Los Angeles Galaxy 2005 quick hits

Galaxy spread over national scene

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2004 Record: 11-9-10, 43 pts. 2nd in the Western Conference
GF: 42 (3rd in MLS)
GA: 40 (5th in MLS)
Finish: Defeated Colorado Rapids in Conference Semfinal (2-1 on agg.); lost to Kansas City Wizards in Conference Final (0-2)

Head Coach: Steve Sampson
Key Departures: Arturo Torres, Alejandro Moreno, Ryan Suarez, Marcelo Saragosa, Danny Califf
Key Additions: Guillermo Ramirez, Michael Umaña, Todd Dunivant, Pablo Chinchilla, Paulo Nagamura, Ednaldo da Conceicao

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

GOALKEEPER
Kevin Hartman: The Galaxy did add some depth at this position by bringing in Steve Cronin, but this really is Hartman's job to lose.

DEFENDERS
Chris Albright:
Has spent a lot of time this preseason with the USA, but that time away should only improve his level of play at right back for this upcoming season.
Tyrone Marshall: Dangerous in the air going forward on set pieces, look for the Jamaican international to lock down the center of defense again this year.
Michael Umaña: Probably would have filled a central defender position even with a healthy Califf in town, but no Califf, no question.
Pablo Chinchilla: His ability to change to point of attack with one touch from a left back role has drawn comparisons to U.S. national teamer Greg Vanney from Steve Sampson.

MIDFIELDERS
Cobi Jones: The man has been nothing short of an icon in L.A., and if he can stay healthy the right flank is his home.
Paulo Nagamura: He is expected to be an upgrade from Marcelo Saragosa last year. Bet on Sampson giving him a chance to prove that in his starting 11.
Jovan Kirovski: Right now Kirovski could fit in the center of the park playing right behind the forwards. He could be flip-flopped with Guillermo Ramirez though.
Guillermo Ramirez: The biggest enigma for Sampson this offseason is he now has three talented central midfielders, and only two spots on the pitch. For now, "El Pando" could play wide left.

FORWARDS
Alan Gordon: Will have stiff competition from new Brazilian signing Naldo Conceicao, but Gordon has been finding the back of the net all preseason, so the early nod goes to him.
Carlos Ruiz: Production may be down over the last couple of seasons, but still has the potential as a lethal weapon in MLS.

Landon Donovan: Arguably one of the 10 best players in all of MLS the past several seasons, how can he not start.

OUTLOOK

The Galaxy struggled to find the back of the net down the stretch last season and that cost them home-field advantage in the conference finals. It's one thing to create chances, it's another to finish them off. Someone or some combination of players is going to have to account for the goal production that Carlos Ruiz had when he tore the league up two seasons ago.

NEWCOMER WITH THE BIGGEST IMPACT: Guillermo "El Pando" Ramirez

The signing of Guillermo "El Pando" Ramirez could prove to be the best offseason signing for any team this year. If the young Guatemalan can play the way for the Galaxy as he does for his national team he could be in for a very big season. Ramirez is a very active playmaker in midfield with a knack for scoring goals. Can he produce Amado Guevara-like impact?

Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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