The Los Angeles Galaxy are missing injured center back Omar Gonzalez, the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, badly during the 2012 campaign. A statistical rundown shows that Gonzalez's big frame was more important than anyone anticipated. The results so far this season beg the question of whether or not the Galaxy should have gone for a central defender during the early transfer window.
First, consider the statistical impact of Gonzalez. Our side gave up almost another goal per match when Gonzalez was not in the lineup last season. When Gonzalez did not play in 2011, the Galaxy gave up 1.6 goals per game. This season, the Galaxy are giving up 1.62 goals per game. While this year's team gives up virtually the same number of shots on goal as last season, twice as many of those shots are finding the back of the net in 2012. Gonzalez led MLS in blocks, interceptions and clearances last season, which isn't surprising given that he was the league's best defender.
The defensive pairings have resembled a revolving door as the back line experiments have been continual. The goalkeeper situation has also been in flux. The Galaxy have had no shutouts this season after tying the league record last season. Surely, the biggest mistake in the offseason was not signing the best center back the team could afford, right?
The truth is, I don't know that the Galaxy had that much money left after bringing in striker Edson Buddle and re-signing midfielder David Beckham. The money issue is likely why the team traded to get defender David Junior Lopes. As much as the defense has struggled, maybe the real issue is the offense. The Buddle pairing with Robbie Keane hasn't worked. The offense has produced just 1.08 goals per game in 2012 after scoring 1.35 goals per match in 2011. Both Buddle and Keane seem to perform better when they are the lone focal point. Now that Buddle is injured, maybe the Galaxy will start thinking about another option at forward either with a trade or in the transfer market.
More from Patrick Johnston:
Andrew Wiebe, "Life without Gonzalez proves tough for LA", MLS Soccer.com
Stats from MLS Soccer.com
- Sports & Recreation
- Omar Gonzalez
- Los Angeles Galaxy
- Edson Buddle