It's been a weird off-season for the Galaxy. It began as an off-season of rampant speculation over which big name DP the Galaxy would sign to replace Donovan. Shortly after Steven Gerrard was signed, the narrative quickly shifted after the Galaxy traded Marcelo Sarvas for a higher place in the allocation list with aims of signing Sacha Kljestan. News on this front went completely dark for weeks, until New York, in a rare show of managerial competence, managed to win the Kljestan war.
After Kljestan-gate part 2, speculation quickly turned to who the Galaxy would sign, based on vague comments from Arena that reinforcements were coming. This lead us into a shadowy Galaxy preseason during which the Galaxy only played a single streamed game, and due to stream problems, only half of it was streamed.While fans speculated on what kind of reinforcements were needed, the Galaxy so thoroughly rotated players throughout the preseason to such an extent that only eight or nine players can be safely projected as locks for the opening day starting eleven.
On top of all of this, it's a darn right miracle we are even playing this game today, as a strike seemed inevitable as of a few days ago. Yes, it's been a crazy roller coaster, but the regular is finally here!
What to Watch:
- The back line is a complete mystery-- If everyone is healthy, a question mark in itself as AJ may or may not be carrying a knock, we could see any one of these combinations. Rogers, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Gargan / Dunnivant, Gonzalez DeLaGarza, Rogers / Rogers, Leonardo, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza/
- The Gordon, Bradford Jamieson IV dilemma-- Alan Gordon has had one heck of a preseason and, since Bruce Arena inexplicably thinks Gyasi Zardes is a competent left winger, this means we could have a starting tandem of Gordon and Keane, with Zardes at left wing. An intriguing pairing since my data suggests the Galaxy offense will be a lot more dependant on crosses this year, and that Zardes will see a decrease in open looks on goal. Bradford Jamieson IV, however, has also done enough to earn a starting spot at left mid according to the rare few who have actually seen the Galaxy play more than 2 preseason games.
- Who starts next to Juninho?-- In my opinion, Baggio Husidic's attacking prowess is the most underrated on the team. It actually has very little to do with his passing creativity or chance creation, and more to with how he reads the game. He is very good at reading the Galaxy's complex passing network and figuring out where he needs to be in order to receive a pass in a dangerous shooting position. This was yet another revelation of the tiki-taco genome project. With Juninho being the backstop distributor, Baggio could see a great run of form this year in the position formerly occupied by Marcelo Sarvas. His abscene on the San Jose trip, however, raises questions about his health. Supposedly he will be ready to go, but if he is not, expect Kenny Walker to start in his place. Walker is a tidy passer, but offers very little going forward. Without Baggio on the field, the Fire midfielders can cheat to the outsides and shut down the attack.
How to Watch
Match date/time: Friday, 7 PM Pacific
Venue: Stub Hub Center, Carson, California
TV: Unimas (English audio availble when SAP function is used)
Online: deportes.univision.com or the Univision Deportes app