Scoring the only goal for the Galaxy, it's unsurprising that Robbie Keane led the Galaxy in Match Impact Rating on Saturday. Inside the penalty area he caught a Juninho cross with his left foot, volleying it into the back of the net in the seventeenth minute; his only shot of the day. Keane also won three fouls is the offensive half.
That was good for an Impact Rating of 66.6. His assist partner on that play, Juninho, finished at 30.75. Juninho also took three shots, two of them on target and one which clanked off the top post. While his MIR was half of Robbie Keane's, Bruce Arena praised the midfielder after the match for his effort.
"I think Juninho played quite well for us tonight," said Bruce Arena. "If we had 90 players who played like Juninho tonight I think we would have won the game."
Keane was accurate, and Juninho's motor was going all match; Marcelo Sarvas quietly had another solid match. He finished with a Match Impact of 29.25. Sarvas worked hard, earning three fouls. Mike Magee finished with 28.77, taking three shots and earning two fouls before being taken out for Edson Buddle.
While Magee didn't look good out on the pitch, it's worth questioning if bringing in Edson Buddle was the right move. Arena still sees him as a goal scoring weapon on the bench, and with Keane only getting the one shot one can see the logic that thought a second forward might punch one through.
Landon Donovan finished with a MIR of 10.6, not taking a shot until the seventy-fourth minute and making the Buddle substitution even more clear. Arena needed someone up top willing to take a shot, however that ignored the fact that the Galaxy's real problem was lack of control in the midfield.
Keane and Donovan not getting shots off was a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. RSL's two goals came because the Galaxy lost the battle of the midfield for almost the entire middle of the match. Sure, the old solution to that problem is dropping Donovan back and bringing Buddle in, but Wilhelmsson to shore up the midfield giving Donovan and Keane more chances is the better move.
We'll have an article up later today analyzing how Buddle has been as a super sub for the Galaxy since coming back.
Match Impact Rating is graciously given to LAG Confidential by the wonderful Patrick Johnson. Please give him a follow on twitter.