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LA has shown two different lineups thus far with Colin Clark cap tied. There are some interesting position battles that will intensify when Landon Donovan returns.
The 2013 preseason LA Galaxy depth chart's goal was to shake who was likely to make the roster and who was getting cut. Now that things have kicked off, we can delve into how deep the Galaxy are at each position Bruce Arena uses in his 4-4-2. Positional goodness amounts this morning!
Carlo Cudicini has started both LA Galaxy matches so far, as Arena has taken advantage of MLS scheduling the Galaxy off in week 2. Remember last year MLS scheduled a match in between the Galaxy's series with Toronto FC, and Arena's lack of juggling the roster was partially blamed for the slow start. Now, with the break this weekend, Arena can not juggle his roster and be just fine.
Is Leonardo the No. 2 center back now? It could be argued that Arena prefers to start Leonardo next to Omar, but that he wants to keep DeLaGarza on the pitch if he has to chose between the two. From my perspective, that makes DeLaGarza the No. 2 center back as it's only when he moves over that Leonardo gets the start. With Tommy Meyer on the mend, Opare offers the Galaxy some depth at the center back position, even if it hasn't been officially announced that he signed.
1. Sean Franklin, 2. A.J. DeLaGarza, 3. Oscar Sorto
When Sean Franklin moves up A.J. DeLaGarza moves into his spot, and yes one of the main reason for breaking it down by position was so we could show DeLaGarza in two different positions. Sorto provides the depth at the position.
1. Todd Dunivant, 2. Bryan Gaul
Bryan Gaul's services haven't been needed yes, as Dunivant has stood alone at the left back spot. It's tough to know what the contingency plan would be if both players were unavailable, likely Franklin and DeLaGarza would take up the two outside back spots were that to happen.
1. Juninho, 2. Marcelo Sarvas, 3. Rafael Garcia, 4. Hector Jimenez, 5. Kenny Walker (inj.)
Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas has manned the central midfield for the Galaxy for almost all of the 180 minutes played thus far, with Rafael Garcia coming in for Sarvas late in both matches. It's likely Hector Jimemez would come in if both players needed to be replaced with Kenny Walker still on the mend.
Right Wide Midfielder
1. Hector Jimenez, 2. Sean Franklin, 3. Mike Magee
We've only seen two players at the right wide position, and it's Hector Jimenez's position only because Sean Franklin can't be the No. 1 at two positions. It's a bit nervy that the depth at this position both have other roles. On the one hand the interchangeability is good as it gives Arena options with his substitutions, but it could prove troublesome if the roster is thinned with injury.
Left Wide Midfielder
1. Colin Clark, 2. Michael Stephens, 3. Greg Cochrane, 4. Ghost of Landon Donovan
Colin Clark being Cup tied started the great reshuffling Arena had to do between the Galaxy's first and second match. It'll affect the Galaxy again on Wednesday, so we'll see if Arena goes with the same lineup. Stephens is pretty much a lock to start, but there is the possibility of putting Jack McBean up top to get the early goal with Magee in the midfield. If that were the case I'd expect Magee to start at Left Wide, so that he could bring in Michael Stephens to slow the tempo down after the Galaxy get that goal.
The Galaxy now looked stacked at the forward position, even if they are all young. Jose Villarreal showed well with the U-20 USMNT, however it's starting to look like Arena isn't ready to use his youngsters for a full 90. Which makes Landon Donovan's eventual return all the more interesting. The way LA has lined up so far, where does Donovan return at? Pushing Magee back to the midfield makes sense but then either Franklin or Leonardo end up on the bench.
*Update: Forgot about Chandler Hoffman. Don't know much about how he'll fit in yet, doubt we'll see him until the reserve league starts up in a month.
What has been nice about the Galaxy's current one DP situation is that flexibility in lineups, where there's only one guy who's benching would be a story. When David Beckham had to start, Arena couldn't shuffle the positions the way he can now.
How much will Donovan's return change things? We'll have to wait and see.