CARSON, Calif. -- For the first time since 2005, the LA Galaxy head into the Western Conference Semifinal as the series’ lowest seed, meaning that The Home Depot Center will host the first leg of the two-leg series against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Of the 36 home-and-home series in MLS history since their introduction during the 2003 MLS Cup playoffs, the top seeds have advanced 22 times. Whether this actually classifies a competitive advantage or disadvantage for either team remains a heated topic for debate, but Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant is convinced that it means little.
“I guess that technically it should be, but in reality, it’s not. A lot of times, the only real advantage to having the second leg at home is knowing what you need to do and also having that overtime in penalties, but that’s not a huge advantage,” said Dunivant. “Last year, Salt Lake got up 3-0 on Seattle and it was too big a hill for [the Sounders] to climb when they got home. It can go either way, D.C.. and New York just swapped, and I don’t think that’s going to change drastically what is happening in that series. It is two games and you have 180 minutes to decide who is going through and who is advancing.”
Curiously enough, LA’s opponents in that 2005 series? None other than the 2005 Supporters’ Shield winners, the San Jose Earthquakes.
LA Galaxy released their Friday injury report earlier this afternoon.
Off the list are David Beckham and Landon Donovan, who both went 90 minutes on Thursday, while David Junior Lopes was downgraded from out to questionable with a left facial fracture. Added to the list were Sean Franklin and Christian Wilhelmsson, neither of whom dressed in Thursday’s Knockout Round victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Not added to the list is Brazilian midfielder Juninho, who is optimistic that he will be available for Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal against the San Jose Earthquakes after sustaining a kick to his right Achilles in the closing stages of Thursday's match.
Prior to the injury report being released, head coach Bruce Arena told reporters after Friday's training session that there was a “good chance” that Franklin is ready for Sunday, while the club is taking a wait and see approach on Wilhelmsson’s status. However, Arena admitted that some moves are expected ahead of Sunday.
“I think that we’re going to make changes to our lineup whether those guys are in or out,” said Arena on Friday.
The complete Galaxy injury report is below…
OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms). QUESTIONABLE: DF David Junior Lopes (L facial fracture); DF Sean Franklin (L Hamstring Tightness); MF Christian Wilhelmsson: (R Quad Tightness)
The LA Galaxy Foundation announced on Friday that they will be collecting monetary donations for Hurricane Sandy relief at this Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal First Leg against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Galaxy Academy players and Red Cross volunteers will be stationed outside of each entrance at The Home Depot Center on Sunday from 4 pm to 6 pm to collect donations for the American Red Cross' Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Before we turn the page to Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal match against the San Jose Earthquakes, check out my Three Points to Thursday's 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Agree or disagree with my observations?
Leave your comments below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Down a goal in their Knockout Round match to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Galaxy needed a goal to save their season -- enter Mike Magee.
In the 69th minute, David Beckham played a short corner into Juninho, who launched a cross into the box that found the right foot of Magee, whose volley found the back of the Vancouver net. Just four minutes later, Landon Donovan put LA up for good after a foul in the box by Vancouver's Martin Bonjour led to a penalty gave LA their second and final goal of the night.
Although Magee's postseason success is becoming a regular occurrence for the Galaxy -- his goal was his fourth goal in five postseason games -- the Galaxy attacker can't seem to pinpoint the reason for his success, but what he can explain, is the heightened intensity that the MLS Cup Playoffs bring.
"I feel it," said Magee. "I’m so much more nervous for these games than I am any other, but just as a team, we battle as a team, and I’ve kind of been the beneficiary goal-wise the last two years, but this team keeps battling away. Being down a goal, we had to push and tonight it was my turn."
Magee's teammates Beckham, Donovan, and head coach Bruce Arena discuss his goal below...
DONOVAN: "He’s a type of player that shines in moments like this. There’s something special about players like that, a lot of guys do it when games don't matter or they'll score the third goal in a three to nothing win that don't matter, but Mike
scores goals that matter. He’s done it consistently since he’s been here."
BECKHAM: "That’s what Mike does. He gets in positions – he’s a clever player, he’s a really intelligent player, and we were putting a lot of balls in the six yard box, and I saw Juninho for the short corner and obviously he put it in a position right just at the penalty spot, and Mike was there."
ARENA: "Great goal, obviously an important goal. We're real pleased with the result; not an easy game."
CARSON, Calif. -- Central to the LA Galaxy's comeback from a one goal deficit to defeat Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1 was the play of substitute Marcelo Sarvas.
