Monday, April 18, 2011

Galaxy's Big Loss

The Galaxy got some horribly devastating news on Sunday. At the tail end of their match at Chicago, Leonardo suffered a knee injury that at first looked like it could be bad.

After the match, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena revealed just how bad it was.

"I don’t think Leonardo is going to do well. I think he has an injury that will put him out for the rest of the year," Arena said.

Not exactly the best news of the day. Now, the game went well for the Galaxy. Winning 2-1 on the road without Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Juan Pablo Angel and Juninho was clutch (Angel didn't start but came off the bench; the other three were not available for the game).

Leonardo, though, is a huge blow and it was a stiff price to pay for the win. Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez gave the Galaxy a strong pairing in central defense. While it isn't their strongest central D pairing - that distinction falls to Gonzalez-Gregg Berhalter - it still was one that helped give the Galaxy one of the best defenses in the league.

Without Leonardo, the Galaxy will turn to AJ De La Garza. This may not be a bad replacement for Leonardo. De La Garza and Gonzalez know each other very well; De La Garza has also performed well at center back when given the opportunity. Of course, De La Garza was a player Arena could put in at right back, left back or perhaps even on the flanks in the midfield to spell the club there, but now De La Garza's role is more stable.

What the Galaxy will miss, though, is Leonardo's size and physical presence. While not as towering as Gonzalez, Leonardo still gave the Galaxy some size in the back. And the Brazilian's decision-making abilities were improving from last season. Having had one year under his belt to not only play in MLS but to get used to living in the United States, Leonardo was well on his way to becoming a solid if not a standout defender in MLS.

That's shelved for now as the Gonzalez-De La Garza pairing will anchor the Galaxy through the rest of the season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blue text, LB!