Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake
Saturday, June 13th, 2009 – 7:30pm
TV: DK, FS-PT, Match Center
Radio: KLAC, KWKW
Los Angeles Galaxy
Conference Position: 5th (--)
League Position: 11th (--)
Last Match: 2-1 @ Toronto FC
Next Match: @ San Jose (trip info here)
Real Salt Lake
Conference Position: 6th
League Position: 12th
Last Match: 1-1 vs. Colorado
Next Match: @ Houston Dynamo
09/09/08 – Los Angeles 2-2 Salt Lake
05/06/09 – Salt Lake 2-2 Los Angeles
Within the oddly scheduled calendar of Major League Soccer, Los Angeles and Salt Lake meet for the second and final time in the regular season this weekend. For the blue and white, the match represents the second game of the four which the team will have to face without Los Angeles and United States national team Captain Landon Donovan. Galaxy will once again rely on hard work and collective football if it hopes to build in the successes of its last outing in Canada and extend the early season point and finally position itself in a spot for the playoffs.
The Big Two in the Big Three
Oh to dream… and dream we did last season as Galaxy fans across the league enjoyed dreams of the Galaxy’s league best offense with something, anything, and anything at all better than the league worst offense.
For a team that missed the playoffs by 6 points, two games of solid defending may have done the trick and may have very well turned losses into victories and could have stopped Los Angeles’ streak without playoffs at two.
Unfortunately, ‘what if’ are the two most tragic words in the English language and Galaxy had no defense to match its offensive firepower.
Key to Galaxy’s attack were it’s “big three”: Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle and Alan Gordon. At 20 goals, 9 assists, 15 goals, 3 assists, and 5 goals, 7 assists respectively, the three strikers accounted for over 70% of the team’s goals last season. Add David Beckham to the equation and suddenly we’re talking about almost all of the Galaxy’s offense last year.
This season began with the offense missing a big piece. Edson Buddle was sidelined to injury for a considerable part of the season, and has yet to truly earn his spot in the starting line-up.
As a result, Galaxy’s attack has suffered, and the team, collectively, has struggled going forward. All pressure has fallen on the shoulders of Landon Donovan, and Alan Gordon has failed to deliver upon being thrust into the starting XI.
Oh to dream… and dream we have this season as Galaxy fans across the league enjoyed dreams of Galaxy’s newly found defensive unit with something, anything, anything at all from the team’s offensive exploits from last season.
Fortunately for Galaxy fans, just as it seemed all hope was lost with Landon Donovan’s call-up to the US National Team, and Alan Gordon could not deliver as a starter, and Edson Buddle could not regain his form, the “Big Two” in the “Big Three” answered the call.
Alan Gordon delivered the best performance he has had with the Galaxy perhaps since his two goal effort against Chivas USA over a year ago, and Edson Buddle followed his first goal of the season with another.
With both players showing enough to believe them both to be MLS level starters this past weekend, Bruce Arena’s outlook in the attacking end just got a lot brighter.
To have these players scoring goals does volumes not only for the team’s current situation, but puts a much more colorful tone on the team’s fate as the season progresses. If Galaxy can combine last season’s offensive firepower with this season’s orderly defending, the playoffs may soon be part of LA’s vocabulary once again.
It remains to be seen whether Bruce will want to have the big two out on the field at the same time, or if he will revert to his ‘big man + little man’ system and use either Buddle or Gordon on the field in number 9 role with either Mike Magee or Jovan Kirovski playing as a number 11.
Galaxy will probably be riding high this week as the team heads home to Victoria Street and hosts Real Salt Lake, and the two sides could not come into this match with more different stories to tell.
On the one hand, a Galaxy side that’s been building steadily all season long, adding points at almost every outing, and slowly unearthing each and every last one of the benefits that may come from patience.
On the other hand, a Salt Lake team that is slowly running out if it and whose owners’ fingers are starting to get a little itchy with only three points having been obtained from the last seven matches,.
With the win in Toronto, Galaxy is now over a month away from their last league loss. Los Angeles actually has to look back through 10 different rivals to find its last defeat.
Meanwhile, Salt Lake’s last victory was a clamorous 6-0 ravaging of the New England revolution almost a month and a half ago.
To add to these streaks, Galaxy will also be looking to extend another streak, particularly favorable to this rival, as Los Angeles goes for it’s fourth straight match without a loss to the ‘Royals’.
Galaxy Injury Report
- TBD -
Caasi Gohd’s Expected Lineup