Galaxy Insider Player Ratings: Rafael Garcia
The LA Galaxy season may be over, but LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will spend the next few weeks offering an evaluation of each member of the squad. VIEW CALENDAR
The LA Galaxy Player Ratings will begin with players who appeared in the least number of games this season starting with goalkeeper Brian Rowe and concluding with Sean Franklin who played in all 34 of the club’s regular season games. There will also be an evaluation of head coach and general manager Bruce Arena and his moves at the conclusion of the list.
We will have two to three evaluations per day and focus on what each player did well, what they need to improve on ahead of next season as well as a select thought from the player on their performance and a rating from myself out of four stars.
APPEARANCES IN ALL OFFICIAL COMPETITIONS: GP: 5 [3 in CONCACAF Champions League, 1 in MLS, and 1 in Open Cup], MIN: 293, G: 0, A: 0
RESERVE LEAGUE APPEARANCES: GP: 10, MIN: 712, G: 2, A: 3
HIGHLIGHTS: Rafael Garcia may have been a Supplemental Draft selection, but the rookie midfielder from Canoga Park didn’t take long to impress. Garcia appeared in all 10 Reserve League games for the Galaxy while earning three starts in CONCACAF Champions League play. During those matches, Garcia developed a capable partnership with midfielders Michael Stephens and Kenney Walker that stymied opposition midfielders. But where Garcia was most effective was his penchant for creating counter-attacking opportunities by breaking up attacks and then sending his teammates forward on the attack. His grit and passing ability weren’t his only attributes though as he also displayed a knack for striking dangerous shots from distance, resulting in two goals while with the reserves. Garcia also showed versatility with a few solid performances–in matches like international friendlies against Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur—at right back.
LOWLIGHTS: The only possible lowlight for the rookie midfielder was his lack of participation with the team during the regular season. Garcia made the game day roster just three times with a single appearance, with that coming away to Real Salt Lake on June 20, his MLS debut. However, with a great deal of change in the midfield, look for Garcia to contend for a regular spot next season.
HIS THOUGHTS: “I think that I improved a lot as a player being around all these guys. I’m very excited to get back with the guys and just keep improving. I think that my main focus is to improve and see if I can contribute more next year. I’m excited; I think that it’s going to be more difficult with a big bulls-eye on our backs. I’ll enjoy the offseason and spend time with my family, but then it’s back to work. I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t think about [earning a roster spot next season], but those are the things that up to the coach. I’m optimistic that if I keep improving and do the things that they ask me to do then maybe I’ll see more extended minutes this upcoming season.”
RATING: TWO AND A HALF STARS.
Like his midfield partner Walker, Garcia’s body of work in MLS competition was small, but his contributions in other competitions are important indicators for the future. In his rookie season, Garcia showed that he is already a mature two-way defensive midfielder with the ability to manage a game at a high level. With another year under his belt, Garcia has the potential to develop into a strong defensive midfielder in the Juninho-mold that may very well see considerable minutes for the Galaxy in the years to come. Could Garcia blossom into the midfield general that the Galaxy will need in the future? Only time will tell.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com