With the final preseason game under their belt, CoG takes a look at which Galaxy players impressed and who needs to raise their game ahead of the season opener.
CARSON, Calif. — 12,783 people were in attendance at Dignity Health Sports Park as the LA Galaxy played their final preseason match in the buildup to their 25th Major League Soccer regular season.
Prior to kickoff, weather stoppages during the Colorado-Toronto match resulted in the first part of the preseason double-header eventually being canceled upon mutual agreement between both clubs.
This resulted in a delayed game schedule that saw both the Galaxy and Fire struggle in the first half. In the second half, both teams found their footing, and the back of the net, resulting in a 1-1 draw to close out preseason play.
Below we will grade some of the key players’ performance from the preseason finale:
TOP OF THE CLASS
Sacha Kljestan was signed in the offseason and many felt that this was to fill the roster with depth and experience.
During the preseason, Kljestan has shown himself to be more than that. In the final tune-up before the season opener, Guillermo Barros Schelotto selected him to be a part of the starting lineup in favor of other central midfield options.
His hard work throughout the entirety of the game paid off as he scored the Galaxy’s only goal of the match (see our article about Kljestan from Larry Morgan)
The goal was indicative of his perseverance as he stayed alert after having his first shot blocked and then slotting it home after Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez got a foot on the ball to redirect it into Kljestan’s path.
A good showing from Kljestan who mentioned in the postgame press conference that he looks to play as many games as possible and to help lead this team to a championship.
Cristian Pavon once again put in a solid performance this preseason showing off his talent and skill throughout the match.
He showed his ability to be dangerous in multiple areas of the field switching sides with Aleksander Katai in addition to shifting to the central attacking midfield role in place of Sebastian Lletget at times.
I hope to see Pavon continue to fire on all cylinders for the majority of the season.
Emiliano Insúa made his official debut in front of the crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park during this match.
Insúa showed why he has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world as his play showed that he will be a solid addition to the defense this season.
Schelotto spoke highly of him in the post-game press conference and referenced preaching a defense-first approach.
While Schelotto may have stated that he wanted Insúa to focus on defense, where he shined was in his ability to get forward and provide service into the box.
Insúa does very well to move up the field, but his work in the high press could lead to the wings being exposed defensively, which has been an issue for the Galaxy in past seasons.
After returning midweek from a trip to Italy to receive his green card, Rolf Feltscher looked very comfortable to be back in his starting role at right-back.
Feltscher looks to have added some skills to his toolkit as well. He impressed with his ability to connect passes and provide service on the wing.
He compliments Insúa very well on the opposite side of the defense as they bring a similar ability to involve themselves in the offense.
As mentioned with Insúa, the concern is leaving the center backs alone to defend on the counter if the offense is unable to capitalize on their chances.
David Bingham continues to do a serviceable job as the number one choice goalkeeper for the Galaxy.
Bingham made 6 saves on the night and had moments where he kept the Galaxy in the game.
It looks like once again, Bingham will be under fire quite a bit if the Galaxy cannot get a hold defensively.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was brought into the club with much pomp and circumstance, but at the end of the day he was brought in to score goals and he has failed to do so during the preseason campaign (if you don’t count the goal GBS confirmed he scored against Vancouver in the Galaxy’s first preseason scrimmage).
I don’t think there is any need to panic as it is only preseason, but it is difficult to give high marks to a goal scorer who hasn’t scored any goals.
Hernandez also showed a little bit of frustration toward the end of the match as he was pulled down in the box denying him a clear opportunity to score or at the very least have a chance from the penalty spot.
Frustration can be a good thing because Hernandez definitely does not lack the desire or effort when he is on the field. He stayed on the field for the complete game looking to officially begin his tally with the club.
When the goals come, they may need to come in bunches for Chicharito.
Giancarlo “Pipo” Gonzalez continues to be a weak link in the backline. It is difficult to put all of the blame of the defensive woes on Gonzalez as the outside backs move forward so often that the central defenders are left exposed.
Gonzalez will need to improve his play if he wants to solidify his starting spot as he has been outshined two weeks in a row by former LA Galaxy II standout Nick Depuy.
With rumors of Alan Franco, a 23-year-old Argentine center back looking to make his way to Los Angeles, Pipo’s time may be limited this season if he does not show improvement.