Wilhelmsson, Keane best playmakers for Galaxy on Sunday

Stephen Dunn

Christian Wilhelmsson and Robbie Keane showed great accuracy in the final third and it resulted in many scoring opportunities, two of which resulted in goals.

We showed after the match the Robbie Keane was head an shoulders above the rest of the team in Offensive Impact, much of that owing to the three points Keane earned on three Galaxy goals. Was he the team's best creator? Even when he's taping in goals inside the goal area, Keane still plays like a no. 10 dropping back to get the ball at the half way line and creating chances for others.

First, let's take a look at who was the most accurate passer in the final third amongst Galaxy players with at least 10 passes in that area during the match on Sunday:

Player Successful Passes Unsuccessful Passes Total Completion %
Wilhelmsson 11 0 11 100
Keane 11 1 12 91
Donovan 8 3 11 72
Franklin 8 3 11 72
Magee 10 4 14 71
Beckham 5 11 16 31

The top and bottom of the table might be surprising to some. Keane has a reputation as a playmaker, but Christian Wilhelmsson has been somewhat doubted since coming back from injury. That accuracy rate inside the final third is explained away somewhat by the safety of his passes on the wing, but it still shows he and Keane were the most careful with the ball in attacking situations.

David Beckham being the most inaccurate is also easily explained, as his long crosses and corner kicks are by nature more hopeful than anything. Limiting it to the final third also takes away some of Beckham's more impressive kicks including hitting Landon Donovan on a dead run from across the pitch. Now, how many of these passes led to shot attempts?

Player Passes
Keane 4
Wilhelmsson 3
Donovan 2
Beckham 2
Franklin 2

Those who were most accurate in the final third end up with the most shot attempts created. Franklin getting up the wing resulted in just as many scoring opportunities as David Beckham's crosses. It's worth noting that with Edson Buddle out, Omar Gonzalez was Beckham's best target on free kicks and Seattle did a good job of preventing Gonzalez from getting up head and shoulders over everyone else.

Will the result back Bruce Arena away from a Beckham/Buddle heavy attack? Certainly the air raid strategy works against the bunkered in more quickly than continuing to try and march in on the ground, but the ground strategy for this club results in more goals once the dam is broken. We'll have to see on Sunday, as a fourth Galaxy goal would likely put this series to rest.
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