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Galaxy need more from goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini

Jul 29, 2013, 5:05 PM EDT

Chicago Fire v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

You don’t see wily Galaxy boss Bruce Arena make too many personnel mistakes, which is a big part of the reason Los Angeles is walking around with the last two MLS titles stuck in its back pocket.

But it sure looks like the Galaxy has made one with goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, who just has not been what the team needs him to be this year.

In the briefest job description, goalkeepers need to offer two things: make all the routine plays and then supply a big stop or two per match, the kind that turns a loss into a tie or a elevates a tie into three points.

Surely, that’s what Galaxy management thought they had in Cudicini, the Italian veteran who was third man in the goalkeeping order with Tottenham when L.A. imported him in January.

But Cudicini just isn’t making many big stops. Even more concerning, some of the goals getting past the 39-year-old ‘keeper look quite soft. Watch at the goal he allowed Saturday Colorado’s Dillon Powers. Credit the Rapids rookie for a nice-enough finish. But if you are a Galaxy fan, you’d like to see Cudicini stand his ground there, make himself “big” and perhaps knock this one away.

Instead, he falls away rather meekly. This was the second goal in a 2-0 loss; if Cudicini makes the stop, perhaps L.A. can hang around long enough to squeeze in a road equalizer. As it is, a two-goal deficit on the road suddenly feels like a tough, uphill climb.

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Here’s is a good example of how Cudicini could have done better. Watch Sporting Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen stand up, present a tougher target, a turn away a similarly angled shot Saturday against Montreal:

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Back to Cudicini. And then Camilo’s goal from last week. Again, Camilo’s breakaway shot is OK, but perhaps no outstanding. Cudicini gets a palm on the ball, but not one that’s strong enough to stop the Vancouver forward’s shot.

And, clearly, Cudicini is  not happy with himself on this one. I suppose self-awareness counts for something, eh?

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  1. talgrath - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    It’s very possible age is catching up to Cudicini, 39 is old in soccer terms, even for a goalkeeper (that usually have a longer career). There is no shame in retiring, everyone ages and you can’t play forever.

  2. tammyinlalaland - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    I get that it is easiest to blame Cudicini but those clips don’t support your position at all.. They highlight the fact that the outfield players for the Galaxy have been disastrous, especially the back line.

    The first clip shows, Cudicini 1-v-1 with an attacker with zero coverage. He clears the ball into the Rapids 3rd and then it is within 5 (YES FIVE) seconds, back with him 1-v-1 with another Rapids attacker.. It has also touched 4 Rapids players and zero Galaxy players even made an attempt to stop the attack. There was zero attempt to challenge the ball from the midfield or the backline of the galaxy or to stop the attack. That is not a goalkeeper issue, that is a team failure.

    The second clip shows the LEADING scorer with a circumference of 15 yards around him at all times from before he gets the ball until he shoots. Not a single galaxy player tries to put a body on him, mark him or get the ball away. They have coverage attempting to come from the other flank but will never get there… Cudicini attempted to at least cut the angle on Carmelo’s shot, which is the most anyone on that team did to stop him.

    If you look at it, very few of the goals Cudicini has conceded are his failures, a few have been god-awful on him but … mostly they are mindboggling ridiculous failures of the outfield players to mark on set pieces. It is not even just the super young players, but vets like Gonzalez who has been WOEFUL this year and Franklin who was supposed to be on Camelo and well you see how that worked out.

    They lack anyone to play holding/any defensive mid responsibilities, McGee was fantastic as part of his play. No one seems to be able to hold up the ball and clean it errors before they are disasters. That is the main different between the last several teams and this one.

    The GK role is the least problematic at this point, honestly

    • Steve Davis - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      Its a fair point … lots of things going wrong for LAG. But I have written on some of those before! This is a blog that specializes in 400-500 word analysis. You get it all (hopefully!), but it comes in appetizer portions, spread out over hours, days or weeks. In other words, I can’t write about ALL of it in EVERY post.

  3. tammyinlalaland - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Valid point… :)

  4. tridecagon - Jul 30, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    It looks to me like just a lack of timing. On the second goal in particular, Cudicini comes off his line too early, and then gets caught in no-man’s land when the shooter pulls up. There really wasn’t enough defensive pressure to bother the striker on either of the goals, though – and when that happens, keepers have little chance and often look foolish.

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