Credit depth with club’s success
On the Galaxy’s roster this season are players who have competed in World
Cups, World Cup qualifying, European leagues and MLS championships.
Some of them have yet to contribute a thing for the club this season. And
yet the Galaxy haven't felt any negative effects from their collective
After beating Real Salt Lake by
2-1 on Saturday, Los Angeles
has a stellar 4-0-0 start, all despite a training room full of banged-up
bodies. Players such as Gregg Berhalter, Clint Mathis, Jovan Kirovski and Alan
Gordon have played little or not at all this season, yet the Galaxy have
plugged those holes with newcomers and youngsters such as Juninho, Michael
Stephens and Bryan Jordan and the club hasn't skipped a beat.
Having depth is not something the Galaxy take lightly.
“We pride ourselves on our depth,” LA captain Landon Donovan said after
Saturday's 2-1 win over Real
“By contrast, Salt
Lake had a couple of
injuries and it really affected them. We’ve had a lot of injuries to veteran
players so we don’t have a lot of leadership on the field so guys are stepping
in and kind of learning on the run.”
Leonardo replaced Berhalter in the lineup, but Leonardo was hurt and
unavailable for Real
A.J. DeLaGarza stepped in and helped keep RSL forwards Álvaro Saborío and
Fabián Espíndola in check. Sean Franklin left the game with an injury midway
through the first half and Jordan
replaced him and was able to fill the role without too many problems.
“We’ve been resilient for sure,” Berhalter said. “When you can get results
under those conditions you know you are working with something good here. Part
of our goal for this year was to establish depth on the roster and I think we
The midfield has been a bit shaken up as well as Dema Kovalenko has missed
the last two games with injury, but Chris Birchall has been able to step in
without any setbacks.
Depth will be critical soon as Landon Donovan is likely to head to South Africa
for the World Cup. Edson Buddle’s seven goals also may earn him a call and
could keep him away from the team. But the club seems well prepared to weather
that storm as well.
“It’s probably the best team we’ve had in my tenure,” Galaxy coach Bruce
Arena said. “I don’t want to go back to the old years, but obviously in the
last two years, this is the best group we have. We have pretty good depth.”
Once players begin returning -- Berhalter dressed but did not play Saturday
while Kirovski and Gordon have seen time on the field -- the competition for
starting spots and even spots on the matchday roster could continue the club’s
surge in confidence.
“We’re going to get some guys back in the near future and that will help us,”
Arena said. “Having the depth we have and the confidence we have in each other
has allowed us to perform well to date.”