This Sunday the LA Galaxy will take on the Chicago Fire so in the interest of letting Mike Magee's current club know how LA is doing, we fielded some questions from Sean Spence at Hot Time in Old Town. My answers to his questions appear below, and you can read his answers to my questions here.
Donovan's many hats and more answers to Galaxy questions
This Sunday the LA Galaxy will take on the Chicago Fire so in the interest of letting Mike Magee's current club know how LA is doing, we fielded some questions from Sean Spence at Hot Time in Old Town.
By Josie Becker
1) Before Sunday's demolition of Philadelphia, was there any concern about Donovan's form among the Galaxy faithful? Or was he playing well, but just not getting any breaks?
Given the way you phrased the question, I have to admit there were questions amongst the Galaxy faithful. His failure to score was duly noted, and there was a pervasive thought that Donovan was largely absent from those first handful of games.
I didn't subscribe to that theory, as there was other turmoil going on around Donovan. Arena began the season insisting Donovan was to play midfield exclusively, but circumstances quickly led to Donovan joining Keane up top. Then Keane had the hot hand, so Donovan played underneath him, tracking back to set Keane up.
If you see him as a pure scorer then sure things weren't right in Tinseltown. However, he was doing so much to keep the attack going that it was fun on Sunday seeing him make goal scoring runs and letting Keane set him up.
2) Juninho has been the primary first-team scouting coup for the Galaxy in the last few years, but he's looked a bit off this year to me. Am I straight tripping?
Yes. Juninho has arguably been the most consistent player of the first ten matches of the season, playing a holding midfielder role. In this beloved sport of ours attacking players either score goals, give amazing service, or they're chopped liver. Juninho is playing much more defensively, and if you want to know how the Galaxy have been able to outpass opponents by a hundred or more it's the recoveries by Juninho that keep LA getting extra possessions.
3) What's the perception of the Fire in LA? Are we just the team that now pays Magee? Are we aborable scamps? Can you get us a meeting with our owner?
For a long while Chicago were the team that swindled LA out of Magee. Now that such things have calmed down, I'm not sure Chicago is thought of all that much. It's just not a franchise LA has much history with. That's not just down to being in different conferences, as LA has history with the Dynamo, DC United, even the New York Thierry Henrys.
There's no there there between LA and Chicago, unfortunately.
4) Magee trade - here's the mic, go ahead and freestyle.
The Magee trade is only remember negatively because LA only got the ghost of Robbie Rogers and at this point that's not worth very much at all. My position from the beginning was that Arena insisted Magee was a midfielder while he showed continuously he was best used as a Wondolowski type goal poacher. If the only time Magee was going to get to start at forward was as an injury replacement, mazel to Chicago for giving him a home where he can spread his wings.
I still think there's a future where Rogers becomes a major contributor, but he's fallen completely off since stepping away from the game. He did so with great reason, but it's clear the rust that gathered on his legs has kept him from stay fit and contributing positively.
5) How has the addition of Galaxy II changed the outlook for LA's young talent? Who on that roster should we expect to see more of in the next year-plus?
Galaxy II has taken away one of MLS' biggest issues. The reserve league is too irregular. There were times in the past where injured defenders (thinking of Omar Gonzalez here) had to come in at the sixty minute mark to get their rehab minutes because the next reserve league match was too far away to fit into the recovery schedule.
With the youth, the issue was bringing them up too quickly. They needed real match experience, which the reserve league approximates but doesn't quite reach, and players like Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal didn't need expectations heaped upon them at such a young age. What's been needed and now exists was that stopgap for players not quite ready for the big time but deserving better than ten roll outs a year. Now it exists.
6) How long can Robbie Keane keep this up? Doesn't anyone age in LA?
The doctors in Beverly Hills are very good.
Keane has gotten into a great rhythm in MLS, and I think he has an easy three or four more years in those legs. That he's still getting national team call-ups should set the table so far as his relative youth is concerned. He's only a year older than Donovan, Brad Davis; only two years older than Wondolowski. He's fine.
And, of course, a predicted starting XI and a prediction on the final score:
Penedo; DeLaGarza, Opare, Leonardo, Gargan; Ishizaki, Juninho, Sarvas, Zardes; Donovan, Keane
LA Galaxy 10 - Chicago Fire 2