Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Closing the gap
How do you replace a guy who had no goals and no assists?
Well, it's easier said than done.
Here's some of my own speculation:
- Francisco Mendoza saw some time in the center of the midfield during the preseason. He's more creative now than he was three years ago. He has 10 career assists with three goals. If he were to move to the middle, John Cunliffe could move out left. Cunliffe was a left-sided player, a winger he said, when he was growing up but was moved to forward after his freshman season in college. He actually played midfielder against the Galaxy when he came on for Guevara in the 56th minute. But this would create a logjam. You'd still have Jesse Marsch and Sacha Kljestan there plus you'd need a right-sided player. Kljestan and Marsch are central midfielders.
- It seems like you'd need someone creative in the center of the field, but Marsch and Kljestan are fairly locked in there. Mendoza might stay out left and Alex Zotinca could stay out wide right. I like Zotinca. I like what I've seen from him both in games and in training. The guy's a beast. But that creates a hole out right, at right back. Jason Hernandez did not play well back there. He could get that position down but he'd need some work to get there. Possibly move Lawson Vaughn back to right back and then fill a hole at central defense, but short of putting Paulo Nagamura back there, the depth is kinda thin at central defender.
- They'll have to replace his goals, er, his non-existent goals. They probably counted on him to score at least eight goals, what Juan Pablo Garcia had last year. So where do you get eight goals from? Panchito Mendoza, Sacha Kljestan, John Cunliffe. You need Maykel Galindo Laurent Merlin and Matt Taylor to make up for Palencia's output - yes, he only had four goals but he did a lot more than that.