After coming on for Hector Jimenez in the 52nd minute, Sarvas' quick passes and speed made an immediate impact as he helped draw the attention of the Vancouver defense, leading the opportunties like Mike Magee's game-tying-goal in the 69th minute of play. With Juninho dealing with an apparent Achillies injury, Sarvas may be called into action during Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal first leg against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Sarvas discusses his role in Thursday's Galaxy victory below...
(On playing right back…)
SARVAS: I think in the situation today, we’re behind in the score, everybody has to help in some way, and when the coach asked me if I could play in that position, I didn’t think, just said yes, of course. I’m happy everything worked good and I think I did a good job.”
(On his Instructions from Arena…)
SARVAS: “He asked me to play offensive because they had everybody sitting back and just waiting, so they asked me to play wide and try to cross the ball and to score. To make it 1-1.”
(On LA’s Patience…)
SARVAS: “That’s important to have guys that are used to playing games like that, that you can control the motion, that you can control the time, we were behind because they scored but we had that game controlled. We had the ball possession, sometimes a little bit slow with the ball but we had the game, we just had to score the first goal then we knew that the second would come.”
CARSON, Calif. -- A few notes from Thursday's LA Galaxy 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC
*Vancouver's goal by Darren Mattocks in the third minute was their first against the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. The Whitecaps had been shutout in their last three meetings against the Galaxy at HDC by a combined score of 8-0
*With his goal in the 69th minute, Mike Magee has now scored in four of the LA Galaxy's last five postseason contests. Magee has six postseason goals in his career, all of which have come with LA.
*Landon Donovan's goal in the 73rd minute was his 21st postseason goal of his career.
*On Sean Franklin, Bruce Arena told reporters: "Sean was tight from the game on Sunday [vs. Seattle], expect him to be back. We thought if we played him tonight we could miss him from the rest of the playoffs, so we just made that decision.
*Bruce Arena described Christian Wilhelmsson's injury as a tight right quad that occured in practice on Wednesday.
*Arena also told reporters that he "would expect changes in [his] lineup" for Sunday's match
*Thursday's attendance was 14,703
*Juninho described his injury as an Achillies issue.
*The LA Galaxy return to postseason action on Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes at 6 pm PT before traveling to Buck Shaw Stadium for the second leg on Nov. 7 for an 8 pm PT kick off.
The LA Galaxy may have roared back from an early deficit to defeat Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but the status of Brazilian midfielder Juninho for Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal against the San Jose Earthquakes remains in question.
In the 82nd minute, the Galaxy midfielder was kicked by a Whitecaps defender, causing him to go down and eventually be removed from the match a minute later. Following the match, head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that while Juninho was "a little bit sore," the team expects him to be okay.
When asked, Juninho shared his coaches optimism.
"I'm tired, my Achilles tendon hurts a little bit, but I'm going to rest tomorrow and try to be ready for [Sunday] " said Juninho. "I was just standing there and the player kicked the ball through my legs and when I turned, I was just tired, and my Achilles just gave.
Meanwhile LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan believes that the club must take a wait-and-see approach to the Brazilian's health.
"We’ll see how he is tomorrow," said Donovan. "I think he was tired, his leg had been bother him a little bit so I think it was smart to get him out and hopefully he’s okay tomorrow."
We’re just a few hours away from tonight’s Knockout Round clash between the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, here’s a few links to get you to the opening kickoff.
*Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit attests that HDC is no house of horrors for his team.
TODD DUNIVANT vs. DANE RICHARDS
The wily Galaxy left back will have his hands full as he attempts to shut down the speedy Jamaican.
ROBBIE KEANE vs. JAY DEMERIT
Perhaps the biggest battle of the night, Keane will attempt to use his ball skills and speed to take on the physical Whitecaps defender.
DAVID BECKHAM vs. BARRY ROBSON
The battle of experienced midfielders will be pivotal as LA look to break down Vancouver.
PREDICTED LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, Gonzalez, Meyer, Dunivant; Donovan, Juninho, Beckham, Magee; Keane, Buddle
MLSsoccer.com has begun their voting for 2012 AT&T Goal of the Year and the LA Galaxy have three nominees in the first four group stages.
In Group 1, David Beckham's free kick strike against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sept. 1 faces a number of quality goals, including Darren Mattocks' infamous leaping header against Toronto FC on July 11. In Group 2, Marcelo Sarvas' goal against the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 30 takes on the competition that includes Chris Wondolowski's flick against the Galaxy on June 30. In Group 4, Galaxy golden boot winner Robbie Keane is represented for his classy finish against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 6.
Fan votes will ultimately break down 16 groups of 64 goals down into a final four, before the 2012 AT&T Goal of the Year is announced on Wednesday, November 29. Voting for these first four groups closes tonight at 11:59 pm PT. Groups 5-8 will be announced tomorrow.