March 15th, 6:30 PM PT, ESPN
In a big day for soccer worldwide – Real Salt Lake and Saprissa meet tonight in the CONCACAF Champions League, and Manchester United and Inter Milan moved on in the UEFA Champions League – Seattle plays host to the MLS season opener, hosting Landon Donovan and the Los Angeles Galaxy. In four regular season meetings between these two clubs, the Galaxy have won 2, lost one and tied one, scoring 8 goals. That stat, of course, includes the Galaxy’s 0-4 drubbing of Seattle last year at Quest Field. Juan Pablo Angel and Chad Barrett have been named as probable starters up front, a completely new look for the Galaxy while featured Edson Buddle and Tristan Bowen up there much of last season. However, with both those forwards off to other pastures, tonight will be Angel and Barrett’s first chance to show Galaxy fans and a national audience that there won’t be any drop off.
“We’re working on it. It takes time to build a partnership. Hopefully throughout the year we get to find that understanding and be good for the team," Angel said. “(Barrett) is a strong guy; he’s a handful and he can score goals. He can run forever. It’s about trying to mix it up and make sure that we offer our best abilities to the team so they can benefit from it.”
The other 9 on the field should be more familiar to Galaxy fans. David Beckham is poised to make just his second appearance in an MLS opening night game, after previous years of the contract were compromised by his time with AC Milan. Gregg Berhalter is listed as doubtful, however it’s Leonardo currently pencilled in next to Omar Gonzalez in the back, not AJ DeLaGarza, despite DeLaGarza having a strong showing at the end of last season. Josh Saunders will likely be starting in place of a questionable Donovan Ricketts, who is impeded by a right hamstring strain.
“Ricketts is day to day,” said coach Bruce Arena. “He took a knock”
The Galaxy concluded their preseason training schedule with a 2-1 victory over UCLA at the Home Depot Center training facility. Juninho and Landon Donovan both scored.