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Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in LA Galaxy, MLS, Philadelphia Union, Recent | 0 comments

Union vs L.A. Galaxy, by the Starting XI

L.A. Galaxy Are defending champions of MLS, and pursuing a repeat of that feat again this year.  I watched the highlight package of their first leg 3-0 victory over Seattle at Home Depot Center and it got me thinking about the Union’s lineup.  We who follow Union hope that our team will contend for MLS Cup very soon, so I wanted to take a look at L.A.’s lineup that they started in Leg 1 v Seattle against the first-choice XI of Philadelphia’s.  I wonder who of the boys in blue would be able to crack Galaxy’s starting lineup…

Goalkeeper:

I’ll start this like lineup cards do:  from the keeper forward.  I like Zac MacMath, but Josh Saunders is one of the best keepers in MLS.  He got his personal issues that plagued him at the outset of the season under control, and has returned to good form.  L.A. let Donovan Ricketts leave and kept Saunders as the backbone of a title-contending team, so that should tell you something.  Zac would not be able to supplant him as the starter.

Fullbacks:

 Sean Franklin and Todd Dunivant are serviceable veteran MLS players who aren’t make-or-break for their side.  Sheanon Williams and Gabe Farfan are serviceable young MLS players who aren’t make-or-break for their side.  Williams would possibly get the nod over Franklin on the right, but Dunivant would start over the midfielder-forced-to-be-left-back Farfan.  This segment is a push.

Centerbacks: 

Omar González is an excellent young defender, worthy of hitting the USMNT radar recently.  Tommy Meyer is a guy I’ve never heard of.  Carlos Valdés is Union’s captain and a 2012 MLS All-Star for a reason.  Amobi Okugo is the midfielder-forced-to-be-centerback that has paid off tremendous dividends because of his versatility, on-ball skills, and natural defensive awareness.  I would say it’s a toss-up between Valdés against González, slight edge to the Union skipper, and I’d take Okugo over Meyer.

Wing Midfielders: 

L.A. started Christian Wilhelmsson and Mike Magee and they’ll be compared to Danny Cruz and Michael Farfan.  I like the feistiness of Farfan and the work ethic of Cruz, but Magee has scored more goals in this playoff season than the Union wingers did all regular league season.  Results matter, therefore, neither Union player would supplant the Galaxy player.

Central Midfielders:

Juninho and David Beckham start in the center of the pitch for L.A.  Union would send Michael Lahoud and Brian Carroll out there if they had a match today.  It’s a good thing for Lahoud and Carroll that they play for Union, because neither would see time in front of the Galaxy tandem unless there was a 5-goal lead or a severed limb.

Striker: 

Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.  It doesn’t matter who I submit in this post for comparison from the U.  I know there are people who aren’t particularly impressed by Keane’s gymnastic antics that he celebrates his goals with, but he ranked #1 in the Castrol Ratings as the only player higher rated than MLS’ leading scorer Chris Wondolowski.  That’s gotta mean something.  (The Castrol Ratings… does that mean Keane is the best lubricated player?  Least tendonitis?  Well hydrated?  *shrug*).  And Landon Donovan is this country’s all-time leading scorer and 4-time MLS champion.  The bottom line here is that I wouldn’t take 3 Union players over the L.A. duo, even if it allowed me to have 12 players on the field.  Jack McInerney would be having flashbacks of Seba LeToux and Carlos Ruiz keeping him affixed to the bench if he were on L.A.  Freddy Adu?  Don’t even get me started…