Heading into the 2015 MLS season—assuming there is one after all of the craziness surrounding the CBA talks—Bruce Arena has a couple of questions he needs answered.
Todd Dunivant had been virtually un-droppable from the lineup before his injury last year, but now that he’s healthy Arena has to figure out how to get him, Robbie Rogers and Dan Gargan all on the field. Against Hammarby, Rogers played left-back with Dunivant at right back, but it’ll be interesting to see where Arena goes for this match with just over two weeks before the season.
Preseason is also a great time for younger players like Bradford Jamieson, Ignacio Maganto, and Oscar Sorto to try and make an impact. With such a deep roster, lots of the younger guys will be fighting to stay with the first team and not be moved to LA Galaxy II in the USL next season. With Jamieson in the U20 World Cup, Maganto already in goal-scoring form, and Sorto off the back of a national team call up, Arena has a lot of good young options to make decisions on for the season.
Another glaring hole for Arena to fix is who is going to replace Marcelo Sarvas in midfield. With Steven Gerrard coming later this season, the LA Galaxy need to find a good partner for Juninho in the middle of the park. It seems as if Baggio Husidic may have locked it down for now, with Ishizaki playing on the outside of the diamond in midfield, but Arena could use this friendly to look at some younger players in the front of the diamond.
But the biggest question that needs answering for the LA Galaxy is who will fill Donovan’s shoes. Of course you can’t replace a god, but it seems like Gyasi Zardes is happy to step up and be an even more important player than he was last year with his league’s 5th best goal tally—not to mention Robbie Keane hasn’t lost a step as he scored last week.
Dublin seems as good a place as any to try out some new formations and lineups, and Bruce Arena will be happy to rotate his squad now to find the perfect combination for the opener against Chicago. It may be just a friendly, but Robbie Keane hates losing, and this is an important game for a lot of fringe guys to make a serious impact.