How is LA Galaxy coping without Omar Gonzalez? Is there any sense that he's underperforming with the U.S., or is the level of play here that much lower?
I don't get the sense that he's underperforming with the US. He's made some rookie mistakes, but as you alluded he's facing attacking situations like he's never had before. He may be a veteran after four seasons in MLS, but it's a whole new game on the world stage. Even with those noticeable mistakes that have led to goals, Gonzalez is currently sitting at the top of the US soccer Castrol Index, ahead of Clint Dempsey.
Without Gonzalez LA gave up five goals, so not good Matt. Tommy Meyer stepped into Gonzalez' shoes and he didn't have the best match against New England. Hopefully things will look better this weekend, as outside of the last five minutes, the back line was simply "needs improvement" and not "burn it all with a cleansing fire".
On that note, how frustrating are international absences during the middle of the season? Obviously you haven't had too many away - cough, left-behind-Landon, cough - but how much does it really disrupt?
Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez are two key pieces of the Galaxy's success these past two to three years. Even with Donovan not being called up until the Gold Cup, that's a significant handicap. Much of MLS gets this weekend off, but LA is still catching up from taking those weekends off for CONCACAF Champions League play. So it's not ideal by any stretch, but it comes before the playoffs are really a concern so if it has to happen, at least it's now.
Something about rivalries. I kid, I kid. What sort of performance do you expect from your side? To say results have bounced around a bit undersells the real issue.
Hey, if we have to chose between this roller coaster and the roller coaster of 2012, this roller coaster is much smoother. Still, you're right that the Galaxy attack has been inconsistent at best; which makes it difficult to predict. If Donovan starts in the midfield, I expect goals. If Donovan starts up top, I expect stalling. Which is a complete reversal on my previous opinion on Donovan up top. I like him up top with a Robbie Keane type, but he isn't a take charge forward. He likes to distribute. Paired with a rookie it's a bit rudderless.
Of course, now Donovan will score twenty goals from close range on Saturday, then point into the camera. And we'll all know he's proven me wrong once again.
The point there is that I'm always wrong when I try and pigeonhole what Donovan brings to the team. Not that I think RSL are pushovers; Salt Lake are very good. I don't think twenty goals is a reasonable goal.