Now that the 2013 season is over, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will look back on the season for every player who was on the club’s roster at some point during the season.
The LA Galaxy Insider Year in Review will begin with players who made the least number of appearances for the club in all official competitions over the course of the year, starting with Brian Perk and Bryan Gaul, who did not make any appearances for the first team this year, and concluding with midfielder Marcelo Sarvas who played in a team-best 42 games for LA this year. 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 one or two evaluations per day and focus on what each player did well and what challenges they faced in 2013 as well as a select thought from the player on their performance and an overall assessment of their season from myself.
APPEARANCES IN ALL OFFICIAL COMPETITIONS FOR THE GALAXY: GP: 31 (22 in MLS regular season, seven in CONCACAF Champions League, one in U.S. Open Cup, and one in MLS Cup Playoffs); GS: 18 (12 in MLS regular season, five in CONCACAF Champions League, and one in U.S. Open Cup) G: 3 (Two in MLS regular season and one in CONCACAF Champions League); A: 1 (In MLS regular season)
APPEARANCES IN GUINNESS INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP: GP: 3; G: 1
APPEARANCES IN MLS RESERVE LEAGUE: GP: 4; GS: 4; G: 2
HIGHLIGHTS: Jose Villarreal developed a knack for scoring remarkable goals in his second year as a professional. Both of Villarreal’s goals in MLS play came against Canadian opponents as each he opened his account against Toronto FC on March 30—a stunning stoppage time scissor kick finish that tied the match 2-2—and against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on July 20. However, Villarreal’s flare for the amazing didn’t stop in MLS as he scored near identical strikes in the CONCACAF Champions League and the Guinness International Champions Cup. Against C.S. Herediano and Spanish giant Real Madrid, Villarreal danced around defenders before lashing left-footed strikes past the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area. In addition to becoming a regular contributor for the Galaxy in 2013, Villarreal also became a factor internationally as he blossomed into a starter with the U.S. Under-20 team making three appearances at the U-20 World Cup. The 19-year-old also provided plenty of production during their CONCACAF qualifying campaign, scoring three goals in four games as he was named to the tournament’s Best XI.
CHALLENGES: Villarreal may have scored several stunning goals, but struggled for consistency for the Galaxy. Despite making 18 starts in all competitions over the course of the year, Villarreal frequently found himself marked out of the game as he was manhandled by bigger and stronger defenders. Villarreal in particular struggled during his three starts against the Colorado Rapids as he found himself unable to create a lasting impact against the physical Colorado defense. He also endured a frustrating scoring draught that lasted from the start of April until mid-July when he found the back of the net in LA’s victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The draught came at the worst time imaginable for the youngster as he failed to score for the U.S. at the Under-20 World Cup as well as in LA’s U.S. Open Cup defeat and a number of regular season games in which his team were forced to play without Landon Donovan or Robbie Keane.
HIS THOUGHTS: “I think that I did an okay job but there are things that I still need to work on and get better, but I feel like I improved from this season to last year. I’ve been learning day in and day out in practice and I’m looking forward to next year. I’m more comfortable on the ball and more comfortable with my teammates. [I need to work] on my understanding and reading the game.”
OVERVIEW: There’s no doubt that Jose Villarreal has the ability to become a top notch scorer in MLS, but to reach that potential, he’ll need to become a more complete player in 2014. Villarreal developed a penchant for scoring breathtaking goals last season but he could not do so on a consistent basis as he underwent several long scoring draughts. In his third year as a professional, the Galaxy will need Villarreal to continue to mature in all facets of his game. Whether it’s taking advantage of his scoring opportunities, helping create chances for his teammates or being more consistent in defense, much will be demanded of the youngster in 2014.
POLL: How would you rate Jose Villarreal’s 2013 season?
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com