Like other new players, Ramirez stresses that the team needs time to gel.
“He’s gone beyond what I expected for a rookie,” notes an impressed Sampson.
“Cobi Jones didn’t score a goal all last year and then scored a goal in his first home game of this season,Jimmy Smith Jersey,” Sampson remarks. “He’s on his way back as well, and we’re very pleased about that.”
Though Alan Gordon is presently injured,Graham Harrell Jersey, other forward options for Sampson include Michael Enfield, Joseph Ngwenya, Herculez Gomez and even Quavas Kirk, once he is free from youth national team obligations.
“Ugo and Tyrone [Marshall] have shown that they can work well together in the middle. I think that Chris Albright is obviously very successful there on the right side, getting up and down the field and Todd [Dunivant] is continuing to try to really take control of that left back.”
“He definitely plays to the level of the players around him,Reggie Wayne Colts Jersey. You get players like Tyrone [Marshall], Chris Albright and Michael Umana and others around him and he just shines.”
“I think that our ability to communicate was a lot better,Nick Mangold Youth Jersey.”
“I think his first strike on goal was a goal - two goals and an assist [in the game]. I think he showed why we wanted him and why he is such a great player. But he wasn’t really 100 percent, so we look forward to even better things from him.”
Of course, I miss him a lot,” notes Ramirez, “but obviously, Carlos isn’t here – who scored the majority of goals. And now we have to work with what we have. Perhaps the Brazilian [Ednaldo da Conceico] will have a chance. I think he’s a good forward.”
Sampson admits that his new players are facing difficulties meshing as a team.
Hartman also notes improvement in a key area in the second match.
“It’s going to be a total team effort. My position as winger means I have to try to send in good passes to the forwards so they can score.”
Of course,Nike Packers Jerseys, unlike the media guide, few teams will be able to pretend Donovan isn’t on the Galaxy now. Despite the lingering effects from an illness, he made his presence known in the home opener against Salt Lake.
“I think that there are good players here. But we’re missing that time together. We’ve got to get to know each other and do things better, as teammates.”
“He’s a good player and we understood each other well. I sent him a pass near the goal and he scored.”
Sampson was impressed, though he expects even more.
“Jovan’s willing to play that role, just to get on the field. That position is not really his natural position, with his back to the goal like that, but I thought he did a very good job.”
With so many new additions to the squad, the Galaxy stalwarts, such as Albright, feel an increased responsibility to create a team bond.
“I think we’re communicating more and have been able to kind of develop some chemistry in the back and realize what our jobs are – what the centerbacks have to do, what the outside backs have to do and be a little more on the same page.”
“Michael Umana and Pablo Chinchilla, these are guys that are starting to get to know the players, starting to understand the language. Maybe I put a little too much pressure on Umana, coming back from the Costa Rican national team, where he really hadn’t played and then I expect him to have rhythm and to play well.”
by Andrea Canales
In an attempt to put his best players on the field, Sampson is willing to play them out of position, as he proved by making Kirovski a target forward against Real Salt Lake.
“I like the speed of our team,LaMarr Woodley Jersey,” Sampson says. “I like that we can bring players off the bench - whether it be Mamba Chisoni on the left hand side or Naldo up top.”
The Los Angeles Galaxy media guide doesn’t have any mention of Landon Donovan –the player many consider the best in the U.S. was added too recently – the guide was already printed. Similarly, teams will have to readjust their preparation plans for a Steve Sampson-led squad that bears little resemblance to the Galaxy team of last year.
In the Galaxy’s debut match against Columbus, the defense was exploited repeatedly, leading to a humiliating 3-0 loss. The poor marking at times revealed an out-of-sync backline.
“He’s got the entire respect of the coaching staff and of the players. I think he’s a great liaison between the players and myself, aside from being a very good player on the field and one who has very high standards for himself and for others. That’s what you want in a captain.”
Albright agrees that the defense is finally coming together.
“Pando is the type of player who loves to get the ball and go right at the defense, and feels very comfortable getting into the penalty area. He’s equally as good with his left foot as he is with his right. You would think that he’s a naturally a left-footed player. He’s not. He’s a naturally right –footed player, but he’s very comfortable playing on the left side.”
It’s not as if the Galaxy don’t have any actual forwards, but in order to add Donovan, they traded away their proven goalscorer, Carlos Ruiz, who is also the Guatemalan national teammate of Ramirez.
Where the Galaxy really have a wealth of riches is in the midfield, where Donovan, Jovan Kirovski, Cobi Jones, Guillermo Gonzalez, Ned Grabavoy, Mubariki Chisoni, Paolo Nagamura, Guillermo [Pando] Ramirez, and Pete Vagenas will all jostle for playing time.
Ugo Ihemelu, the Galaxy’s athletic first-round draft pick, started on the backline the following game against Real Salt Lake, a 3-1win for the Galaxy.
Ramirez plays well at both the center and left mid spots, which gives Sampson even more positional options.
Sampson took team chemistry into account when picking Vagenas to captain the Galaxy.
Jones also played as a forward in the same game, scoring off an assist from Donovan.
“I take on a little bit more of a leadership role and a veteran role and hopefully lead by example. We have a lot of new young talent, so we’ll bring those guys along as well.”
Veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is one of the few holdovers of the 2004 team.
Though they haven’t trained together long, he notes that he is able to work well with Donovan.
Even with a stellar midfield, Donovan and Ramirez are probably automatic starters when healthy, though Donovan may also see time in the striker spot.
With depth and versatility, Los Angeles can face opponents with a different look to their line-up and formation every week. Though the Galaxy may be unsure where the goals will come from, the options will leave teams guessing as well, especially those who had grown used to focusing on primarily shutting down Ruiz.
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“Usually people come and go a little bit at time, and you continue those relationships, but the turnover this season was fairly prolific. We also miss the guys who have gone. But now it’s an opportunity to welcome the new players, to really try to get this thing together and really make a go of it.”