It was Miguel Almíron who LA Galaxy GM Dennis te Kloese cited when describing the potential of newly signed winger Cristian Pavón from Boca Juniors.
As many of you may know, the electric attacker played under Guillermo Barros Schelotto at Lanus before he was sold to Atlanta United, and after two years of success Almíron commanded a $27 million transfer fee and is now starring for Newcastle in the English Premier League. Though Pavón’s game differs from Almíron’s, “Maestro” has had an instant impact with his new club.
Attacking symmetry. Through seven games Pavón has shown a metronome-like consistency around the final third. In the last four matches Maestro has recorded an assist to go with six combined key passes and dribbles. Even when a defensive specialist shuts down Pavón in open space like the Rapids’ Lalas Abubakar, the Argentine can still pick out his teammates in dangerous spots.
Pavon’s influence can be felt throughout the pitch. Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s team are averaging 1.63 goals per match, since the Argentine international’s arrival that number has ballooned to 2.71. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has struck double-digits with 10 goals to storm back into the Golden Boot race. (It was once assumed Ibra would be done after this season, now with the attack clicking and Zlatan on board with the front office moves, there is increasing speculation the big Swede might now want to stick around)
The breakout party vs. Sporting Kansas City exemplified the Galaxy’s newfound cohesion. LA found plenty of joy on the flanks, used the long ball effectively and transitioned successfully on occasion. As we observed in our last tactics piece the left back position has been freed up, and with that in mind it was little surprise Dave Romney got in on the act with a beautiful floating cross for Sebastian Lletget to redirect past Tim Melia.
So far so good for the new-look Galaxy.