YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Everything Is Albright for Galaxy

Since switching to a wide midfield position, he has three goals in his last two games and has provided a nice complement to Ruiz as L.A. tries to rebound from a shaky start to the season.

July 04, 2003|Paul Gutierrez | Times Staff Writer

Sure, Chris Albright was getting plenty of chances. It was just that the Galaxy forward's shots on goal were usually right at the goalkeeper and summarily smothered.

Enter frustration ... and a position change.

Now that Albright has been moved back to a wide midfield position, he has found his niche.

Going into tonight's match against the New England Revolution, Albright has three goals in his last two games. This after being held without a goal in his first 25 regular-season games with the Galaxy.

He has gone from a punch line to punching it into the net, from not being able to score to being unstoppable.

"I don't know about all that," Albright said with a grin after practice Thursday.

"I think I've had my rhythm the last five or six games. The goals weren't necessarily coming like they were the last two ... so I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing."

Meaning he has to continue serving as a second scoring threat to opponents and complement leading scorer Carlos Ruiz.

"His resolution has been to maybe play a little freer, not think about it so much," Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid said. "I think what he's done ... is he's relied on his athleticism. He's relied on his pace. He's relied on his size. He's relied on his dynamic abilities, his physical things that he can bring to the game."

And that has brought success to the Galaxy, which rode a pair of second-half Albright goals to eke out a 2-2 draw at Colorado on June 25, this after the Rapids scored the first two goals of the game.

Three days later Albright scored again and had an assist, contributing to the Galaxy's 3-0 blowout of Dallas, a victory which moved the Galaxy's record at the Home Depot Center to 3-0-1 and improved his season point total to nine (three goals, three assists). He had one assist last year.

"Some people think that I'm better facing the field and able to run at guys, that I'll probably use my speed a little more that way," Albright said.

"It takes a little more fitness to be out there but I'm getting better every game for that position so that's helpful as well."

Albright, who was acquired in a trade with D.C. United before the 2002 season, had played primarily at forward with the Galaxy after playing wide midfield with the U.S. Olympic team in Australia and at both positions with D.C. United.

"Maybe he's a forward who doesn't score enough goals but he's a wide player who scores more than his fair share of goals," said Schmid, who also coached Albright with the U.S. under-20 team. "And right now he's a wide player who's scored three goals in two games."

Albright, though, deferred to Ruiz, who has 15 points on seven goals and one assist.

"Any time you can get scoring from somebody other than Carlos it's helpful. It takes the pressure off him.

"If a bunch of us can be spread around and Carlos does his thing, I think we'll be OK."

Los Angeles Times Articles