Don't call them the Wizards, and whatever you do, don't call them The Wiz. Kansas City's MLS franchise has rebranded once again to coincide with the opening of their new soccer specific stadium, so tonight the Los Angeles Galaxy (4-2-5, 17 pts.) get to welcome for the first time Sporting Kansas City (1-4-1, 4 pts.). Kansas City boasts a national team member in Teal Bunbury and of course there is local connection Kei Kamara, who played his college footie at CSUDH, but Sporting Kansas City has little else to put on the marquee, earning just four points so far this season. One has to feel sorry for the club, they're on a ten game road trip to begin the season as work is finished on Livestrong Sporting Park. The last time a MLS club started out the season on an extended road trip was 2006, when the Chicago Fire were waiting for Toyota Park to be finished. Their last match was a 1-0 loss in New York.
"It’s important that we win to get some confidence and to collect points so we don’t get too far behind the rest of the league," Omar Bravo said. "We know that we have many games at home following these road games, but we can’t afford to leave points behind."
The Home Depot Center seems like an unlikely spot for a confidence building exercise, as so far the Galaxy are unbeaten in four home matches this season. But the last few years Kansas City was quite the thorn in the Galaxy's side, defeating the Galaxy at the HDC and drawing with them in KC last year. In fact, the Galaxy haven't defeated Kansas City since 2008, a 3-1 win in Carson. Since then, Kansas City have won 3 and drawn twice. Kansas City will be without Omar Bravo, but it's unlikely that the LA club will overlook KC.
It'll be important to keep an eye out for who Bruce Arena decides to start at forward. Landon Donovan extended his goal streak to 5 goals in 5 games in the brief trip to Philadelphia midweek, as has been solely responsible for the Galaxy's ability to put balls in the back of the net as of late. Not that he's been without assistance; David Beckham and Juninho have been key in the middle, while Omar Gonzalez (recently ranked 4th in the MLS Performance Index) and Donovan Ricketts have kept the opponents goal tally low (only 2 goals allowed at home this season). However, Juan Pablo Angel has yet to truly show up for this season, leading to the increased pressure on Donovan to score goals. Chad Barrett and Miguel Lopez proved a goal producing combo, but one can only sit their DP forward for so long.