LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle has become a bit of an escape goat this year for money being wasted, but he had the biggest impact on the Galaxy's 2-2 draw against San Jose. Buddle scored the second goal in the match, and had a key pass on the first or a Match Impact Rating of 58.6.
The other goal scorer, Robbie Keane, was right behind Buddle with an MIR of 55.5. Keane had a similar statistical impact to Buddle, with a goal and two fouls won. However, Buddle was 50/50 on his shot attempts and Robbie Keane was 1/5. Still, it's no surprise that much of the team felt they left points on the pitch.
"I think we left two points on the pitch to be honest with you," said vice-captain Robbie Keane. "We can't be conceding goals from set pieces, but apart from that, I think you need to give our guys credit. We played tough against 12 men and that includes the referee, so it was quite tough. We weren't getting decisions that we thought we should have and that we've been getting all year so it was tough but we played through. "
LA gave up both goals off set pieces, one on a foul that was a clear dive on replay. With the Galaxy getting both goals from the run of play, it's easy to see how the players could feel they were the better team on the day and the ref was against them. On the other end, not getting calls drove Edson Buddle to handbags on multiple occasions.
However, the numbers suggest LA missed Landon Donovan and David Beckham more than they'll let on. While the team moved much more quickly without Beckham on the pitch, there's a more than 25 point gap between the two forwards and their midfield teammates in Match Impact.
Christian Wilhelmsson finished at 21.9 and Marcelo Sarvas finished at 19.75. Wilhelmsson was 0/1 in attempts on goal and each midfielder earned two fouls each. Looking at the Opta Chalkboard, there were only two key passes between them. When your top two midfielders only have two passes that lead to shot attempts, that's not good.
Sean Franklin had the only assist on the day, sending in the cross that Buddle headed in. Buddle sent in the pass that Keane ultimately knocked in. Juninho had a corner that led to an attempt and a ball launched from about the midway line, then went 0/4 all off target on shots from an MIR of 9. Mike Magee didn't factor, finishing with Match Impact of 0.
"Whatever happens, happens," said manager Bruce Arena. "I think we can beat anybody in the league."
The other way to look at last night's match is the Galaxy were able to get a result against San Jose for the first time all year without David Beckham or Landon Donovan on the road. The counter-argument is for the first time SJ weren't able to bring super-sub Alan Gordon on to Berserker his way to a match winner.
Both arguments have merit. The Galaxy will get better midfield play when Beckham is in there getting people in the right position, and they have the option of dropping Donovan back. Wilhelmsson gave the Galaxy a presence on the right flank, but Magee gave LA no presence on the left.
Of course, Match Impact only helps us analyze the offense. Yet, going after the defense over this draw is a mistake. San Jose have gotten goals against every team thrown at them, at a greater clip than any other team in the league. This one is on the midfield, and yes perhaps a bit on the ref.
Match Impact Rating is graciously given to LAG Confidential by Patrick Johnston.