What’s a Galaxy with two less stars?
Without David Beckham on Sunday, the LA Galaxy cruised past Chivas USA with a 4-0 victory. But how will the Galaxy fare sans the Englishman and the creator of all four goals from their last match?
The Galaxy travel to Columbus to take on the Crew Wednesday in a midweek match falling on a FIFA date, one of the many MLS does not stop play for. With forward, and recently named MLS Player of the Week, Landon Donovan called into action for the US men’s side in Mexico the same day, the Galaxy will have to live without their captain fresh off his career-high four assist performance against the rojiblancos of Chivas USA, in addition to Beckham, who is just returning from his duties as Olympic ambassador.
On the bright side, Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena had the luxury of reuniting his stellar back four from last season’s championship team against Chivas USA for the first time this campaign.
With defender Omar Gonzalez fully fit, Arena dropped David Junior Lopes in favor of pairing AJ De La Garza with his former Maryland teammate against their Home Depot Center mates, while Sean Franklin returned from midfield to right back and Todd Dunivant returned from injury to his usual spot on the left side of the backline. The result? The Galaxy’s 5th shutout of the season and easily the most comfortable the team has looked at the back in quite some time. Without Beckham and Donovan and away from home, the backline will likely be called up once again for a stellar performance, as the Crew boast the stingiest defense in the league. With Robbie Keane being hot and cold at best all season, LA may have trouble mustering a multi-goal performance – although the Irishman did find the net in the Superclásico.
For the Crew, they are coming off trading a win and a loss apiece with the East’s DC United and Sporting KC. They’ve shown to be staunch in defense of their own goal, but characterizing them as languid in attack is not too much of a stretch. And although he is the lesser known Higuain, Columbus could have really used Federico Higuain in attack against the Galaxy but due to passport issues their newest designated player will have to wait for his debut until the weekend.
The Galaxy are clinging on to the West’s final playoff spot, but with so many teams having games in hand, it goes without saying that every point is vital. The last MLS Cup champion to not make the playoffs the following year was the Galaxy back in 2006. This year’s team will be hoping to avoid that legacy at all costs. Expect a tight affair in Columbus, with LA hoping Keane packed his shooting boots.