Another season in the long and storied history of the Los Angeles Galaxy Football Club, owned and operated by the Sports Division of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, comes to a close after they fell to Real Salt Lake on aggregate by the humble scoreline of 2-1 in the 2013 MLS Western Conference Semifinals.
The loss of David Beckham forced the team to center its fortunes around Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, and while both players had a productive season, injuries, poor finishing, poor set piece defending and an unforgivable snafu at goalkeeper proved to be the undoing of the Galaxy.
Despite all that, the team did advance to the Championship Round of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League and will start next season with a critical home-and-home against Club Tijuana. They will also start next season against Real Salt Lake, perhaps to put their sorry playoff run this year aside.
The View from Avalon is happy to announce that it has enough data to issue the final player ratings for the Los Angeles Galaxy first team in the 2013 Major League Soccer season. Here they are.
Robbie Keane 10/10
Easily the best player this season for the Galaxy. In 30 appearanced this year for the Galaxy, Keano had 16 goals and 11 assists and also earned the team’s MVP honor. Here’s to you, Robbie Keane!
Landon Donovan 9/10
In 27 appearances for the Galaxy, Landon Donovan scored 10 goals and nine assists, but his form took a hit after his road to enlightenment in Cambodia. Still, he had a decent showing and after signing to a new deal, LD will aim to return to prominence ahead of the World Cup.
Omar Gonzalez 8.5/10
Omar Gonzalez proved to be a solid player in the back for the Los Angeles Galaxy and ends the season as the best player defensively for LA. An established bookend for the US Men’s National Team, Gonzalez will look to make use of his DP role and make a push for the World Cup roster next year.
Carlo Cudicini 1/10
Worst player on the pitch for the Galaxy and the biggest bust on the team. Carlo Cudicini was so easy to score on that his inconsistent play was the reason Los Angeles lost so many games this year. Case in point: Jun. 2 against the New England Revolution where he game up five goals. It doesn’t help matters that he’s 39 and his brighter days are well behind him.
Michael Stephens 6/10
Michael Stephens was challenged at times by the play of second-year man Rafael Garcia and in addition to that, Stephens didn’t make an offensive impact to the game. What Stephens did bring was solid passing and playmaking, and it’s going to be interesting to see if he will remain on the books next season.
It was a trying year for Juninho, who did sign with the Galaxy to a contract but couldn’t put it to good use and paid for it with bad finishing all around. However, he made up for it by meshing with Marcelo Sarvas and being the one-two combo in the midfield that helped create chances for the Galaxy.
Marcelo Sarvas 7.5/10
The LA Riot Squad Player of the Year, Marcelo Sarvas picked up from where he left off, being a solid enforcer and provider in the midfield by breaking defensive sequences and helping set up the counterattack. Juninho and Sarvas are expected by the View to be back next year.
Hector Jimenez 6/10
Hector Jimenez has been a competent winger for the Galaxy this season, but the inability to lock down sufficient playing time has knocked his rating down a few notches. In 2014, Jimenez will need to impress Arena in camp if he is to be the winger Los Angeles needs to contend for another league title.
Jack McBean 4/10
Even though Jack McBean already has won the top team honors in this league twice as a member of the Galaxy, his injury issues prevented him from being a major contributor to the team. Case in point: their final CCL match with Isidro Metapan, in which the Galaxy were blown apart by a certain Nicolas Munoz 4-0 and McBean did nothing to convince the boss of a place for him next season.
Despite a sluggish start in which he was a liability on the back line, Leonardo rebounded and finished the year strong as a center back. In the end, he was challenged by a certain rookie named Kofi Opare and he lost the starter role to him at the tail end of the campaign.
Robbie Rogers 1/10
There are two players that deserve a 1 from the View. One of them is Cudicini, the other is Robbie Rogers, who suffered from inconsistent service and lack of sharpness in the final third. Never mind the fact that he couldn’t find the net if his paycheck depended on it. At least he got the people not wanting to cross the line talking.
Rafael Garcia 7/10
There were a number of second-years that delivered for the Galaxy, and one of them is Rafael Garcia. In what will go down as a much improved season from the Cal State Northridge standout, Garcia shined on Jun. 19 against the Portland Timbers, breaking up Timbers attack and holding them to a scoreless draw. He also was a main contributor in the Galaxy’s ongoing CCL run. Garcia will look to work on his passing accuracy next year.
Greg Cochrane 7/10
Greg Cochrane proved to hold his own this season but tried to do more than he could. He is a player with ambition, but he needs to work on the final pass and stay in position on the Galaxy’s sequences. If he can do that, he will be a solid successor to Todd Dunivant.
Mike Magee 5/10
Mike Magee only gets a 5/10 because he was traded but he proved to be an invaluable asset to the team. A hip straint prevented Magee from being a bigger asset. Once he was traded to the Chicago Fire, he nearly sent them to the postseason. However, the View from Avalon salutes and thanks Mike Magee for being a club legend for the Los Angeles Galaxy. So long and thanks for all the fish.
Colin Clark 2/10
A lack of consistency prevented Colin Clark from being a major contributor to the Galaxy. It seemed that Clark just didn’t find his niche as a member of the Galaxy and don’t be surprised if he is let go soon.
