Fresh off another loss, Chivas USA are set to take on another test in MLS this week, this time against archrivals LA Galaxy in the second SuperClasico of the season. Sunday's match should find two hungry teams, who are looking for bragging rights and...points, lots of points. These teams tied 1-1 back in March, but times have changed since then, and in order to get a sense of what's going on with the Galaxy, I once again spoke with Josie Becker of SB Nation Galaxy blog LAG Confidential. Josie knows her stuff, and I thank her for taking the time to answer my questions.
You'll find her questions about Chivas and my answers to them here, if you are curious.
The Goat Parade asks LAG Confidential:
1. The Galaxy have been rather inconsistent lately, and sit on the very edge of the playoff places at the moment. With 2012 still fresh in your mind, are you concerned about the team's form lately, or do you think this will pass and the team will start cruising before long?
It's hard to be concerned about midseason form in MLS, especially with 2012 fresh in my mind. For all the guff MLS fans get from purists about the playoff system ruining the sacred garden that is soccer, it's much better than the meaningless month of football we saw in a lot of the European leagues. The consistency hasn't been there, but so long as LA is on the high side of the red line I think they'll be alright.
There's also been a great amount of roster shakeup at midseason, which happens to the lineup every year about this time but it's usually not intersecting with wholesale roster changes. Robbie Rogers hasn't yet found his form, while Mike Magee has continued his hot play in Chicago. Todd Dunivant's injury was ill-timed as Omar Gonzalez also had to miss time. The young forwards have all had to miss some amount of time for various reasons.
Things improved defensively against Portland, and hopefully the goals will return soon.
2. Robbie Keane is back with the team after going on international duty, but between that and injury, he has played in less than half of the Galaxy's games this year. Any worries about his ability to stay on the field enough to make an impact?
There's always concern that a player getting up in age is going to occasionally wake up and the 560 injuries they've had over the years are just going to be too much to go that week. That's something I've learned from being around David Beckham in his last playing years, there was never a time when he wasn't hurting he just occasionally was too injured to go.
In Keane's case, coming back from international breaks has historically meant either a nagging injury or rejuvenation. He didn't take a shot against the Portland Timbers midweek, so certainly that's a bit of a concern. He's always been very selective about pulling the trigger, but he's someone the Galaxy need to score every other time out.
Hat tricks always throw these numbers off, but it's worth noting that despite playing so little in MLS this season, he's got an impressive goal per ninety average. He's in that category with Jack McInerney and Marco Di Vaio of efficient strikers in MLS.
3. Since the last game against Chivas, has there been a player to really break out or move up in the pecking order for the Galaxy?
With Mike Magee leaving on a jet plane for Chicago, Michael Stephens and Hector Jimenez have been jockeying for position as that first midfielder off the bench. However, while Jimenez was pulling ahead (despite being bad at passing and crossing, skills I'd like a midfielder to have) Rafael Garcia has emerged from a dark horse position. He got the start against Portland with Marcelo Sarvas injured, and did well defensively. He played the DCM role most of the match, not involved in the attack as much.
Which has been the issue with the three young midfielders mentioned. They do a fine job centrally in a defensive-minded role, but on the wings they've struggled. Now that the Galaxy have brought in Pablo Mastroeni, it'll be interesting to see how much playing time the three young midfielders are able to squeeze out for themselves.
4. Prediction for this match?
In the words of Moe Syzlak, with regards to Chivas USA "I'm a well wisher, in that I don't wish you any specific harm". Yes there's a rivalry between our clubs, but I always wish Chivas well.
So when I write that I expect the LA Galaxy to win 3-1, it's not coming from a malicious place. Objectively, it just looks like y'all are going through some tough times.
As an LA hippie I wish both sides peace and wellness after Sunday. And happy Summer Solstice!
What do you think? Leave a comment below!