Before the season, there wasn’t much about Major League Soccer I felt sure of. I wasn’t sure how my favorite team, DC United, was going to respond given all of its offseason acquisitions and the makeup of the attack.
I had a thought that San Jose might continue to develop into a decent little team. Wrong.
I had a thought that Real Salt Lake would contend in the West, with last year’s experience behind them. Wrong.
I had a thought that Chicago would be at the top of the East. OK, only four points out and certainly were solid out of the gates.
But there was a thought that more people that just me had. Guests on our Fighting Talker podcast shared it, and it seemed like a pretty valid expectation.
The Los Angeles Galaxy were going to suck. Like, suck in the fashion of what we now have from the New York Red Bulls.
Yet, here we are, entering the final third of the regular season, and the Galaxy are more than a little bit healthy, sitting in second place in the Western Conference with 31 points (admittedly still a clear seven behind leaders Houston) and barring a 1995 California Angels like blow-up, should make the playoffs this season.
The Galaxy. The playoffs. That used to be synonymous back in the day. And yes, MLS is old enough now that you can use the phrase, “back in the day.”
Of late for the Galaxy, though, not so much. They haven’t been the flashy offensive machine that some Galaxy teams were through the club’s history – hell, they only have 25 goals through 20 games.
But LA has only allowed 21. That’s a shocking number to me. The big thought on the Galaxy before the season started was that it didn’t matter how much attacking talent they acquired, and it didn’t matter if Landon Donovan stayed for the whole season and if David Beckham came back – their defense was going to be so horrible that they had no chance to succeed.
Only two teams in the league, Chivas USA and the aforementioned Dynamo, have conceded fewer goals than the Galaxy.
Los Angeles were on the wrong end of many jokes earlier in the season because of their love of 1-1 draws. But now, at 7-3-10, their record looks more respectable than comedic. Somehow, coach Bruce Arena’s club has used the likes of Todd Dunivant, Omar Gonzalez (rookie), A.J. DeLaGarza, and Gregg Berhalter, along with some minutes from 91-year-old Tony Sanneh, to solidify things. That, combined with a bit of a renewed attack through Donovan, Beckham (when he’s not politely conversing with fans), and nice contributions from Eddie Lewis, has the Galaxy on strong form.
You’re not a fan? I’m not talking to you.
Los Angeles is 5-0-1 in its last six league games. They are now suddenly stalking the pace in the West. They actually have a defense. They might be the most dangerous team in MLS.
God, that’s scary.