LA Galaxy Hits the Halfway Mark in Stride

The team has been on a roll the last two months and hopes it would translate to a fifth MLS Cup
by Jamie Pham   |   Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

It’s midway through the 2014 MLS season and the LA Galaxy are sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference. After trying to find their rhythm and a lineup that worked for the team, they are 7 points behind leaders Seattle Sounders with 1 game in hand and 5 points behind Real Salt Lake with 3 games in hand. 

As a matter of fact, they have at least 2-3 games in hand on most of the teams in the Western Conference due to their run in the CONCACAF Champions League and weird 3 game schedule in April. 

The team has gone 5-3-1 in June and July while beating rivals Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders, and the Portland Timbers. Their only loss came to reigning MLS Cup Champions, Sporting Kansas City.

After their win against the Timbers, Bruce Arena boasted the team’s best defensive record (0.89 goals/game) and their 2nd best offensive mark (1.68 goals/game). 

He gave the team a “B-plus” assessment for the 1st half of the season.

One of the things that attributed to their hot streak is their move back to the 4-4-2 formation and away from the “diamond” Arena was experimenting with throughout the first part of the season. 

MLS Analyst, Matthew Doyle, stated this formation works best for the team because they are able to spread the field thus stretching out the opponent’s defense. 

"We've gone back to a formation that works best for everyone,” Robbie Keane said after the Timbers’ game. 

This has also led to the Galaxy scoring more goals with Gyasi Zardes finding his groove in the last few games. Keane and Zardes scored 5 goals each in 6 games in July.

“I think we’re playing well on both sides of the ball,” Arena said. “Defensively we’ve been air-tight. In the attack we’re finally converting the opportunities we’ve created, so we’re starting to score goals. 

“You look back over the last four games, we had five (goals) against New England, one against Kansas City, three against Seattle and three against Portland. That’s good production.”

Another thing that was crucial is the center back pairing of AJ DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez. In 49 games that they’ve have played alongside each other, they have been 29-8-13. 

Losing Todd Dunivant and James Riley to injury earlier in the season forced DeLaGarza to cover their roles at fullback. Recently, Arena shifted winger Robbie Rogers to left back allowing DeLaGarza to return to his natural position at center back.

The conversion of Rogers to left back has been instrumental to their offense as well because it allows for Rogers to run down the flank and use his pace to expose his opponents. Rogers has had 2 assists so far in 6 games he’s started at left back.

The 2nd half of the season starts tonight against their California rivals, the San Jose Earthquakes and the Galaxy looks to keep their winning ways going and maybe earn another MLS cup for club and country legend, Landon Donovan.

 

NEXT UP: August 7 — LA Galaxy v San Jose Earthquakes, Stub Hub Center, Carson, California. 10:30 p.m. EST, TWCSN and NBCSN.

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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