Friday, March 9, 2012

MLS2012: LA Galaxy

David Beckham is contractually obligated to remove his shirt at least six times a match for the LA Galaxy.  That should be all it takes to get you to drop what you're doing and read this preview, but if you need a little more coaxing: LA is also the reigning league champion and best team in MLS, plus they have Landon Donovan, who you might have heard of.

Home Stadium: Home Depot Center - Carson, CA

Donovan Ricketts (GK) - Traded to Montreal
Gregg Berhalter (D) - Retired
Frankie Hejduk (D) - Retired
Jovan Kirovski (M) - Retired

Marcelo Sarvas (M) - Alajuelense
Pat Noonan (M) - Seattle
Kyle Nakazawa (M) - Philadelphia
Edson Buddle (F) - Free Transfer

Player To Watch
When a team boasts the attacking trio of Beckham, Donovan, and Robbie Keane, picking just one can be difficult.  So I went with someone not among that group, Mr. Magee.  He has really come into his own since arriving in LA from New York, and has shown an ability to pick up timely and important goals. Last season's playoff run showed just how clutch Magee can be, as he seemed to be repeatedly in the right time at the right place for LA. That's not a coincidence. He can play up top and in the midfield, and is the perfect example of the quality mid-level talent Bruce Arena has surrounded his stars with that have the Galaxy doing so well.

AC Brigade knows how to sing

A lot of Galaxy fans got priced out of matches when Beckham and company arrived, but success in the past couple years has brought attendance up.  Hardcore supporters, like the LA Riot Squad, have been around long before the big names and will be around long after, and have done their thing regardless (and at times, in spite of) the magnified attention. The Angel City Brigade is another top-level Supporter group that have done a superb job of giving the Home Depot Center an aura of invincibility - in fact, Galaxy didn't lose there at all last season. We think the home support has more than a little to do with that.

LA's roster is excellently constructed, the team plays well together and has great chemistry (and they are some of the best dressed athletes in the league).  Things do not begin and end with Beckham and Donovan, the Galaxy core as a whole is great: Josh Saunders, AJ DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin, Juninho, and Edson Buddle would start on just about any team in the league. Don't forget about reigning Defender of the Year, Omar Gonzalez, and imposing figure in the backline. Arena does an excellent job of mixing seasoned veterans with young players, and when they are playing well the Galaxy are fun to watch.  That said, repeat championships in any sport is always difficult, and MLS is no different.  The added challenge of competing in the knockout stages of Champions League, as well as international call-ups throughout the summer, should make grabbing a consecutive cup that much harder, but if there is any team up to the task its the Galaxy.

Dave Braneck
ONE GOAL Contributor

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