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The LA Galaxy have started to extend starters this offseason, and with a handful of preseason matches to go look to get players match fit for the season opener on March 3rd.
Ahead of the LA Galaxy's scrimmage with Club Tijuana, I've updated the unofficial depth chart. The opening day lineup looks as close to set as you can get. It's likely Keane doesn't start tomorrow as he's just returning to Galaxy camp, but otherwise I think we'll see Galaxy the Galaxy trot out the rest of the opening day lineup for fans to see tomorrow.
I've removed duplicates, players are locked into center and outside slots. Of course this doesn't mean that's the only place a player can play, but it shows where they've played recently. It also means we can do a cursory headcount and note that there are 30 players on this list. Not all of them have contracts, and Arriola has signed a letter of intent with UCLA. All four draft picks and one trialist have gotten playing this this offseason, so it'll be interesting to see who are offered contracts at the end. Places with legitimate battles are marked with brackets.
No change here, as there isn't a competition at the goalkeeper position this offseason if we're being honest. Looks like Josh Saunders might be getting on at Real Salt Lake, Donovan Ricketts is now with Portland, and Brian Perk is left and finds himself stuck behind an imported veteran goalkeeper. In the scrimmage Cudicini sat out last week, Perk started and Rowe was the second half guy cementing their roles as #2 and #3.
Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza finally started together at center back in this last scrimmage. Meyer is trying to hold on to the first alternate position as Leonardo has continued his two year long return from a serious knee injury. Leonardo is looked at highly in the organization, and was the only defensive sub in the friendly on Saturday. Look for him to get some time in the upcoming impacted March as well. Ferreira is one of two trailists in the Galaxy camp, and the only one to get minutes in a scrimmage thus far. He and Opare are possibly an either/or pairing so far as signings are concerned.
Franklin and Dunivant went ninety minutes on Saturday, and their starting positions are as safe as can be. Gaul and Opare were the only other players to get minutes at the outside back position this week, dropping back homegrown player Oscar Sorto. Brian Gaul has made a name for himself as the first alternate, but it's likely if there was an injury at outside back Arena will sent DeLaGarza out wide and play either Meyer or Leonardo at center back. It's worth noting that Arena described Opare on draft day as a physical center back, but with congestion at that position he could be trying something new.
The top two spots belong to Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas. Jimenez and Garcia came in together in the second half in the first of this week's scrimmages, and again were used as subs on Saturday. Garcia came in at halftime with Jimenez coming is twenty five minutes later, but as should be a theme by now expect the two of them to battle it out on the reserve side for the right to be the first alternate. The list is filled out with a Supplemental draft pick and an injured player, so Hector Jimenez sticking with playing time at center midfield makes sense as a depth concern.
With Landon Donovan not returning until late March, Michael Stephens looks like he's locked himself into starting on opening day with Colin Clark. After six years of a midline with two millionaires synonymous with the club, the Galaxy will start 2013 with two occasional starters, a local legend, and a hired gun. Jimenez can play outside back, and Franklin started here earlier in the week, so again we see a thinness at the outside position. One of the Galaxy's weak spots last year was their lack of width, which Clark was brought in to try and help. Arriola getting two minutes of junk time on Saturday could be nothing, or it could be a sign we're going to get one more homegrown signing before this season starts.
Keane returned to practice this morning, and it's looking like his partner in crime will be Mike Magee. Certainly best to go with experience in the early going, but look for McBean to come in as first sub in matches where the Galaxy need a goal. Charlie Rugg has showed well this week as well, which is unfortunate for Villarreal who's off with the US U-20 team in Mexico. The Galaxy have four very talented young forwards and luckily they'll have enough matches for all of them to get time. Still, no one wants to be away from camp when your competition is tearing it up.