7:30 Home Depot Center, TV: PrimeTicket
Carson, CA -- The Los Angeles Galaxy (13-4-4, 43 pts.) welcome the Kansas City Wizards (6-9-5, 23 pts.) to the Home Depot Center where the Galaxy are 6-1-2 on the season. The Galaxy lead the all time series 21-16 with 10 ties. The first meeting between these two teams, in Kansas City back on April 24th, was a nil-nil tie.
The Galaxy are still in the lead for the Supporters Shield, but only have three points on Columbus after last weeks loss. Todd Dunivant and Gregg Berhalter have been upgraded to questionable. Dunivant is probable for Saturday's match, but Berhalter will stay on the sidelines with David Beckham.
"I don’t know exactly what it is. I don’t think the doctors know either," Arena said. "Nothing has changed since the last time we’ve seen him. He’s ill. We don’t know exactly what it is. That’s the job of the doctors."
Hungarian midfielder Zoltan Hercegfalvi is out with a right knee sprain. Chris Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, and Juninho are all on next yellow card warning.
The Wizards have only defeated the Galaxy once in the last five years, a 2-0 victory in Kansas city back in 2008, with the Galaxy taking 5 of 11 in that span. The last time the Wizards won in Los Angeles was June 5, 2004.
The last time these two teams met their defenses had only given up two goals between them, and once again the defenses were the tale of the game, with the Wizards having the only real chance off a rebound in the box, but Kei Kamara slipped and knocked the ball over the line with his arm. The Wizards lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, the last time these two teams met.
The Galaxy have lost two of their last three, with last weeks loss coming off a 4' goal by Chris Wondolowski off a ball in the box with Donovan Ricketts failed to either coral or have one of his defenders clear. Leonardo started in place of Gregg Berhalter and is likely to get the start again. Mike Magee will likely keep the starting spot he took from Tristan Bowen when he came off injury.
If the Galaxy are going to win Saturday, they are going to have to stop giving up on balls sitting in the box.
"That's certainly a game that we gift-wrapped for them," Arena said. "No question about that. Our start of the game was poor and it cost us in the end. That's a game we really should have gotten three points out of. But we didn't, and there is nobody else to point the finger at but ourselves."
The other factor the Galaxy must contend with is playing relaxed when every team in the league wants to take a shot at them.
"We know every team that plays us as if it's their MLS Cup Final," Landon Donovan said. "They'll be more up for this game than any other game. Once we match that [intensity], we know we're the best team in the league and we'll let the other parts take over."
The Wizards find themselves in fifth place in the East, and are looking to continue the momentum from a 4-1 win against New England and parlay that into a playoff spot. Birahim Diop, who started his first game for the Wizards last week, scored twice in that game. Last year, Diop was playing for a New York based amatuer club called FDR United. His last appearance in MLS play was 8 years ago, when New York was still known as the NY/NJ Metro Stars. Doip played the target striker role, with Kei Kamara stayed wide on the attack as Teal Bunbury is still out on suspension. No word on whether Bunbury's suspension was a result of Algernon's bunburying.
The Wizards have lost just once in their last six games, but face a tough task on the stretch run, as six of their next nine games are away from home.
"We’re pushing the envelope a little bit. Like I said, performances are one thing, and results are another. We’ve had a lot of good performances as of late, if you look at our last six games," Vermes said. "It’s all about us finishing our chances. ... It’s not a question of whether we can create chances or not, it’s a question of whether or not we can finish chances. If we can score, we can take the pressure off of having to be clean on every single thing."
The win pushed them infront of New England in the Eastern Conference standings, and put them five points away from a wild card spot, with ten games remaining.
"This is very big. They had, what, 21 points and we had 20 coming in? We’re just trying to push up into a playoff spot. That’s what we’re playing for," Kamara said. "Winning a game like this, knowing we have an away game next week, it’s great for us."
Both LA and Kansas City share a dubious honor, with neither team recording a win after giving up the first goal, and neither team coming back from a deficit at half time.