USA TODAY Sports
With Tommy Meyer now unavailable for the home opener, we're updating the unofficial LA Galaxy depth chart. With Sean Franklin looking good in the midfield, we're now predicting Leonardo starts opening day.
There was a fair amount learned in the LA Galaxy's match against Club Tijuana last night, so it's time to update the depth chart once again. The biggest piece of news was Tommy Meyer's hamstring injury, which eliminates him from opening day consideration. That brings the list of opening day unavailables to:
Landon Donovan (sabbatical), Tommy Meyer (hamstring), Gyasi Zardes (foot), Kenny Walker (foot)
With two main options for opening day, one with Sean Franklin on the back line and one with him in the midfield, Arena chose the midfield option last night. That would mean Leonardo starting opening day, which is looking more and more a possibility. Good on him, after an extended brush with injury.
Arena gave Carlo Cudini the night off, and Brian Perk looked good. Unfortunately it's not really an open competition for keeper with the salary disparity between number one and number two. Perk hasn't given up a goal all offseason, and lucky for him he's young enough that he'll get that starting spot eventually.
The battle between Tommy Meyer and Leonardo is effectively over, as Meyer has suffered a strained hamstring and won't be available for the season opener. Bruce Arena started Sean Franklin in the midfield and sent A.J. DeLaGarza out wide against Tijuana, so that Leonardo could get some match time with Omar Gonzalez. That may very well be the opening day back line, with Michael Stephens going from looking good to start to looking good to come off the bench. Leonardo has a quickness about him, much like DeLaGarza. He can also scored, as evidenced by his goal against Tijuana.
Brian Gaul started on the backline against Tijuana, relieving Todd Dunivant. A foward in college, Gaul kept looking to get involved on the offensive end and put in two goals for his trouble with Bruce Arena allowing him to go the full ninety minutes. He's quite solidly the first alternate at the outside back position. Opare and Sorto both came in a bit after the sixty minute mark.
Rafael Garcia and Hector Jimenez both came in after halftime, with Garcia getting sent off with a straight red card not two minutes later. Which hurts evaluation purposes for both Jimenez and Garcia. It did mean that Jimenez, who had come in for Sean Franklin, got slotted back into central midfield. Jimenez said last night central mid is more of his natural position, that he was sent out wide in college. He also acknowledged that there are likely more minutes for him on the outside even though he's been playing a lot of central mid this preseason. So consider the Garcia-Jimenez battle still active, with Jimenez the only one allowed to show off last night and getting a goal for his troubles.
Outside Mid: 1. Colin Clark, 2. Michael Stephens, 3. Greg Cochrane, 4. Paul Arriola (academy), 5. Ghost of Landon Donovan
Colin Clark started at outside mid with Sean Franklin against Tijuana, with Stephens and Cochrane coming in at halftime. Greg Cochrane looked good, showing a lot of hustle and assisting on Jimenez' goal. Cochrane was able to completely stretch the Tijuana back line freeing up the trailing player. Paul Arriola played earlier in the night with the academy team, scoring twice. Still, his non-inclusion with the senior roster is a sign that he'll be at UCLA next year and not with the club.
Jack MeBean remains the first option off the bench, coming in for Mike Magee at halftime. Robbie Keane was scheduled to go sixty minutes as he's a bit behind in his match fitness progression; Charlie Rugg came in for him at that point. McBean was quite active out there, and Rugg looked nice and imposing. He's also quick, looks to have a bright future. Jose Villarreal has been off starting for the US youth team in Mexico, so when he gets back there will be quite a competition between three young forwards.