MLS doesn't compile fantasy stats for CONCACAF Champions League, but if they did you'd expect one of the LA Galaxy defenders to be the top point earner in a nil-nil draw. This is the case, as Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza led the Galaxy with nine points by the MLS Fantasy rules.
The defense plus keeper Carlo Cudicini all started with a base of six points since they played more than sixty minutes and kept a clean sheet. He only had to make one save, as the crossbar was his best friend in Costa Rica. It was responsible for the penalty kick staying out. Had Cudicini kept that ball out it would have been worth five points.
Gonzalez and DeLaGarza stood out in central defense with 19 clearances, interceptions, and blocks. Of course, you'd expect the central defenders to lead the team in clearances. In fact, starting next to Gonzalez in the Galaxy's first match Leonardo finished with more Fantasy points than DeLaGarza. Gonzalez managed an assist in that match, so his score was even better.
Fantasy stats are just condensed versions of real stats, and the argument seems simple here. Omar Gonzalez is really good at soccer. He's clearing balls, keeping clean sheets, and his height and ability on set pieces has earned him tons of honors such that it almost feels like overkill at this point.
Is worth repeating however because the Galaxy have started off the year with two clean sheets. Last year, the Galaxy didn't have a clean sheet until he returned. The reason the Galaxy had the slow start last year wasn't some imaginary MLS Cup hangover, it was not having Omar Gonzalez. With the lack of depth in MLS, injuries can really derail teams.
It shouldn't be surprising in a nil-nil draw that the only bonuses given out were defensive. Juninho and Sarvas in central midfield faired a bit better than their wide counterparts, both getting enough recoveries to earn a bonus fantasy point. Michael Stephens actually had enough recoveries to earn a bonus point as well, showing just how bus parked the Galaxy were.
Bruce Arena admitted before the match that he was willing to play for a draw, and that's just what the Galaxy did. However, a draw isn't going to good enough tomorrow night. Arena's going to have to make changes.
Here's my suggested lineup for the Galaxy on Wednesday:
Cudicini; DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Dunivant; Franklin, Sarvas, Juninho, Magee; McBean, Keane
Mike Magee is a great finisher as demonstrated against Chicago, but with Colin Clark unavailable the Galaxy should stack the wide midfield and forwards with as much attacking talent as possible. Stephens had two key passes, and no crosses. He hit Keane with a chip that Keane missed high, and laid it off to Sarvas whose attempt was blocked.
The only players to make key passes in the box were Keane and Magee, both passes to their forward counterpart. Magee's miss was inexcusable, but I think with a third person getting involved up top the Galaxy will get the scoring opportunities they lacked last time out.