SB Nation is currently without a Los Angeles Galaxy blog, but that didn't stop us from providing you with some Galaxy insight for Saturday's game. Ryan Rosenblatt of Bruins Nation and SB Nation Soccer was kind enough to answer the queries we shot his way.
1) Juan Pablo Ángel is undoubtably a MetroStars/Red Bulls club legend, but many fans felt that the end of last season was the correct time for the Colombian to depart. How well has Ángel adjusted in Los Angeles and has he been worth the Galaxy's third DP slot?
Ryan Rosenblatt: Angel has had his share of troubles this season, all of them health and fitness related. To start the season he was ill so he was behind from that and when he got back from that he got hurt so he's never really had a chance to get to full fitness even though he's played in almost every match he hasn't been fully fit. That's really plagued him so far although he's getting back to fitness so there is hope for a turn around soon. He's shown flashes of what he can be so it's not as if he's done nothing, but he hasn't lived up to his reputation yet.
As for whether he's worth the third DP slot, to this point the answer is no, but we'll see as it goes forward. It also isn't really fair to judge him as we might judge a normal DP either because he's not being asked to carry a team like most DP's are asked to do. LA gave him a DP spot because after Edson Buddle left the team they were completely devoid of strikers. The team had trouble scoring last year because there wasn't help for Buddle so with him gone the void up top was staggering. Angel was brought in and given the DP spot partly because of how desperately LA needed a striker. That was in addition to his track record as a good MLS goal scorer so he's really being judged on whether he can give the team a decent attack, not as whether or not he's worth the third DP spot.
2) Although still among the league's elite, LA doesn't seem as intimidating as it was during the 2010 regular season. Do you agree with this assessment, or has the Galaxy just gone under the radar due to RSL's and New York's early success?
RR: Truthfully, it has been a long time since LA has been among the league's elite and that goes back to most of last season. The team has enough quality that it can dismantle poorer teams, but they haven't been elite since May of last year and any intimidation by them I thought was strange. A good team can exploit what is a pretty poor midfield for a team many consider elite. Juninho is good, but he's not a Best XI quality guy and there isn't another player on the team that should be starting in the center of the pitch.
Good teams exploit LA's weakness in the center of the midfield. New York's trip to the Home Depot Center last year showed how LA can be dominated in the center of the midfield and Dallas' domination of LA in the Western Conference Finals showed it again. The midfield can be had against the Galaxy and when you can run at the back line because of that poor midfield, the back line gets exposed. LA will get their points because there's enough individual talent to beat most teams, but the truly good teams in MLS should have no real issues getting three points against LA.
3) The number of yellow cards collected by David Beckham has been pretty staggering thus far. Would you attribute this to a greater commitment - and maybe elevated play - or something more negatice? How do the performances of Becks compare to years past?
RR: The yellow cards could be construed as an example of greater commitment by Beckham and I suppose that's a plus, but really it's just been childish and dangerous play for him. Some of his yellows have been from temperamental retribution over some perceived slight that has been for the most part been non-existant. Others have come from dangerous play, most notably his terrible scissor tackle against DC United for which he was lucky to have not been sent off. Whatever the reasoning for his cards, be it greater commitment or otherwise, he needs to smarten up for LA's sake.
As for his play, he got off to a terrible start. The first few matches of the season were undoubtedly his poorest since coming to LA, but there has been an uptick of late. That uptick has coincided with his move to the center of the midfield so he's getting more touches and really opening things up with his passing, although his commitment to defending has been the same as it has been his entire career - minimal.
So of late, his play has been fine and contributing, but with Angel and Chad Barrett up top, neither of whom are real speedsters or capable of running past players, Beckham's ability to use the long ball and open up space for the midfield is somewhat mitigated. This has led to a call for Landon Donovan to be put at forward, something that better makes use of Beckham's passing and helps the team, but whether or not LA goes to that more often or continues to start Donovan in the midfield and only have him go up top later in matches remains to be seen.