We didn’t forget about Three Questions. You may have noticed there were a few large storylines down in LA this week. Let’s get right into six key points to the match between the Seattle Sounders at LA Galaxy.
Mike from LAG Confidential answers Three Questions. We did not exchange lineups due to time constraints and the knowledge we would be wrong.
SaH: How do you feel about the return of Sigi Schmid?
LAGC: Excited? Optimistic? I'm trying to channel The Dude and be as philosophical as possible.
Some media have criticized the move as regressive, but in a way Sigi returning to LA represents the growth and maturity of MLS. The story of the longtime successful manager coming back for Round 2 is a familiar one in more prominent leagues, it was only a matter of time before it happened here.
It was also the right call. Look, no one is denying Curt Onalfo was given a tricky hand and tasked with guiding a young lopsided roster decimated by injuries and call-ups.
What sealed Onalfo's fate was the lack of any tangible progress. Last year newly minted Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic was assigned with managing a dumpster fire of a roster. While they didn't make the playoffs that year, from the beginning there was a cut-clear plan that was put into place and executed, and the team markedly improved as the season progressed. To a lesser extent, Mike Petke has achieved similar results with Real Salt Lake.
During Onalfo's short tenure, there was no forward progress, nothing that hinted at a brighter future. LA were simply anemic.
SaH: What's going on with the abysmal home record?
LAGC: Well Dave...the Galaxy aren't very good. Specifically, LA have been playing as individuals, which has negative effects all around the pitch. The likes of Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes have been completely ineffective in attack, and the back four is unable to defend as a unit.
I suspect this is why the Galaxy have struggled mightily at the StubHub Center, where as the home team LA were expected to play their style of football with confidence, but neither the style nor the confidence were ever there.
SaH: Who is the low-key star on the team?
LAGC: Romain Alessandrini. One of the best wingers in the league, but snubbed by the All-Stars.
LAGC: Seattle have won three straight, scoring at least three goals a match along the way. What's clicked for the Sounders?
SaH: The depth that struggled after being overused early in the season is again clicking. When used infrequently players like Jordy Delem are adequate, but the early season leaned on so many depth players that they were eventually overwhelmed. Since then the spot performances look much better.
Combine that with a team that is now playing for each other, rather than counting on either Dempsey or Lodeiro to do everything things are quite bright these days. Additionally, the recent surge of Cristian Roldan continues his history of dipping into trying circumstances, possibly struggling, and then succeeding. He's a fast learner and is rapidly becoming part of the core of the team.
LAGC: I felt for Jordan Morris earlier in the season, who was clearly struggling with a recurring ankle injury. After his performance in the Gold Cup final, would you say he's finally fully recovered?
SaH: Yes. The last couple games before he left to dominate the Gold Cup he was healthy and except for the first half against Jamaica he looked every bit of the player that won the Rookie of the Year, if not better. While there is still some lingering question about his best role with the Sounders there should be no doubt that he is more than a starting quality player in this league. He can change games, and does not need many touches to be effective.
LAGC: Clint Dempsey's contract expires at the end of the year. Will the Sounders re-sign the 34-year-old?
SaH: Probably. Dempsey is tearing the league apart this year. While he may never satisfy some fans, there is a lot of value to an organization that can know that one of their DPs will get 10+ goals and 6+ assists every single healthy years. Now that he's fading from starting every USMNT match his value to his club increases. There will be times Arena doesn't call him into camp. Sounders will benefit from that as either Dempsey rests, or he embarrasses a team (like the Rapids a couple weeks ago). He won't be MVP quality in 2018 (after he reads this he'll go into rage-mode and prove me wrong). He will be a strong contributor to a team that has enough options to give Clint space to try shit.