Bruce Arena’s goal in this preseason is to get his LA Galaxy squad ready for the CONCACAF Champions’ League. Following those lines of reasoning, the LA Galaxy boss was able to schedule a game that got the LA Galaxy some Mexican competition as well as smoozed some sponsors all while on the road in a foreign country. Can you say team building?
The final score means little except to point out that the LA Galaxy trained at a higher altitude in a different environment and got another 45 minutes of playing time under their belt (A different 11 players for each half).
This game did little in the way of answering questions. Bruce’s starting lineups are still a mashup of players trying to earn a spot on the squad and not necessarily holding down a starting XI position.
Based off of Bruce’s opinions after the FC Shirak game, he likes James Riley. He’s been impressed by him in the limited minutes he’s seen. I also think he’s impressed with Friend and Samuel and may find himself in a position of who to start. Remember, Robbie Keane’s exclusion from these scrimmages will come to and end very soon. And that means there are a bunch of guys vying to start next to him.
The defense is going to be a little shaky. Let’s just all agree that not having 4 starters returning is going to make things bumpy. Dunivant is M.I.A and Bruce will still be making a decision on who gets the pairing with Omar Gonzalez. Leonardo seems to have the advantage but Opare isn’t going anywhere.
Do we have any locks at positions? Yes. But there are only a few of them. Penedo in goal is obvious. As is Robbie Keane starting as a striker (if he makes it back from injury in time). And we all know Landon Donovan will be a starter, probably in the midfield. But where at midfield? Right or left? AJ DeLaGarza has the right back position to himself and Omar Gonzalez is your starter in the middle of the defense. But everyone else is very much up for grabs.
So this game doesn’t mean ANYTHING. Except that it probably marks the end of total experimentation. With the LA Galaxy facing off against San Jose next weekend, Bruce will start to push minutes past the halftime mark. Expect to see more than 60 minutes coming from the players Arena feels are his best. And expect to see the subs become subs. That is, expect that a player Bruce has pegged in his mind as a substitute, to come off the bench in the 65th minute and show what he can do with twenty five minutes of time.
See? We learned nothing. But we’re starting to learn something. If you figure out what that something is, please let me know.