Pablo Mastroeni 5/10
The best days are behind Pablo Mastroeni, but he gets bonus points for his leadership and mentoring of the youngers folks. At age 37, though, Mastroeni will have to decide if he wants to continue his career or call time.
Jaime Penedo 8/10
It’s a shame that Jaime Penedo was not with the Los Angeles Galaxy from the start. But he was a major upgrade from Carlo Cudicini and really showed Major League Soccer why he is one of the top goalkeepers in CONCACAF. Expect Penedo to be in this for the long haul and help the Galaxy get a few more shutouts next year.
Tommy Meyer 5.5/10
Tommy Meyer earned his share of appearances for the Los Angeles Galaxy but was primarily used for the Reserve team that won the MLS Reserve League West Division crown. Furthermore, hamstring issues in the preseason made things quite tough for Meyer.
Kofi Opare 7/10
A rookie that broke through for the Los Angeles Galaxy defensively was Kofi Opare, who performed so well as a reserve that he ended up playing alongside Omar Gonzalez later in the season. Like Meyer, hamstring injuries were a problem for Opare, but his passing knocked him down a few notches. Never mind that he also proved to be the goat in a few games for the Galaxy. Opare needs to reduce his defensive lapses if he is to keep his starting job next season.
Laurent Courtois 5/10
A midseason acquisition from Chivas USA, Laurent Courtois was highly effective in the CONCACAF Champions League, where he scored a couple of goals to help his case. A lack of consistent minute plagued Courtois at both clubs to go with a lack of the final pass.
Gyasi Zardes 6/10
Gyasi Zardes showed flashes of his talents as a striker in the Galaxy’s final meeting with Chivas USA. The finishing is the one key ingredient missing from Zardes this year. Expect the finishing touch to arrive with a vengeance next season.
Jose Villareal 5/10
Jose Villareal already has some titles under his belt, but now that he’s a frequent fixture in the starting XI, he needs to score goals and finish. Finishing has been an achilles heel for the Galaxy’s young guys, and JV is no exception.
A.J. DeLaGarza 6/10
A.J. DeLaGarza was one of the top defenders for a majority of the season but injuries derailed his campaign too soon. Once he recovered from injury, it was too little, too late as he never got back into form in time to return to the starting XI.
Sean Franklin 7/10
One of the biggest questions that will need to be solved in the offseason is whether of not Sean Franklin will be retained. He was a very valuable defender and scored the final goal of the entire campaign for the Galaxy against Real Salt Lake. But because of the wheels falling off, Franklin may come as a liability and could be sold to the highest bidder. Stay tuned.
Todd Dunivant 7/10
On the other hand, Todd Dunivant will be back next season after the team came to terms on a new deal for the Iron Man. Dunivant didn’t appear as often this season for the Galaxy, and that forced Greg Cochrane to fill in for him. Dunivant will need to get healthy in the offseason and if he’s fit, he will continue to do his work in the back for Los Angeles.
Brian Rowe 6/10
Brian Rowe improved in leaps and bounds over the course of the season and eventually became Jaime Penedo’s backup by the end of the year. It’s expected by the View that Rowe’s services will be attained, although there is the chance that the club may go in a different direction. From this author’s perspective, Rowe will be back, but that may as well be a Bold Prediction in and of itself.
Charlie Rugg NR
Charlie Rugg is one of a few players that didn’t get a grade this season due to a lack of starts, but early on, he showed the flashes of brilliance that could be useful down the road. With the Galaxy Reserves moving to USL Pro next season, Rugg will have more opportunities to showcase his talent on the pitch.
Chandler Hoffman NR
Chandler Hoffman’s playing time was primarily restricted to Reserve League and CONCACAF Champions League play. With too many talented forwards at Bruce Arena’s disposal, the question now is whether or not Hoffman will be given at least one more year to acquit himself and break through. That’s what the reserve team is for, after all.
Oscar Sorto NR
Fresh off the Galaxy Academy, defender Oscar Sorto also saw playing time with the Galaxy Reserves and competed in the the Reserve League and the CONCACAF Champions League. However, the season was more of a learning year for Sorto, who couldn’t hold his own in the road match against Isidro Metapan. Sorto will need to clean up his act next year if he is to be a factor in the big picture for LA.
Kenney Walker NR
Kenney Walker was unable to see a lot of playing time for the Galaxy and instead got minutes on loan with the Carolina RailHawks of the NASL, helping them win the Woosnam Cup for the best overall season record. Walker also earned time training with Swedish side Hammarby of the Superettan. Walker will need to get more games under his belt in order to make a push for the starting XI.
Bryan Gaul NR
Another player loaned off the RailHawks was defender Brian Gaul, who struggled with preseason injuries and was pushed aside by rookie Greg Cochrane. If Gaul is to have any future with this team, he needs to pick a position in the back and stick to it. Otherwise, the only real position Gaul will have next year is that of a liability.
Brian Perk NR
This is a player that will be lucky to be back next season. Brian Perk struggled with injuries and didn’t get much playing time, aside from occasional Reserve League minutes. Don’t be surprised if his services are not retained next season.