Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Galaxy Defensive Woes

In 2011, the LA Galaxy were an impenetrable wall. The club gave up just 28 goals in 34 regular-season games, one of the few clubs in league history to yield less than 30 goals in one season.

This year, the Galaxy are about as impenetrable as a screen door. They've already allowed seven goals in three regular-season home games and add the four that Toronto FC dropped on them in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series and that figure goes up to 11 goals in five games.

It took the Galaxy 12 games to give up 11 goals in 2011.

Clearly there is something amiss. Now, the easy and seemingly obvious answer is Omar Gonzalez. Because of Gonzalez, the Galaxy have gone from a legendary MLS defense to a porous one. While Gonzalez's absence certainly is being felt, simply pointing to Gonzalez as the reason for the club's defensive demise is overlooking the major problem.

Nobody is defending. Look at any of the Galaxy's goals in their 3-1 loss to New England and you can point to player after player who was not marking. AJ De La Garza even said as much afterward.

"Kelyn Rowe is 5-7 and he’s getting behind our backline on a cross and the second one, their left back is scoring a goal inside our box, that’s unacceptable. On the third one, obviously, it’s a cross and coming in and not marking or someone getting a head on it."

The same lack of marking has been there in other games, notably the series-clincher for Toronto on March 14, when Ryan Johnson had too much space outside the box and laid it off for Nick Soolsma, who buried the ball into the back of the net to kill the Galaxy's CCL hopes.

The problem isn't just in defense. Marcelo Sarvas gave up on a couple of plays Saturday while Juninho has not been himself either. Obviously Landon Donovan did not play but those around him did not pick up the slack.

Point at Gonzalez as the Galaxy's reason for its ills but you'll be pointing at the wrong issue. There is nothing the team can do about Gonzalez now. He is rehabilitating his injury and wants to get back on the field as soon as possible, but look at what is on the Galaxy's roster now, what Bruce Arena has to work with.

Right now, he has a team who is out of form, lacking confidence and not marking well. That's a bad combination.

1 comment:

East River said...

So LB, What should Arena do? What are is options? Should he take the blame for not being deep enough?