tBG) The LA Galaxy we see now doesn't seem as formidable as the Galaxy teams of the past. Is LA a team on the decline, or has it just had a rough time lately?
LC) It's been hard for LA to establish a rhythm, with two planned bye weeks before they added a third to make room for Champions League play. Couple that with a slew of unexpected injuries to begin the year, and then national team duty for Donovan and Gonzalez, it's hard to even say who the 2014 LA Galaxy are yet.
On points per match, after spending a match-in-hand on a win Wednesday night, the Galaxy are actually fourth in the West on points-per-game. That's not exactly the juggernaut that LA has been in recent history, but it's not quite the crisis that folks are looking for.
The team is certainly getting older. Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan are a core that have been operating at the highest level for more than a decade and are certainly prone to wear and tear. Omar Gonzalez seems to be thinking about every one of his myriad of possibilities at all times. It's less decline then the quiet moments after success.tBG) What changes are we likely to see from Bruce Arena due to the World Cup call-ups as well as the mid-week fixture?
LC) Well Landon Donovan being cut from USMNT camp is the bombshell that keeps on giving. As of writing this, the beat in Los Angeles doesn't know when Donovan is scheduled to arrive back in LA. However, it feels safe to assume that if Donovan was training for a friendly on Tuesday, he should be good to go for an MLS match on Sunday.
Arena went back to his 4-4-2 on Wednesday, but Donovan's return could mean going back to a diamond with Donovan as a CAM or a forward. Another change I would advocate for is replacing Stefan Ishizaki with Robbie Rogers. Ishi looked tired on Wednesday, and it's past time to see if Rogers can be a contributor for LA in 2014. If I were Arena I'd also consider swapping out Dan Gargan for Oscar Sorto, for similar reasons.
tBG) Who is a Galaxy player that flies under the radar that Philadelphia should look out for?
LC) Arena is starting to roll out the youngsters again, so if you see a player name Raul Mendiola come into the match he's a guy to watch. He's been courted heavily during his youth career, and has demanded a spot on the senior squad with his play despite the existence of LA Galaxy II. Think about that for a moment. AEG created a whole different team in a different league just so youth players wouldn't be rushed into the senior squad, and Mendiola broke that model in about two months.
Starting XI: Jaime Penedo; AJ DeLaGarza, Tommy Meyer, Kofi Opare, Dan Gargan; Robbie Rogers, Juninho, Stefan Ishizaki, Gyasi Zardes; Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane
Score LA Galaxy 10 - Philadelphia Union 3.5