2009 Recap: I must come clean. I loved the Gals in 2009. I had hated them so long, I thought I could never love them again, but, sure enough, Bruce Arena won me back. The Gals had 16 new players on the roster, but once again the only two anyone ever talked about were LD and Becks. They managed to co-exist peacefully (for the most part) after a very bumpy start. Their chemistry inspired the team to succeed, and succeed they did. It was a fairy tale season.
Well, it was a fairy tale season with a nightmare ending. Losing to RSL on penalties stings everyone associated with the Gals, including the fans. Instead of finally proving he was the best MLS player in history, Donovan Baggio-ed the ball into the upper deck. Instead of proving himself to be a legend of the game, Beckham looked more like a whiny, coddled superstar (which is appropriate, because that is what he is). They had a chance to make history, but no one remembers runners-up.
Top Players: Becks actually wasn’t a top performer for the Gals, unlike Donovan who scored 12 goals in 25 games. It wasn’t just that LD had a nose for the net either. His ability to tire out defenses cannot be measured statistically. Youngster Omar Gonzalez was very good on defense, but the Gals MVP in 2009 (assuming it wasn’t LD) would have to be Donovan Ricketts. The old man posted 9 shutouts in 26 games, and he ended the year with an impressive 1.03 GAA.
Symbolic Stats: There are so many stats to choose from here, but I will just give you the two I think say the most. First, LA gave up only 31 goals in 2009 (2nd in MLS), which is half their 2008 total. But, their most telling stat to me is that they were the best team in the league when they scored first (12-0-1), meaning no one – yes, no one – ever beat them from behind (insert Beckham joke here if you like). Arena and his team refused to give in. They deserve the accolades they are receiving.
Wait, one team (RSL) finally did beat them from behind.
I guess all things must come to an end (hint, hint Beckham…)
2009 MLS Season Review: