The LA Galaxy (1-2-0) travel to the heartland this weekend to take on Sporting Kansas City (4-0-0) at Livestrong Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Since the opening of Livestrong Park last year, Sporting KC has been on a tear in MLS; overcoming a 10 game road trip to begin the season last year, making the playoffs, and now starting off the year with three straight victories. LA will try to spoil their quest for five straight wins.
Kansas City is just the sixth MLS team ever to win four straight games to begin their season. The Galaxy have done it three times (1996, 1998, 2010), DC United did it in 1997 and Real Salt Lake pulled it off in 2011. LA's streak in 2010 was ended in Kansas City with a 0-0 tie, so now the Galaxy will look to return the favor.
If Kansas City can emerge victorious in front of their home crowd, it will be the first time since 1998 (Los Angeles Galaxy started out 9-0, though the first win came via shootout) that a club has earned five wins to begin the season. In 1996, Los Angeles earned eight straight outright victories before earning a shootout win over New England and extending the streak to 12-0.
SKC earned their fourth win over Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on Sunday. In that win, Graham Zusi recorded his MLS leading fifth assist in a 1-0 victory. He has recorded an assist in every game this season.
LA have allowed seven goals in three MLS games at The Home Depot Center after the 1-3 loss to New England on Saturday. The team allowed just eight goals at home all of the 2011 MLS season. Clearly something has gone terribly wrong in the back.
The big story out of LA's 1-3 loss to New England was Bruce Arena pulling David Beckham after halftime, as well as Marcelo Sarvas, in favor of a more defensively minded midfield. After the game, Arena said it was nothing specific to Beckham; that he would have substituted all eleven players if he could have:
"I’m sure he’s not pleased about it but that’s not the issue in the game. The issue for the game was 11 players for New England soundly outplayed the 11 players for the Galaxy."
LA and Kansas City have played to draws in the last three games at Kansas City, since the 2009 season. SKC has won at home just once vs LA in the last seven years; a 2-0 win September 13, 2008.
For more on the LA Galaxy, check out LAG Confidential.