New England Revolution’s Kheli Dube, left, knocks the ball away from the Galaxy’s Leonardo during last Saturday’s MLS encounter that saw Los Angeles field four rookies, including Leonardo (AP Photo).
Galaxy central defender and Rookie of the Year Omar Gonzalez was the club’s only player to see action in all 30 MLS games, while former Maryland teammate and fellow rookie AJ DeLaGarza, also saw significant playing time.
But after that there wasn’t much depth in terms of youth and Coach Bruce Arena was forced to stick with capable, if pedestrian veterans for the most part.
Not this year, as Saturday’s opener showed when Arena played four rookies, including the trio of on-loan Brazilians.
Why the change over last season?
“They’re better,” Arena said.
Point taken, but it makes for a short column.
I go on longer about the subject in today’s column.
The only problem is no-one on the playing or coaching staff can speak Portuguese (midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi could, but he was taken in the expansion draft).
The three receive an English lesson twice-weekly, but curiously those same tutors haven’t taught a handful of Portuguese words to the rest of the team.
Spanish and sign language only goes so far.
“The biggest thing is going to be the communication barrier with the Brazilians,” said Landon Donovan. “Being able to communicate is the most important thing. When you have three guys who don’t speak the language it’s difficult. When that comes I think it will be a lot easier for all of us. They need to learn at least the basic words so we can move forward.”