With Landon Donovan returning to the squad, taking corporeal form after his ghost start, there's a bit of a shakeup on the LA Galaxy depth chart. 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 going into the CONCACAF Champions League tie with Monterrey.
When predicting a starting lineup, remember that Clark is cup tied. Robbie Keane expect to be available Wednesday, but if that's full 90 available isn't clear yet.
1. Carlo Cudicini, 2. Brian Rowe, 3. Brian Perk (inj.)
Carlo Cudicini has shown some shakiness at the keeper spot, but it's his position baring him being unable to play. Perk's recovering from sports hernia surgery, and Brian Rowe is not MLS everyday ready.
1. Omar Gonzalez 2. A.J. DeLaGarza, 3. Leonardo, 4.Tommy Meyer, 5. Kofi Opare
Tommy Meyer is back from injury, but he and Kofi Opare won't see any playing time until the reserve league starts up. Leonardo is third only because he'll start on the bench when there isn't a space open for him on the backline, but the ideal lineup for the Galaxy right now features all three of Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, and Leonardo.
1. Sean Franklin, 2. A.J. DeLaGarza, 3. Oscar Sorto
Sorto already has a Galaxy contract, but he was with the Academy in the Dallas Cup last week. It's good that he's gotten some action, as this is another one of those positions for the Galaxy where there really isn't a backup but more of a shuffle that happens if Sean Franklin is needed somewhere else.
1. Todd Dunivant, 2. Bryan Gaul (inj.)
Gaul continues to recover from a left high ankle sprain, Dunivant is getting all the minutes at left back.
1. Juninho, 2. Marcelo Sarvas, 3. Rafael Garcia, 4. Kenny Walker (inj.)
Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas have been so solid in the middle, that we really won't know who the two backups are until reserve matches start up. Over the last two matches (so since the last time we updated the depth chart) Rafael Garcia with six minutes is the only other player to play in that center of the pitch spot. Walker continues to try and come back from injury.
Right Wide Midfielder
1. Mike Magee, 2. Sean Franklin, 3. Hector Jimenez
Not much change here. Magee is the starter here with Sean Franklin moving up when Magee is needed at forward. Hector Jimenez had a bit of an opportunity to show what he could do over the last few weeks and hasn't done that much to impress. He and Michael Stephens both are approaching a time when they're going to have to do something remarkable or end up in the re-entry draft shuffle.
Left Wide Midfielder
1. Landon Donovan, 2. Michael Stephens, 3. Colin Clark, 4. Greg Cochrane
When Landon Donovan returned he was always going to skyrocket up to number one. Even as he's an off the bench option for the first few weeks, anyone starting ahead of him is simply holding the spot warm. Donovan came in for Jack McBean and played up top with Mike Magee for a bit, then dropped back to the midfield when Villarreal came in ten minutes later. I think when the starting lineup is back to full strength, Donovan will start here with...
1. Robbie Keane, 2. Jose Villarreal, 3. Jack McBean, 4. Charlie Rugg, 5. Chandler Hoffman 6. Gyasi Zardes (inj.)
...Robbie Keane starting with one of the youngsters up top. Villarreal and McBean both are really starting to come into their own, and there's a legitimate debate between the two of them. Villarreal is a fantastic finisher as evidenced by his goal against Toronto. However, McBean has great movement off the ball as evidenced by him topping the Castrol Index for his performance against the Colorado Rapids. Charlie Rugg is available if anything should go catastrophically wrong. Chandler Hoffman exists.