LA 3 – RSL 1: An Unsung Performance

It is never our goal at FFG to regurgitate game coverage and analysis you’ve read at every other site out there. No doubt you’ve read endless praises of Beckham’s distribution and Donovan’s “intentionally quiet” strategic performance. All well and good, but scratching just a little deeper below the surface we dug up what we think might be a more important and very unsung performance of the night: Juninho.

His absence was certainly felt in leg 2 of the Conference Semifinal vs NY when he served his suspension, and we documented here how much harder Beckham had to work in order to manage the midfield. On Sunday, however, with Juninho back on the midfield joystick, Becks was free to concentrate on his distribution and LA could count on a little Brazilian flair. Juninho had a remarkably well-rounded performance on both sides of the ball, which we’ll support here with numbers. First, take his nearly perfect passing distribution of 42/45 (in contrast to Beckham’s 28 unsuccessful passes).

Juninho was incredibly consistent as a center of gravity along the center of the pitch.

Though he didn’t take on a play-maker role (only one of his passes was labeled as “key”), his defensive numbers show the little Brazilian broke up the RSL attack with persistence and gusto, tallying 6 interceptions and 13 recoveries.

Juninho capped off an overall great performance with 6 interceptions, 3 clearances and 13 recoveries.

One other revelation of the night worth noting was Keane’s persistent ability to threaten. It was easy to joke up until now about his inability to finish off goals (how many times has he hit the woodwork this post-season??!!), but the fact that he broke through with a beautiful 1 v 1 display for the nail-in-the-coffin goal should give Galaxy fans great hope that he’s about to come into form at the most perfect moment. But Keane brings more than just a striker’s appetite for goals to the mix–on Sunday he showed how his world-class experience brings class and vision to the team as well. Here’s a chalkboard of his team-high 4 key passes:

The Irish international can set 'em up too.

Stay tuned for our extensive tactical preview of the MLS Cup Final, in which the performances of Juninho and Keane will be just as important as those of Becks and Landycakes.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Blake Owen says:

    I haven’t watched this one yet, but, wow, from those stats Juninho was amazing. What’s remarkable to me is all of those completed passes in the final third.

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