LA Galaxy's Gyasi Zardes - vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 8/27/16

Nigel de Jong and Gyasi Zardes will not take the field for the LA Galaxy again in 2016.


Zardes is out for the season with a broken fifth metatarsal in his foot, while de Jong and LA mutually terminated his contract, leaving him free to join Galatasaray.


Both of these players will leave huge holes in the Galaxy starting XI. The good news is that they have had some experience playing without these key pieces this year.


De Jong has started 18 games for the Galaxy this season, missing eight games due to injury or suspension. During his time on the field he has been a key cog in LA’s build-up, as he currently ranks third in pass usage rate among players who have played 1,000 minutes this season.

Will the LA Galaxy withstand the losses of Gyasi Zardes and Nigel de Jong? - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/Usage-Rate-08-31-16.jpg

His loss will mean the Galaxy will have to find a different player to shuttle the ball to everyone on the field. Steven Gerrard is No. 2 on the Galaxy in terms of pass usage at 11.86, which is good for 39th in MLS.


Despite this, it seems Bruce Arena’s team has not missed de Jong much when he’s been out.


There are many problems with looking at team’s performances with and without players. Soccer is a game with 22 players on the field and saying one player changed the result is tough to say definitively. The opponent strength is also a question along with many others. What can be said that the Galaxy have picked up almost twice as many points without de Jong as they have with him.

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With de Jong
Stat
Without de Jong
18
Games
8
22.2%
Win %
62.5%
1.2
Points/Game
2.3

Jeff Larentowicz should become the regular starter at the defensive midfielder position alongside either Baggio Husidic or Gerrard. He should bring a calm presence in the center of the park but doesn’t have the same passing acumen or ability to cover as much ground as de Jong.


The absence of Zardes could hit the club even harder. Zardes has produced .62 goals and assists per 90 minutes this season, close to his career high of .68 back in 2014.


He has missed significant time due to international duty and injury and the Galaxy have started nine games without him. They have not won any of those nine games. They have also scored just .7 goals per 90 minutes when he has not been on the field, as opposed to 1.8 goals per 90 when he has been.

With Zardes
Stat
Without Zardes
17
Games
9
52.9%
Win %
0%
1.9
Points Per Game
.8
1.8
Goals Scored Per 90
.7

To replace him, Arena will likely rely more on Sebastian Lletget who has scored just one goal in his 1,455 minutes. He scored seven last season in 1,449 minutes. Mike Magee and Emmanuel Boateng should also be looked to contribute more.


Can the Galaxy withstand the losses of de Jong and Zardes? Let us know in the comments below.

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