The impenetrable fortress that is the StubHub Center has been cracked.
The Portland Timbers came in to the LA Galaxy’s home field on Sunday night and ran through the home side.
The final score was 5-2 all five visitor’s goals in the second half gave Portland a much deserved victory.
Looking forward, there are issues to be addressed in the defensive line for the Galaxy.
The Omar Gonzalez – Leonardo pairing has failed the Galaxy again and again. In the last 6 MLS regular season games the Galaxy have 1 win, 3 losses, and 2 ties. In all those games except for one, those two players started in the back line.
After Leonardo was red carded in a 1-0 loss to San Jose, head coach Bruce Arena was forced to play Dave Romney as a center back the next game. He came up against the hottest striker in the league in Didier Drogba. Romney and company shut Drogba down en route to a shutout 0-0 draw. Not coincidentally, this was the last shutout for the Galaxy defense.
The next four games Arena’s has played the pairing of Gonzalez-Leonardo and the Galaxy have been outscored 11-5. They have been more than doubled up, and this needs to be addressed immediately if the Galaxy are going to make a run at another MLS Cup.
The link between Omar Gonzalez’s form and his selection to the U.S. National team seem to be directly linked. Whenever Gonzalez is selected for team USA his form at the club level seems to go up. However, whenever he is not selected by Jurgen Klinsmann, he looks unmotivated to play for the Galaxy. Although it is natural for a player to be down after not being selected, Gonzalez must find the mental strength to raise his game so that he cannot be ignored. When Gonzalez is on his game, there may not be a better center back in the entire MLS.
Leonardo, the Brazilian-born center back just doesn’t seem up to the task. He is often exposed for his lack of pace and lateral quickness. Leonardo also doesn’t seem very vocal in the back when it comes to organization. These are key traits needed by any defender.
A.J. De La Garza and Dave Romney deserve the opportunity to play alongside Gonzalez in the back line.
Otherwise, this could be a one and done in the playoffs for the LA Galaxy.