With Christmas around the corner, the View from Avalon continues its player ratings for the players that made up the 2012 Los Angeles Galaxy. First, we take a look at Pat Noonan, who has been an leader to the younger players on the team. Noonan appeared in 14 first-team games, including three CONCACAF Champions League contest and the U.S. Open Cup match with the Carolina Railhawks, scoring two goals. In six reserve league contests with Bruce Arena’s Galaxy, Noonan recorded two goals and an assist.
Player Rating for Pat Noonan: 4/10
Despite his leadership and experience, limited minutes on the pitch prevented Pat Noonan from becoming a regular fixture for the Los Angeles Galaxy first team. However, he can now say that he was on two MLS-Cup winning teams, rather than just one.
Next up is Omar Gonzalez. Here is a player that battled through so much adversity, with injuries and all, only to come back midseason and propel the Galaxy to the MLS Cup title with an equalizer just an hour into the final on Dec. 1 against the Houston Dynamo. Gonzalez appeared in 21 first team matches, starting every match of the postseason, logging 1777 game minutes, a couple of goals and an assist.
Had Gonzalez been healthy all season, the Galaxy could have done more. Or rather, Omar could have been playing in Europe. Whatever the case may be, Omar Gonzalez has done the work and delivered the goods for his team.
“For me, winning MVP is great,” Gonzalez told LAGalaxy.com’s Adam Serrano after the MLS Cup Final. “I never thought that I would be winning it, it was pretty emotional for me because at the beginning of the year, I didn’t see myself getting back to this level and I was just thinking if I was ever going to come back the same way. Today was really special for me; I know that I’m able to go even further now.”
Player Rating for Omar Gonzalez: 8/10
Injuries prevent Omar Gonzalez from really making an impact and delivering more work on defense for the Galaxy, but he picked the right time to help turn the ship around and complete a successful MLS Cup defense.
On the flip side, David Junior Lopes, who filled in for Gonzalez in the early part of the season, was simply awful, save for his efforts against Real Madrid in a friendly. In 18 appearances for the Galaxy, opposing attacks have found ways to exploit his inability to mark. His last league appearance came on Aug. 5 against the Seattle Sounders, a 4-0 defeat that saw Lopes axed afterwards.
Player Rating for David Junior Lopes: 2/10
David Junior Lopes, simply put, is a player that has no business playing in Major League Soccer. It might be of his best interests to either play in a lower league or look for a payday elsewhere or even go into coaching. This was an awful season for Lopes. And that’s saying something.
On to Bryan Gaul, who has done reasonably well as a rookie defender for the Galaxy. Gaul appeared in 19 first-team matches, including all four CONCACAF Champions League contests. He also appeared in seven Reserve League games. Gaul’s shining moments came in the CCL, where he helped lead the Galaxy to top honors in their group.
“It’s been hectic, but it’s been unbelievable,” Gaul told Serrano. “I think that I’m set to be a left back and I think that’s the position for me. The position changes helped me become a better defender and it’s been great. The coaches are telling us that we need to come in fit and ready to win a position, so that’s the mentality that we have to have going into the offseason.”
Player Rating for Bryan Gaul: 5/10
A decent first year for Bryan Gaul, who had to fill in for Todd Dunivant at left back when the Iron Man was injured. The more minutes Gaul logs in, the more he will grow into his position at left back. Watch for Gaul to push for more playing time next year.
Midfielder Hector Jimenez had a trying season, but did his best to contribute in filling in for a number of players in the midfield. In 21 first team appearances (including all the matches in the CCL and US Open Cup), Jimenez scored a goal and two assists. Jimenez also starred in seven Reserve League games. Despite his pace and poise, Jimenez did not do particularly well at right back in the Galaxy’s 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS Cup Knockout Round but did well to adjust. In addition, his hot temper got the best of him, as seen in his ejection on May 23 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
“This year, I did a good contribution in those games that I did take part,” Jimenez told Serrano. “I think that when we were struggling, that’s when I got my minutes and I think that I provided energy that helped the start our streak in mid-July. I felt like I did alright and hopefully that carries over to next year.”
Player Rating for Hector Jimenez: 5/10
Like Gaul, Jimenez is a young player with talent that needs to be polished a little bit more. His speed, skill and poise are highly valued by the club, and since he is the only winger on the team, Hector Jimenez will be relied on for more contributions next year.
And finally, we go to Chad Barrett, a forward that crashed and burned this season, only to get a second coming across the pond. Barrett appeared in 21 first-team matches, earning a goal and four assists. In three Reserve League matches, Barrett recorded three goals. His lack of production prevented him from being a started on the team, and he only made five appearances for Valerenga of Norway.
Player Rating for Chad Barrett: 3/10
Barrett’s hold-up play and opportunity to create chances are the only noteworthy attributes but he simply can’t finish, period. And when you can’t finish, you’re going to not only have a difficult time getting starts, but having an even more difficult time getting appearances. Memo to New England: you can have this guy. Totus Tuus.