The Los Angeles Galaxy (16-6-5, 53 points) are in Philadelphia tonight to face the Philadelphia Union (7-13-7, 28 points). This will be the Galaxy's first game in PPL Park, and only their second meeting all time against expansion Philadelphia Union.
In the first ever meeting between these two squads at the Home Depot Center on May 1st, the Galaxy used a big first half to cruise to a 3-1 victory. Philadelphia played better in the second half, and have created a hostile environment at home.
Philadelphia can only play the spoiler here, so it will be interesting to see what they find to play for. Of course, shutting down David Beckham and Landon Donovan, not to mention Edson Buddle is going to take the first year team more than sufficient motivation.
The Galaxy lead Real Salt Lake by two points for the Supporters Shield and first place in the west. All other considerations aside, a win against a non-contender is expected of the Galaxy, regardless of where they're playing, and adding another three points to their lead will put a lot of pressure on Salt Lake to catch up with only three games left for Real including this weekend.
With Leonardo and Gregg Berhalter both still listed as questionable, it will likely be Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza in the back, a pairing which worked well together in the SuperClassico. Yohance Marshall got the start against D.C. United and directly contributed to both D.C. goals in an embarrassing match for the Galaxy, losing to a last place team at home in the middle of a stretch run. Dema Kovalenko's injury means another likely start for Michael Stephens, who placed a brilliant volley on a streaking Buddle's foot for the SuperClassico's first goal.
Bruce Arena said after Sunday's match:
"We’re moving forward, starting to get some of our players back, but that’s obviously part of the plan in the last month of the season. We’re 27 weeks in and it hasn’t been perfect, but we’ve been in first place for 27 weeks. It’s not going to be easy the next three games."
Philadelphia's Sebastian Le Toux is Edson Buddle and David Beckham's main competition for last week's goal of the week, with a nice looking cross body strike. Le Toux is also Buddle's competition for the Golden Boot, with 13 goals to Buddle's 15. Each player counts for more than a third of the goals scored by their respective teams.