It's time for another 3 questions installment, which has actually turned into 6 questions this time around. I again did not get any questions submitted for me to answer, but I went ahead and asked 6 total questions to fill out the content of a normal exchange. I worked with Ryan Rosenblatt over at LAG Confidential for this article.
Sunday will be a big match for both teams. The galaxy are coming off a late, heartbreaking loss, and the Fire will be looking to accumulate another win during this run of good form. David Beckham will again play his "fear of Chicago card" and serve a 1 game suspension for kicking a ball at a player and attacking a mascot in their recent loss to San Jose. For Fire fans, it's not a surprise that he will miss his 4th straight game at Toyota Park. Fortunately, there is still plenty of other Galaxy players to give our wrath to. First question is below, and the rest after the break. We'll see you back here for a match preview and gamethread on Sunday.
Hot Time In Old Town Asks LAG Confidential
1. The first question is from one of the HTIOT readers. If you had to name 2 players to watch for on Sunday, who would those players be and why? (via Ruben Tisch)
The obvious answer is Omar Gonzalez. He played 45 minutes on Wednesday in his return from a torn ACL and was very good, but it was only 45 minutes. Will the Galaxy bring him back on short rest for another 45 minutes or even longer? Nobody knows, but he certainly makes the LA defense a heck of a lot better.
The next guy to keep an eye on is Robbie Keane. He's been sensational, as he was against the Whitecaps, or absolutely dreadful, as he was against the Union, with little in between. LA has done a good job creating chances, but a poor job finishing them and a lot of that falls on Keane.
2. Many LA Galaxy haters are enjoying the club's struggles right now. I am confused as to how to read LA. They aren't used to being mediocre/bad. Do you think in recent games they have rebounded and will find their form? Do you think the team is just not as good as billed in the pre-season? (via Ben Burton)
It's certainly not as good as it was billed in the preseason. Besides losing Gonzalez to a torn ACL, his backup Leonardo has also been out and it has showed. Meanwhile, Keane and Edson Buddle proved to be a mismatched strike pairing because neither had the speed to stretch the defense and create space in behind them.
LA has won the battle of the midfield in a lot of matches and created more chances than their opponents. That's led some to say that the Galaxy took some tough or "undeserved" losses, but that is hogwash. They are poor in front of goal and have had three or four horrible defensive plays a match. That will lead to a lot of losses and it has.
Lately, Landon Donovan has been playing up top with Buddle out injured and he's been able to stretch the defense. That's created space in behind him for Keane and the hope is that Gonzalez can settle the defense. They can still be good, but they have problems and while there is hope they can be fixed, they haven't been fixed yet.
3. Why does Chad Barrett seem so low in the LA depth chart that he can't seem buy a start? Is his field goal average still good like it was here in Chicago? (via Rudy Gomez)
Because he isn't very good. It's that simple. His touch and finishing are dreadful and he kills a lot of plays with his inability to link up. With Buddle and Keane, the thinking was that they would make up one of the most dangerous striker partnerships in the lead and be able to play through the middle with them as well. Obviously, that hasn't happened.
As many flaws as Chad Barrett does have, he is fast and a hard worker. That means he can stretch the defense and will likely get some more time going forward when Donovan isn't up top and is in the midfield. He may be devoid of skill, but he has a use and it is one that the Galaxy need.
4. The latest rumors have Frank Lampard looking at a move to the Home Depot Center. What would you say are the chances of such a move happening? Since the Galaxy already have their three designated player slots filled with Donovan, Beckham and Keane, which player would most likely be headed out of LA? (via James Coston)
I don't think it happens. I would be shocked if David Beckham or Robbie Keane left, meaning Donovan is the only option. He would like a permanent move to Everton and if Lampard could be locked up then I think the Galaxy would be willing to sell, but the Toffees are short on cash and I don't think they can afford him. Unless they somehow come up with the money then I don't think Donovan goes anywhere and as a result, Lampard isn't coming in.
5. Defender Omar Gonzalez made his first start since suffering a torn ACL while training abroad on Wednesday. Will he be enough to stabilize a Galaxy back line that has been shaky at best (via James Coston)?
You've got to think he will. After all, if Gonzalez returns then LA will have the same defenses that they had last season when they were nearly impenetrable. Of course, there is a difference between Gonzalez just being back playing and being the dominant defender that he was last year. If he is as good as he was last year or at least close to it then yes, the Galaxy defense can improve, but that is asking a lot of a guy coming off of an ACL tear. Unfortunately, that is what LA is banking on.
6. This has to be asked: what is up with David Beckham always missing games at Toyota Park? Do you think this is just coincidence or maybe something more? Do you feel the just announced 1 game suspension (which he will serve vs. Chicago Sunday) was fair? Many fans seem to take the view that MLS is scared or unwilling to discipline Beckham like other players because of his name. What do you think? (via Ryan Sealock)
He probably thinks Toyota Park has turf so that explains that. Honestly, the suspension is light and I think everyone agrees with that. He should have gotten two matches at a minimum and three was probably the fair number. That said, in past years I don't think MLS would have suspended Beckham at all so while there is still a double standard it is getting better.
Bonus: Score Prediction and who will get the goals if you want to.
Dominic Oduro's speed burns the Galaxy defense for two and Chicago wins 2-1.