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.
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:
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?