The Future of the Galaxy's Rising Stars

Young Players need to step up to lead the team next season
by Jamie Pham   |   Monday, December 16, 2013

John Hefti Photography - LA Galaxy, MLS

After losing veteran players like Mike Magee, Edson Buddle, Sean Franklin and Pablo Mastroeni this past year, the Los Angeles Galaxy hope their young players will rise up to the challenge to help the team come 2014. 

The Galaxy will resume their run at the CONCACAF Champion League by playing Club Tijuana in the quarterfinals on March 11, 3 days after the first game of the MLS season.

They will need to field a team that is just as good as the first team to insure they don’t get knocked out of the quarterfinals, something that has happened to them the last 2 years in a row.

Forwards

Jack McBean is young player at 18 years old, and he’s only played in 15 games because he was out for 2 months due to a broken collar bone. He trained with Wolverhamton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers last month, but there are no rumors of selling him or sending him out on loan. One thing to note is that he’s had 5 goals in all CCL competitions. He’s certainly a developing player that could help the Galaxy next year.

Midfielders

Gyasi Zardes and Jose Villarreal have been getting minutes during the 2013 season with Zardes playing in 27 games and scoring 4 goals and Villarreal playing in 23 games and 2 goals. 

Naturally a forward, Zardes fell into the left midfield role once Magee was dealt to the Chicago Fire. It took him a few games to get used to his new role, but he looked better and better as time went on. 

At times, Villarreal looked a bit unsure and shaky during games. but he has been progressing and gaining more confidence. 

The Galaxy will have a new addition next year as they recently signed Baggio Husidic on a free transfer from Hammerby. Husidic’s rights were acquired from LA alongside Pablo Mastroeni from Colorado last summer. Though he hopes to crack the first team, he will be a good backup for both Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas, especially during CONCACAF Champions League play.

Defenders

LA declined their team option on Sean Franklin last week because his current salary of $248,000 a year would have put a dent in their salary cap. With the return of AJ DeLaGarza, he will take over Franklin’s old position at rightback leaving Omar Gonzalez and presumably Leonardo in the centerback positions. 

Greg Cochrane also played in 12 MLS games (9 starts), often replacing veteran leftback Todd Dunivant when he was injured. 
 
Kofi Opare only played in 6 MLS games but he had a major breakout towards the end of season when he took over for the injured Gonzalez or when he was with the US National Team. Opare played and adapted to the first team very well and even scored a header against the Montreal Impact. He has even surpassed Tommy Meyer (who started in the 2012 MLS Cup) as the substitute centerback and will be called upon again once the World Cup comes around next summer. 

Though these young players still have ways to go in learning and honing their skills, this next year will definitely be a big one as they strive to push themselves to the next level. 

NEXT UP: March 8 – Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif. 10:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

Jamie PHAM

Nationality:
USA
College:
Pasadena City College
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Arsenal
Former tour manager turned sports blogger, Jamie spends loads of time reviewing the Los Angeles sports scene and is a big MLS and USMNT supporter.
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