Boom! Now that is how you make a statement. Los Angeles Galaxy manager Bruce Arena took a big gamble in bringing in the kids for Saturday’s Major League Soccer against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and it worked.
No Landon Donovan? No Todd Dunivant? No Robbie Keane? No Carlo Cudicini? No problem!
Defense wins big games, along with feisty performances from the rookies. With the victory, Los Angeles close the gap on FC Dallas and improve to 4-1-2 (14 points) with two games in hand on the hoops. Here are the player ratings for the Los Angeles Galaxy against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Brian Rowe 8
What a debut for Brian Rowe. Finally getting his big break, he made seven saves, including two collections and three punch-outs. His pass success rate of 19 percent equates to a one-point deduction, but aside from his horrible distribution stats, this was a solid debut.
A.J. DeLaGarza 8
10 clearances, four interceptions and a 75 percent pass success rate on 12 touches. Not a lot of work had to be done from DeLaGarza aside from clearing away the danger.
Sean Franklin 7.5
Franklin also had a great night on defense, with 13 clearances and two interceptions despite a 68 percent pass success rate, according to the Opta Chalkboard.
Omar Gonzalez 8
The Galaxy were playing clearance football the full 90, and Omar Gonzalez shouldered most of the load with 19 clearances. He also had five recoveries and three interceptions. Gonzalez did conceded two corner and had a 53 percent pass success rate.
Greg Cochrane 7
One of the three rookies on showcase on Saturday, Greg Cochrane, had a good outing, with eight clearances, two blocked crosses and three recoveries. His crosses will need more work and his passing too (48 percent pass success rate), but otherwise, Cochrane put in a good shift.
Hector Jimenez 7
Seven interceptions, three clearances, two blocked crosses and recoveries each, and an assist highlighted Hector Jimenez’s contributions to the team on Saturday. A 20 percent cross cussess rate combined with a 40 percent pass success rate on 20 touches and a shot that hit the woodwork in the second half leaves much to be desired.
This was another solid display from Juninho, who had 10 recoveries, five interceptions, two clearances, and two blocked crosses. He does get a .5 dediction for a 33 percent cross success rate and a 68 percent pass success rate.
Mike Magee 9
Man of the match. Donning the captain’s armband, Mike Magee was crisp on defense. Two tackles won; three defender blocks, interceptions and clearances each; and six recoveries, and every one of them were big. Combined with an 81 percent pass success rate and the first goal of the game, this night belonged to the Magee.
Marcelo Sarvas 7.5
Another good shift for Marcelo Sarvas, who had five interceptions and recoveries each to go with a 74 percent pass success rate. Sarvas and Juninho teamed up to dominate the midfield.
Charlie Rugg 8.5
This was a solid debut for Charlie Rugg, who iced the game in the first half on an easy tap-in from Hector Jimenez in the 13th minue. Rugg also had three recoveries and an 80 percent pass success rate on 20 touches. Watch out for Rugg, he will be in the mix this season for the Galaxy.
Jack McBean 6
Despite an assist in the sixth minute of play, Jack McBean suffered a massive injury in the 53rd minute and had to be subbed for Gyasi Zardes. You never like seeing a young player like McBean go out like this. With this, the Galaxy lose some depth at forward and this is a tough break for Jack Mac, who may be out for an extended period of time.
Gyasi Zardes 6
In his debut on the pitch, Gyasi Zardes showed some flashes of the potention he has as a member of the Galaxy first team. He has four recoveries and a clearance, and also had a would-be assist in the second half that hit the woodwork. With McBean out due to injury, Zardes will get plenty of playing time as we get closer to the summer months.
Michael Stephens 5
Four recoveries and a 69 percent pass success rate on 13 touches summed up Michael Stephens’s efforts in the midfield.
Rafael Garcia 4
Gets credit for giving it the ol’ MLS try on goal but will need to remind himself of his role as a garbage time player.