Some of the LA Galaxy reserves have returned from early injuries, but it comes as several senior squad members are dealing with their own knocks. Colin Clark is falling out of favor, and just how to handle the forward spots with the youngsters heating up are some issues to think about.
Brian Perk has come back from his sports hernia surgery, and regained his spot as the backup goalkeeper for the LA Galaxy. He started for the Galaxy in the club's first reserve league match yesterday, allowing one goal but otherwise looking in control. Carlo Cudicini seems to be locking down the mistakes he was making earlier in the year. With no reserve matches while he was the no. 2, Rowe really hasn't gotten a chance to show his stuff.
I know, I felt weird breaking up the center back pairing of Gonzalez and DeLaGarza on the depth chart, but it's clear right now that DeLaGarza is needed at right back and Franklin as a wide midfielder. This has lead to Leonardo being Gonzalez' main center back partner thus far this season. With Leonardo serving a red card suspension this weekend, the question becomes do the Galaxy simply shift back into 2012 positions or start Meyer. Tommy Meyer went ninety minutes for the Galaxy in the reserve match, but there's a strong possibility he could start on the back line with Gonzalez on Saturday.
1. A.J. DeLaGarza, 2. Oscar Sorto
This has been Sean Franklin's spot for years, but it really seems that Bruce Arena is committed to mixing it up as the Galaxy go for a third straight MLS Cup. This has meant DeLaGarza starting in the position he was drafted for, which allows him to make overlapping runs and get involved in the offense. His goal against Monterrey, as his good showing mixing it up on offense, probably makes this spot his for the time being. Sorto started at right back in the reserve match.
1. Todd Dunivant (inj.), 2. Greg Cochrane 3. Bryan Gaul
Bryan Gaul has returned from injury, playing in the Galaxy reserve match, but Greg Cochrane stepped up huge for the Galaxy in Dallas. Cochrane was a defender at Louisville, but Arena was intent on making him a midfielder from the combine on. If Dunivant can't go Saturday, expect Cochrane to start again.
1. Juninho, 2. Marcelo Sarvas, 3. Rafael Garcia, 4. Hector Jimenez, 5. Kenny Walker
Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas have been so solid in the middle, but they can't play 3,000 minutes this year or their legs will fall off. With the reserve league starting up, we say Garcia, Jimenez, and returning from injury Walker all play in the middle. Jimenez is starting to really reach that point where he needs to do something to impress someone, while Garcia seems to be finding a rhythm.
Right Wide Midfielder
Which Franklin unavailable Mike Magee started in his place, which is the third position Magee has started at this year. Battling his own knock, Magee really don't have a specific position. He's more the utility player that gets slotted in wherever needed. The problem with that is, if you can be put anywhere, it's hard to argue you belong somewhere. Is Mike Magee the starter at any specific position? With forward an impacted position, Arena used Hoffman in the midfield during the reserve match.
Left Wide Midfielder
1. Mike Magee, 2. Colin Clark, 3. Michael Stephens
Well it could be argued (probably successfully) that the only reason Magee had to start at right midfielder is because Franklin was unavailable. I waffled on this one, but ultimately decided that which Clark only going 55 minutes and then playing in the reserve match, Arena isn't super happy with him. So let's say Magee is the starting left wide midfielder until further notice. Would be interesting if the Galaxy went with Hoffman and Magee at wide midfielders Saturday if Franklin is unavailable.
Robbie Keane's got a legitimate knock on his ankle that isn't going away, so at for another week we can't ask if Donovan would be better off in the midfield since he'll be starting on Saturday. Who will start with him depends on how serious Villarreal's shoulder knock is. For precaution's sake, I think we'll see Jack McBean start with Donovan up top, with Villarreal and Rugg as options off the bench. Zardes has returned from injury, but he's far off from being match day ready.