Armchair Analyst: Matt Doyle

Armchair Analyst: Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme and the overhaul of the LA Galaxy

Ashley Cole vs. Landon Donovan World Cup 2010

Welcome to the newly minted Wednesday Q&A series, where we focus on one particular topic – today's being the LA Galaxy revamp – and ask you to react, share, and discuss in the comments section. However, feel free to ask about anything game-related (MLS, USL, NASL, USMNT, CanMNT, etc.) over the next several hours.

It's easy to land somewhere between skeptical and cynical about the overhaul we're seeing from the LA Galaxy.

This offseason they've sold off two long-time starters who are in the respective primes of their careers while bringing in one player (Jelle Van Damme) who's on his back nine and another (Ashley Cole) who's been in the clubhouse for the better part of two years. There's still a giant hole in central midfield, pending the resolution of the Nigel De Jong saga. It's still not clear how Robbie Keane, Gio Dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes will fit together.

A.J. DeLaGarza sent this tweet out a month ago, just after Omar Gonzalez and Juninho had been sold:

The Big Bang Theoryis bad TV, but that GIF adequately captures the sentiment of the Galaxy fanbase at the moment. The team that won three MLS Cups in four years is, for the most part, gone.

We won't know the wisdom of that rebuild until we see what this year and the next several bring, but I can say with a certain amount of confidence that, from a tactical perspective, the pieces mostly fit (new arrivals & guys playing new spots in bold):

GK: Dan Kennedy
RB: Robbie Rogers
CB: DeLaGarza
CB: Van Damme
LB: Cole
RM: Dos Santos
CM: Steven Gerrard
DM: De Jong
LM: Sebastian Lletget
FW: Zardes
FW: Keane

Rogers, who spent the last few years learning left back, is two-footed and should have no trouble moving to right back. Van Damme should be an upgrade in terms of distribution. If healthy, De Jong should provide the kind of protection Gerrard obviously needs at this point in his career. And putting Dos Santos at right midfield would allow for him to cut inside more, changing the structure of what LA does from a 4-1-3-2 to more of a 4-2-2-2 (they're boxy but they're good).

Is that enough? Impossible to say until we see them play a little bit. Nobody can really claim to know how much gas Cole has in the tank or how much he'll care, and Gerrard's struggles last year were myriad and well documented. Plus I just proposed a formation that asks Gio to play defense, which is traditionally death.

That's where the skepticism in Galaxydom comes from, and I can't blame them for it. I can't even blame them for their cynicism, to be honest -- I get it.

But I also get this:

Now let's talk.

Ok folks, thanks for keeping me company. See you next week!