On the cusp of the first of three LA derby (ahem, El Tráfico) match-ups, both Los Angeles Football Club and LA Galaxy have rested their laurels on their international strikers.
And, in comparing Uruguayan Diego Rossi with Mexican international Giovani dos Santos, there is reason for both clubs to be hopeful of one leading their respective team to a win.
For dos Santos, he brings plenty of MLS and international experience to the Galaxy, which has paid off in recent seasons. In his 76 games with the Galaxy, dos Santos has provided 25 goals and 17 assists – most of which coming in 2016 when he had 13 goals.
Recently, however, dos Santos’ production has fallen off.
Last season he played in just 26 games between the regular season and the U.S. Open Cup in what can only be classified as a disappointing season for the Galaxy. In those 26 games, dos Santos managed just six goals.
His lack of production was not because of injury, but primarily because of inactivity as the Galaxy offense struggled to produce any offense from anyone.
So far this season, dos Santos has played in just 117 minutes of action and sat out the last match-up against Vancouver with a muscle injury. In those first two games, dos Santos has not produced a goal or an assist.
Giovani dos Santos hasn't scored since May 28th 2017.— Chris Tucker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (@ZeroCool138) March 22, 2018
9 months and 22 days.
Or 42 weeks
In fact, recently dos Santos was named the most overrated player in MLS by fellow players in the league.
In ESPN's annual #MLS player poll, the #lagalaxy 's Giovani dos Santos was named the most overrated player, while Ignacio Piatti of #IMFC was selected as the most underrated. https://t.co/GlkfkCwNZP— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 20, 2018
The one thing that dos Santos does bring to the table is his international experience. Before coming to the Galaxy, dos Santos had La Liga experience with Villarreal and FC Barcelona, scoring 22 goals in more than 100 games against the competition of the Spanish first division.
He also has experience in the English Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur as well as international competition playing for the Mexican national team.
On the other side of the coin is Rossi.
The Uruguayan doesn’t have the on-field experience of dos Santos, but his play in the first two games for LAFC shows he has the ability to be a strong force in MLS.
In his first two games in MLS, Rossi has made an immediate impact. He scored the first goal in team history in a 1-0 win at Seattle in LAFC’s inaugural game. He followed that performance with a brace and three assists as LAFC blasted Real Salt Lake 5-1 at Rio Tinto.
Meanwhile, at @LAFC, Diego Rossi is thriving. #LAvLAFC is going to be a good one on Saturday. (TV and streaming details here! https://t.co/tiky9cWhrv) https://t.co/VIgDGxnHio— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 27, 2018
His performance against Real Salt Lake made him only the sixth player in league history to be involved in five goals in a game.
Diego Rossi of @LAFC had 2 goals and 3 assists in his team's 5-1 win vs. Real Salt Lake, just the sixth time in #MLS history a player was involved in 5 goals in a game.— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) March 11, 2018
It happened last 10/23/2008, when Chris Rolfe did it for Chicago. The first four all happened 2001 or earlier
Prior to his signing with LAFC, Rossi was in the Uruguayan Primera Division with CA Penarol where he played in 51 matches over his two seasons. During those two seasons, Rossi managed 13 goals and 11 assists – including four goals in 15 games during the 2017 season.
So, on paper, dos Santos appears to bring experience and an ability to find the back of the net, but his recent play also indicates he may have passed his prime on the pitch.
Rossi, on the other hand, is just 20 years old and seems to have his best years ahead of him which is one of the reasons Bob Bradley and Co. took a chance and made Rossi one of LAFC’s three designated players. Thus far, he has proven to be a good fit with his quick pace, field vision and ability to generate scoring opportunities nearly at will.
You also have to take into account who surrounds these players. For LAFC, you have players like Carlos Vela, Latif Blessing, now Andre Horta and Benny Feilhaber.
For dos Santos, besides the recent signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who may or may not play against LAFC), there is Ola Kamara which is a force to be sure. Chris Pontius and Jonathan dos Santos do provide a nice combination in attack for the Galaxy, but it is yet unproven this season.
In the end, do you take long-term experience over short-term performance? I think you side with current momentum and that leads to Rossi gaining the upper hand in terms of potential attack.
What do you think? Post your comment below!