Beckham returns but do the Galaxy really need him?

The big story is that Donovan and Beckham have talked things over and things appear to have been patched up. He is to make his 2009 debut against the Red Bulls on July 16th. But the irony is that the club appears to be doing quite well without him.
The Galaxy have struck a purple patch with Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan, Todd Dunivant, and Mark Magee at the forefront.
Magee, the attacking midfielder who led the Red Bulls to last years playoffs has remained healthy enough to find his form taking over as playmaker, already recording 5 assists and on pace with Beckham’s 2008 assist total of ten at the halfway stage. Of those five, two have resulted in game winning goals. In comparison for all of Beckham’s 2008 assist output, only one won them a match. Even Landon Donovan had more with three game winning assists.
The Galaxy have won three straight against teams that have had their way with them beating the Houston Dynamo, New England, and Super Clasico rivals Chivas. Each one of these wins came through a different player. Todd Dunivant header lead them to a win over the Dynamo, recently acquired striker Alecko Eskandrian came up big against New England, and then it was Edson Buddle’s turn to shoot down Chivas.
More importantly than finding a way to score goals has been the Galaxy’s new found ability to retain that lead through some stellar goal keeping by back up goalie Josh Saunders and the revamped back line led by Bundesliga player Gregg Berhalter and Todd Dunivant of Toronto FC, who returned to the club where he had a standout season in 2005 playing every minute. The two veterans join two rookies to complete the Galaxy’s back four.
The Galaxy’s two Terrapins in central defense Omar Gonzalez and AJ DeLaGarza acquired in the 2009 draft chosen have come into their own. Bruce Arena has been very impressed with their effort.
“I thought Omar Gonzalez was a monster. I thought he had a terrific game,” said Arena, who also praised A.J. DeLaGarza. “It’s good to see those young players improving. They got beat up and got their noses bloodied a little bit in the beginning of the year but I think these experiences have been positive ones for them.”
The club’s improved defensive performance has resulted in only 18 goals given up, the biggest turnaround from last season when the Galaxy could not hold onto any lead as the opposition racked up 62 goals. The attack is also showing signs of life with Donovan’s return, Eskandrian’s introduction and Edson Buddle heating up. Many more goals are likely to come. Beckham brings his undoubted crossing abilities but in this Galaxy team that finally seems to be playing team defense with every player tracking back, Beckham’s equally well known defensive liabilities will be unwelcome.

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