We're just hours away till tonight's match between the LA Galaxy and the Colorado Rapids.
If the Galaxy pick up a victory, they will move into a tie with Real Salt Lake for the third spot in the Western Conference, a place that LA are clearly gunning for heading into the final months of the season.
Ahead of the match, be sure to check out LAGalaxy.com staff writer Larry Morgan's preview on tonight's match as well as Scott French's brilliant piece on Juninho, who was ranked sixth in MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24.
Last but not least, be sure to check out my Three Points to the match.
PREDICTED LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant; Wilhelmsson, Sarvas, Juninho, Magee; Donovan, Keane
Ahead of tonight's match against the Colorado Rapids, MLSsoccer.com correspondent Scott French published a telling interview with LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan.
Donovan, who expects to play tonight, told French about the Galaxy's ambitions to qualify among the Western Conference's top three seeds and avoid playing in MLS' play-in round.
Below are Donovan's thoughts:
DONOVAN: "We've done a lot of hard work to get back in the mix. All we can control is to keep winning our games. We're hopeful Portland and Dallas and Colorado and Chivas can steal points off some of these guys down the stretch, but if not, all we can concentrate on is trying to win games and keep putting points on the board and then see where we end up. From where we were, top three would be a fantastic result, but we're pretty greedy around here and we want to finish as high as we can. ... “We're definitely not getting ahead of ourselves. The chance to be in the playoffs after 13 games [and a 3-7-2 start] was pretty slim at that point, so we're happy where we are, but we want to keep going and keep pushing.”
LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho has finished six in MLS' 24 Under 24.
CARSON, Calif. -- Finally off the LA Galaxy injury list for the first time since June, Edison Buddle is targetting an expanded role in LA's match on Friday against the Colorado Rapids.
Buddle, who underwent right knee surgery in June, made his first appearance since May 26thduring the Galaxy's victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on September 1st. While the forward admits that he's still working his way back to full fitness, he believes that he can contribute against Colorado.
“I’m ready to play. I’m available and ready to play,” Buddle said following Thursday's training session. “I think that my knee is about 90 percent. Fitness and strength are still to come with the last 10 percent though.”
Buddle may not be completely healthy, but the forward has aspirations of re-gaining a spot in the Galaxy's starting XI.
“I think that it comes with training. I’m pushing hard each and every day in training and I will need to apply that to the games. I don’t expect to go into the games right away unless something happens, but with these guys a little bit fitter than me right now, I have to push myself every day.”
Christian Wilhelmsson is now officially eligible to make his LA Galaxy debut in Friday night's match against the Colorado Rapids.
The club confirmed on Thursday that they have received Wilhelmsson's International Transfer Certificate, clearing the final hurdle for him to become eligible for Friday' game. Wilhelmsson has already received his P-1 visa after traveling to the American Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico on Tuesday.
Wilhelmsson, who has been training with the club since last Friday has already made a pair of Reserve League matches for the Galaxy, but will now be officially eligible to play in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League matches.
The LA Galaxy are continuing to play the waiting game on the status of midfielder David Beckham.
Beckham was absent from training on Thursday in order to receive treatment for a left ankle strain that has him listed as questionable for Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids. The English midfielder's injury first surfaced during LA's September 1st match against the Vancouver Whitecaps and has caused him to miss training all week.
If Beckham is unable to participate on Friday, head coach Bruce Arena has a host of options to fill his place in midfield including the Brazilian tandem of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas, who saw considerable minutes together during Beckham's last absence.
LA Galaxy broadcasters Mark Rogondino and Cobi Jones provided their "View from the booth" preview for Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
Check out the video below. We'll have more later today, including another exciting feature.
A few other notes to end your day...
*MLS announced the eight teams involved in the lottery for Marcus Tracy. The Galaxy are not included.
*Toronto FC have been officially eliminated from postseason contention with their 2-1 defeat against the Chicago Fire.
Below is Todd Dunivant's All-Access interview with Joe Tutino.
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane is back from a successful International stint with Ireland and eager for further success with the LA Galaxy in Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
The Irish forward was a focal part of Ireland's dramatic come from behind victory over Kazakhstan as Keane earned a penalty and then scored to help Ireland earn a 2-1 victory. Keane will hope that he can pick up where he left off before leaving for International duty as he scored either a goal or an assist in his last five appearances -- in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League -- prior to leaving for Dublin.
CARSON, Calif. -- Christian Wilhelmsson made his return to LA Galaxy training on Wednesday after an eventful 24 hours for the Swedish winger.
Wilhelmsson missed LA's training session on Tuesday to head down to Mexico to receive his P-1 Visa from the American Consulate in Tijuana. With his Visa in hand, if Wilhelmsson receives his International Transfer Certificate by Friday -- as is expected -- the Swede will be eligible to make his MLS debut in Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids. The 32-year-old described the trip south of the border as a "different experience" but admitted that the process which took several hours to complete went "quite fast" according to club expectations.
Although Wilhelmsson isn't interested in talking about making his debut, he admits that he is quickly acclimating to the club so that he can be ready if his number is called on Friday.
"It's a little bit different, you just want to try to get into the environment and the team. I need these trainings and I need every minutes, even if it's the reserve games, I need every minute to get to know the team.[Debuts] are always special and I just try to give everything and we'll see," said Wilhelmsson. "It's a great group and everyone is making it easy for me to get along. They're all helping me out so that's great."
While Wilhelmsson is adapting on the field, it remains a work in progress off the field as he looks to get his pregnant wife Oksana -- who Wilhelmsson said should be due around January -- and his one-and-half year-old daughter Naomi settled into life in Southern California.
"That's the tricky part. Whenever you move, it takes a lot of energy to get things done. I'm mentally tired just to get everything settled on that side, but I hope that soon it will be done so I can focus on the game," said Wilhelmsson. "Every where you go, a different culture or a different environment, as long as you have your family around you then you can relax. When you come home from training, it's still the same atmosphere...it's a good feeling whether you are in the desert in Saudi Arabia or in Hollywood. It's very important."