CARSON, CA - JULY 04: Chad Barrett #11 of of the Los Angeles Galaxy tries for a shot on gaol against John Kennedy Hurtado #34 of Seattle Sounders FC in the second half during their MLS match at The Home Depot Center on July 4, 2011 in Carson, California. Sounders FC and the Galaxy played to a 0-0 draw. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
First place in MLS is not a bad place to be. With the first half of the season behind us, the Galaxy have only two losses and are essentially guaranteed to be in the playoffs. In the beginning of the season it felt as though the Galaxy's prominence was attributed to the fact that they played more games than other teams. But as other teams have played more matches and the Galaxy have consistently stayed on top, it has became clear that the Galaxy are still a force to be reckoned with in this league (as they have been the past two seasons).
Right now, the Galaxy are holding on to a 11 game undefeated streak. While this is an impressive streak, one key fact stands out- the Galaxy appear to be in a scoring drought.
In the past 11 games, six were ties (three were scoreless draws) and of the five wins, only two had more than 1 goal scored. In the last five games, a different player scored each of the five goals. One may argue that the loss of Landon Donovan during the Gold Cup contributed to the lack of an offensive attack, which is certainly an explanation for the lack of scoring, but it seems the Galaxy have a larger issue at hand. All season the Galaxy have depended on a variety of players to score goals, with the exception of Donovan; and while a deep bench with talented players who have the capability to score every once in awhile is a nice quality, the Galaxy are in need of consistency at this point in the season if they want to hold onto first place. It is nice that we can rely on David Beckham's set pieces for goals, but should he stay injured we cannot count on those beauties as our main opportunity to score. and Real Salt Lake are hot on our heels with more games remaining than we do.
One area the Galaxy have been weak all season is up at the top. Ever since the departure of Edson Buddle last season, our attack has been lacking a certain danger or flair. Let's look at our starting strikers for some comparison. Last season, Juan Pablo Angel had a total of 98 shots on goal; he has 13 thus far this season. He has scored 3 goals for the Galaxy so far; he scored 13 last season for the Red Bulls. Chad Barrett has had 13 shots on goal so far this season compared to a total of 16 last season. He scored seven goals last season and four so far this season.
What do these stats show? Barrett's stats are pretty consistent, but Angel's are disheartening. Has Angel not adjusted to LA yet? Is it age? Or is he not getting the service he needs to score the goals I think we all know he still has in him.
These are issues the Galaxy need to address soon. We have been able to stay in first place for most of the season with our offensive performing as is, but now we are halfway through the season and other teams are hitting their stride and catching up with us in points. It's clear we need our Galaxy to step up and attack more; settling for draws will not keep first place. It is an interesting time for the Galaxy right now since our wonderful defense is plagued with injuries and Donovan is back from the Gold Cup. I am not quite sure what the root of the problem is or what the solution is, and am very curious to hear others' opinions on this issue.
PS: Buddle...are you busy this summer?