With our great set pieces and defense, do we even need an all-star striker on the Galaxy?
The lack of a formidable striker on the LA Galaxy has been a major topic this season and has been addressed multiple times here on LAG Confidential. A curious observation is that it seems the top three teams in MLS right now are lacking a key player at the top. Along with the Galaxy, FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders have been gaining wins and points based off of plays not committed by their strikers, with perhaps the exception of Brek Shea .
Obviously these teams are doing something right as they are at the top of the league. However, when I speak with fans of the USMNT, a complaint I often hear is that our men's national team is lacking a key striker. Is there a correlation here between the best of the MLS and the USMNT? Are youth programs not creating strikers and they are focusing on other components of the game? Perhaps coaches in the U.S. are not use to building teams around a striker because that is not the style of play fostered here in the U.S. We seem to produce great play makers, but maybe we need to focus a little more on "play finishers." The excuse "Our best players go abroad to play soccer" cannot be used in this argument because if our best strikers were abroad, they would still play on the USMNT.
With the new era of US soccer just beginning, perhaps Klinsmann will shine some light on this issue. He rebuilt the German national team with young players, and we can hope he will do the same for the USMNT. Perhaps some of these new players will play for MLS rather than abroad and fill the gap our teams are clearly lacking. We already witnessed an example the impact of youth in the U.S. verses Mexico friendly on Wednesday and we can only hope this is an example of what we will see in the future from our USMNT.
Bringing the discussion back to the Galaxy and thinking ahead to next season, should Bruce Arena focus on finding some new and young strikers? If so, where should he look? Obviously the Juan Pablo Angel experiment is not working as well as anyone would have liked. I keep trying to be optimistic and hope something will click for him, but my faith is disappearing with every game he doesn't produce. And while Adam Cristman seems to be turning things around this second half of the season, I don't think he should be our go-to guy as a striker. The same goes for Mike Magee. Should Arena try to find a solid striker to replace the elders, or should he focus on the stronger aspects of the Galaxy and fine-tune them in the off-season? If the Galaxy continue to do well this season and into the post-season, I don't think the Galaxy should change anything, unless some key players leave the team and affect the entire structure. If set-pieces and a strong defense take us all the way to the MLS Cup, then why fix something that clearly isn't broken.