We're just a few hours away from the LA Galaxy's match against the Colorado Rapids. Before you begin your pregame ritual, check out my links and match ups to watch...
*Robbie Keane is unavailable due to international duty and while LA have a host of options up top. One possibility could see Homegrown forwards Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean together. If they do, veteran Mike Magee has confidence that they can succeed.
*Keane's absence means that Todd Dunivant will takeover the captain's armband.
*Forward isn't the place that head coach Bruce Arena will have to make a change in central defense as he must also replace defender Omar Gonzalez.
*Whoever starts in the Galaxy defense will need to put the brakes on speedy Jamaican forward Deshorn Brown.
*LAGalaxy.com writer Larry Morgan provided his preview to the match against the Rapids.
*Lastly, my Three Points to the game.
MATCH UPS TO WATCH
Deshorn Brown vs. A.J. DeLaGarza
Perhaps the key match up of the night, Brown has been a revelation for Colorado during the first three matches of his career, but he'll face a stiff test in the crafty DeLaGarza. Expect the Galaxy to allow DeLaGarza to use his speed to blanket the quick Jamaican forward.
Todd Dunivant and Colin Clark vs. Marvell Wynne
Not a traditional match up but Galaxy captain Todd Dunivant and Colin Clark will have their hands full with Marvel Wynne, who has been known to create chances with his wide receiver-like speed while blazing down the flanks.
Galaxy midfield duo vs. Colorado's midfield trio
The battle for possession will come down to LA's Brazilian midfield pair of Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho against Colorado's midfield triangle of Kevin Harbottle, Hendry Thomas and Dillon Powers. Colorado will be looking to pressure LA into conceding possession -- perhaps not unlike what Chivas USA did last week -- which means that LA's Brazilian midfield must spread the ball around and open up space in the attack.
Cudicini; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Dunivant; Magee, Sarvas, Juninho, Clark; Villarreal, McBean
Galaxy 2-1. Goals from Villarreal, Dunivant (LA) and Brown (COL).
What is your predicted lineup for the game? What is the predicted score?
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A little programming note ahead of Saturday's LA Galaxy match.
I'll be answering questions from fans during the Access SportsNet: Galaxy ahead of each game televised on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. You can tweet your questions to #GalaxyInsider and they'll be answered by myself, analyst Clint Mathis and host Chris McGee.
Be sure to turn in at 7:00 to catch the show.
In case you missed it, check out last night's incredible highlights of Friday night's U.S. victory over Costa Rica at a snowy Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Watch them below...
What did you think of the performance?
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LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez started and went 90 minutes as the United States earned a 1-0 over Costa Rica in a World Cup Qualifier played in a blizzard-like conditions at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
Clint Dempsey put the U.S. head for good in the 16th minute as he tapped in a deflection forced by a Jozy Altidore shot. Gonzalez and the U.S. return to action on Tuesday against Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. El Tri drew Honduras 2-2 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on Friday.
The U.S. is now in second place in the Hexagonal with three points, one point behind group leader Honduras. Panama is in third place level on points with Mexico and Jamaica with two, but ahead on goal differential while Costa Rica is at the bottom of the group with one point.
Dempsey's goal is below...
LAGalaxy.com's Paolo Ferrari caught up with LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and midfielder Mike Magee to break down Saturday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
Check it out below...
CARSON, Calif. – For the LA Galaxy to earn a result on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids, LA must slow down Colorado’s newest weapon—speedy forward Deshorn Brown.
The rookie forward from Central Florida has excelled during the first three games of his career tallying a goal and an assist in three starts. His first career MLS goal was an opportunistic one as he was able to strip Real Salt Lake defender Chris Schuler before beating Nick Rimando during Colorado’s 1-1 draw with RSL last week.
“I thought have been very good. He’s definitely a threat with his speed to get behind back lines and that’s how they’ve been utilizing them,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “He scored an opportunistic goal against Salt Lake by stripping a defender and having a great finish. He’s a player that we’re well aware of and he’s really had a great start in the league.”
When it comes to marking Brown, Arena is likely to turn to center back A.J. DeLaGarza to stop the Jamaican. Quick in his own right, DeLaGarza is often deployed by Arena to neutralize faster threats and will likely be partnered with Leonardo in central defense with Omar Gonzalez away on international duty.
Although containing Colorado’s speedy Jamaican, defender Todd Dunivant, who will serve as LA’s captain on Saturday, insists that slowing down the Rapids will be a team effort.
“From looking at the video, their team is good at sending in penetrating passes so when they break our pressure and have their head up with the ball and time and space to play, their guys are taking off. Not just Brown, but [Tony] Cascio and [Atiba] Harris too,” said Dunivant. “They like to get in behind and they’ve been successful at it. They’ve had a couple of breakaways and really put ourselves in dangerous positions so we have to do a good job of first getting pressure on the ball and second if they break it, then we have to drop our line.”
LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane enjoyed another strong performance for Ireland as the Irish earned a scoreless draw against Sweden in their World Cup Qualifier match in Stockholm on Friday.
Keane was one of Ireland's most active players on the night, but was unable to find the back of the net before giving way for Wes Hoolahan in the 77th minute of play.
With the result, Ireland remain in third place in Group C with seven points just one point behind Sweden for second place. Keane and the Irish return to action on Tuesday against fourth-place Austria in Dublin.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s normal captain Robbie Keane is away on international duty and in his absence, it will be defender Todd Dunivant, who dons the armband.
Head coach Bruce Arena confirmed following Friday’s training session that Dunivant will serve as captain for Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids. Arena was asked if Dunivant is LA's vice captain for the 2013, but did not reveal that fact.
The match will be the second time that the Colorado-native donned the captain’s armband against the Rapids as the last—and only other—time that he wore the armband, he tallied an assist as LA earned a 3-1 win on June 18, 2011.
“It’ll be cool,” Dunivant told reporters. “It’s the second time that I’ve been captain and the first time was in Colorado. It’s a great honor and I’ll happily take over the duties for Robbie while he’s gone.”
Ahead of Saturday's match against the Colorado Rapids, Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones analyze the LA Galaxy's next match.
CARSON, Calif. - For the second time in two years, the LA Galaxy will visit the White House to celebrate their MLS Cup triumph, but as opposed to last year, the Galaxy will meet President Barack Obama in far better straits than they were a season ago.
In 2012, the club found themselves in seventh place in the nine-team Western Conference with a record of 3-5-2 by the time that the White House visit rolled around in May, but this year, four games into a busy 2013 slate, LA is undefeated in all competitions with a 2-0-2 record.
The record won't be the only difference as the Galaxy will not meet President Obama along as they will be joined by the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, who are also owned by AEG.
"It’s a great honor. It’s great for our two teams, the Galaxy and Kings, the champions of their respective leagues and AEG," said Arena. "It’ll be a fabulous day for our organization so we’re looking for it.”
Although The White House trip will serve as a celebration of last season's achievements, one member of the Galaxy believes that once it is over, it may help the team get into the right mindset for the long 2013 season.
“We got to [visit the White House] last year, but we don’t take things like that for granted so I’m definitely looking forward to it," said Magee. "[The MLS Cup title] is a little fresher in our minds so maybe getting it over with might help us mentally. Last time we were there, we were last place in the world so it’ll be good to put that behind us and get that visit out of the way and focus on this year.”