BY ADAM SERRANO
The Los Angeles Galaxy are going "all-in" in 2011.
After falling short of the MLS Cup the last two years, the Galaxy have loaded the roster with a number of veterans to make another serious play for the Cup in 2011. Veterans Juan Pablo Angel and Frankie Hejduk will look to make major contributions to a potential Galaxy title run and build upon a team that fell in the Western Conference Final last season to FC Dallas.
Angel's performance will be vital for the Galaxy as the club looks to replace the contributions of leading goalscorer Edson Buddle, who departed for FC Ingolstadt. Replacing Buddle's contribution of 17 goals last season and deciding, who will start alongside Angel is just one of the many questions for the Galaxy as the team heads into the 2011 season. Add the uncertainty about who should start in central defense along side Omar Gonzalez, or how the club will deal with fixture congestion and Bruce Arena will have his hands full in 2011.
Here is a closer look at the Galaxy preseason:
Training Schedule: January 24-February 12 at Home Depot Center; February 14-22 in Casa Grande, Arizona; February 24-March 14 at Home Depot Center
Preseason Game Schedule: At Oxnard Soccer Complex: February 8th vs. Portland Timbers, February 10th vs. San Jose Earthquakes;In Arizona: February 16th vs. Colorado Rapids, February 20th/February 22nd vs. Vancouver White Caps; March 3rd vs. Club Tijuana at University of San Diego
Key Arrivals: F: Juan Pablo Angel, D: Frankie Hejduk, MF: Miguel Lopez, F: Jack McBean, F: Adam Cristman, F: Chad Barrett, MF: Paolo Cardozo
Key Departures: F: Edson Buddle, MF: Dema Kovalenko, MF: Eddie Lewis, D: Yohance Marshall, F: Tristan Bowen, MF: Alex Cazumba, MF: Chris Klein
What to Watch for: Seminal to Arena's plans for an MLS Cup run will be depth. After being lauded for their depth during their impressive run at the start of last season, the club's bench came up thin late during the season. Enter, the inclusions of veterans Frankie Hejduk and Adam Cristman, whose play looks to be vital as the Galaxy prepare to play in three competitions in 2011. Last season, the focus was on the club's Brazilian additions, Juninho, Alex Cazumba and Leonardo, but this season, Argentina will be the en vogue nation in the Galaxy locker room. First round MLS SuperDraft pick Paulo Cardozo and recent loan signing Miguel Lopez will look to give Arena more options in midfield.
Of Note: David Beckham will return to the club in Late February after his training stint with Tottenham Hotspur…New Homegrown Signing 16-year-old forward Jack McBean will also rejoin the club in Late February after spending time with the U.S. U-17 team in qualifying…After the departure of Assistant Head Coach Cobi Jones to the New York Cosmos, former D.C. United and Kansas City Wizards head coach taking over as Assistant and Reserve team coach for the club.