but an opium-fueled fever-dream.

  • Jane

    The midfield seems to be the biggest problem now. I agree with nathanhj…the Galaxy need someone who send accurate passes to the forwards. Also, Bruce needs to have Alan Gordon work on receiving the ball! It’s embarassing for a pro to look THAT BAD when the ball is coming to him. As for Bruce’s pass to feet instructions, I also thought that it was not something a professional coach should be saying to his team…EVER. I really hope that Bruce can save the team but they do not look very good. Maybe marginally improved from last year. Landon needs to play up top and the team needs to get him the ball. Bruce should be looking for mids and forwards. Buddle…get well now!!