If one were to take a peak at the Sagarin Rankings for MLS, you would see that the LA Galaxy are ranking seventh. That corresponds exactly with their position in the full MLS table (Setting the Table), as does most of the Sagarin ranking. The one team ranked significantly lower than their record should have them is Real Salt Lake, and comparing the two clubs is going to fold into my argument as to why the Galaxy needed to make a big move if they plan on winning this year.
What stands out looking top to bottom at the top ten in the Sagarin Rankings is that the Galaxy are the only team without a victory over a team in the top five. The Earthquakes have beaten the Galaxy twice, as have Seattle, and there's one loss a piece to New York, Kansas City, and Houston.
Not that any team has done great against the top five. The best is Houston, with three victories, but what's worrying is that the Galaxy lost all seven against top opponents. The team couldn't even manage a draw.
It doesn't get much better when you stretch it to matches against the top ten. The Galaxy are against worst in this category, with only three victories. Eight loses is second worst, with only DC United performing worse.
This is what folk are referring to when they ask me if the Galaxy's current good form is perhaps a result from not playing quality opponents. The last time the Galaxy defeated a top ten team in the Sagarin rankings was July 8th against the Chicago Fire. The Galaxy won't play a top ten team until October 6th against Real Salt Lake.
The Galaxy will have to go through San Jose and Seattle one more time before the regular season closes, which could define the entire postseason if it doesn't go well. On top of that, the Galaxy will certainly face one of them if not both in the playoffs.
The defense has been light years better since Omar Gonzalez' return and David Junior Lopes' removal. However, Seattle's defense has shown up to the task of stopping the Galaxy offense, and San Jose is capable of lasting in a shootout.
We'll see what Wilhelmsson can provide, but hopefully he's capable of proving another attacking avenue. The Galaxy aren't relying solely on Beckham long balls as they were at some points earlier in the year, but the wings still aren't an area of Galaxy attack without Landon Donovan.
When Donovan's healthy again, it would be great to see LA run with Keane as a striker and Donovan and Wilhelmsson as wingers. It's a shift away from the 4-4-2, but I don't think the Galaxy are going to win a second championship in a row running the exact same offense.
The league has moved on and gotten better. The Galaxy made the earlier moves to shed salary, and have now made the post-deadline move that solidifies their commitment to win this year. All that's left to do, is to win this year.