Beat

01 November 10:25 pm

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."

01 November 4:46 pm

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.

*David Beckham attests that this is no last hurrah for the Galaxy and there are no favorites in this series.

*LA has their handful as they look to break down the organized and counter-minded Whitecaps

*Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit attests that HDC is no house of horrors for his team.

KEY MATCHUPS:

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

Lastly, check out my Three Points to the game

01 November 11:37 am

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. 

You can vote and view the goals here.

31 October 2:54 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Vancouver Whitecaps FC entered the postseason in less than impressive fashion, but according to their Knockout Round opponents, the LA Galaxy, that is of little concern.

Over the last ten games, the Whitecaps have earned just one win—a  4-0 drubbing of Chivas USA—, but when the schedule is extended to the last 17 matches, Vancouver has won just three times. To add to their end of the season woes, the Whitecaps have earned just one road win since July—a victory over the Colorado Rapids on July 4—going 0-7-2 in that nine game span.

Although that Vancouver have had their recent struggles,  Galaxy midfielder David Beckham, who has played in his share of postseason and Cup matches over his career, admitted that there were such things as “underdogs” or “favorites” in a playoff match.

“People will be looking at them, maybe, as the underdogs, but I don’t see it that way,” said Beckham. “There are no underdogs in a one-off game in my eyes. They could come here and think that they’re playing in another stadium, all the pressure is off of them, and they’re going to come here and hopefully beat us.”

With that in mind, Beckham stated that there was no chance that LA will be overlooking a talented Vancouver side.

“Not in our locker room, none of our players are in that state of mind,” Beckham added.  “We have to believe that we are very cautious of Vancouver because we know that they can play and cause us problems, and score goals.  They have players that have played in Europe and played in big games in their team. So we’re well aware of their firepower and we’re well-aware that they’ll get every man behind the ball on every attack, so it’s up to us to be patient, but break them down when we can.”

If the Galaxy do bypass Vancouver, then they may be forced to where the title of underdogs as they look to defend their MLS Cup title, after having played an extra match then the rest of the Western Conference field.

However, according to Robbie Keane, the Galaxy are turning their back to such thoughts, choosing to focus on the task at hand.

“We don’t really think too much about it because we’re playing at home tomorrow. Obviously, it’s certainly an advantage for us when you’re playing in your home stadium. Listen, after this and hopefully we qualify for the final, its home and away until we get to the final…We’ll just continue and concentrate on tomorrow, and hopefully get a good win so we can look forward after that.”

31 October 2:16 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are aware that they’ll need to bring an attacking impetus in Thursday’s Knockout round match against Vancouver Whitecaps.

In Vancouver’s scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake, the Whitecaps conceded the ball to Salt Lake, allowing RSL to control 69 percent of possession. But through an organized 4-2-3-1, Vancouver negated many RSL attacks, and in fact enjoyed the finest chance of the night as a Darren Mattocks header was called back for offside.  

As the Galaxy prepare for Thursday’s Knockout Round match against Vancouver, they know that they must find a way to break down the organized Whitecaps, but also be wary of their speed on the flanks.

“We have to assume that the way that they’ve spoken and the way that they played last week in Salt Lake is indicative of how they’re going to come here, and play,” said Galaxy captain Landon Donovan. “If that’s the case, then two things need to happen. We need to be patient and very alert when they counter. They have two very dynamic attacking players in Dane [Richards] and Darren [Mattocks] who can really make you pay if you’re not alert. We have to be on our toes in that way and if a goal doesn’t come early, and we’re putting pressure on then we just got to be patient and keep going.”

While breaking through a Whitecaps defense anchored by defender Jay DeMerit promises to be difficult, LA are confident that they will be able to unlock Vancouver.

“That’s why we have good players here. We have players that can see situations and make things happen," said Keane. "If you look at the players that we have in the squad, we have players that are quite capable of unlocking defenses so it’s up to us. Who knows how they’re going to play, they might come out, and go for it all or they might sit out and catch us on the counter attack. We won’t know until tomorrow."

31 October 1:48 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The Home Depot Center has hardly been a place of success for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit attests that will not be on the mind of the 'Caps by the time that Thursday's Knockout Round match against the LA Galaxy kicks off. 

In their two-year history in MLS, Vancouver have gone 1-3-2 at The HDC with their one defeat coming against Chivas USA in March, 2012 while their record against LA is 0-3-0 with zero goals scored. Although the Whitecaps are relishing their role as an underdog against the defending MLS Cup Champion Galaxy, DeMerit assured reporters after Wednesday's training session in Carson, that the venue was not going to be in the back of the Whitecaps' mind.

"Hopefully, we come in with a different mentality. We have won here, so it’s not like we have a jinx and we haven’t won in this stadium," said DeMerit. "I’m hoping that we don’t blame it on the stadium, but blame it on the opponent. What we can do is know that we have prepared for the opponent in the right way. Hopefully, the tactics will work and now we’re just looking forward to getting out there and battling it...It’s a great stadium, it’s a great surface. Some surfaces are harder to play on, but this one is good. We can get the ball down when needed and it’s always a good climate."

31 October 12:00 pm

CARSON, Calif. –  The LA Galaxy have accomplished much during David Beckham’s tenure with the LA Galaxy, but as LA’s core enters the postseason for the fourth consecutive year together, there’s little doubt in Beckham’s mind that there is still much left to accomplish.

After re-signing with the club in January, Beckham has enjoyed another impressive season, playing in 24 matches while accruing seven goals, and nine assists. But even though the Englishman and LA have qualified for the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year, some have questioned when it will be time for the veteran-laden Galaxy to re-tool, and look to the future.

However, Beckham is paying little attention to those calls that say the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs may be a last hurrah of sorts for LA.

“Who knows, people said that last year. People said that we won the championship now and maybe it’s time to move some of the older players on, and start fresh. Sometimes that is the truth, but it’s been great for the last three or four years that we’ve all stayed together,” said Beckham.  “It brings stability because if you’re with players for long enough, you get to know them on and off the field. It makes when you win a championship more special than anything. Who knows, it could be.”

When asked if this season could be his last, Beckham played it close to the vest stating that he’d rather wait until after the postseason to see how his body feels. That being said, the hyper-competitive Beckham adamantly stated that –potentially—winning two MLS Cup titles is not nearly enough for him.

“It doesn’t matter how many times that I win; I’ll always have that hunger,” said Beckham. “Even when I stop playing, I’ll have hunger to do something better and be the best at something, and always be successful. No matter where I am, no matter what age I am, no matter how many championships that I’ve won, I still wake up and still want to win another championship every year. That hunger is always going to be there."

31 October 10:55 am

CARSON, Calif. – In 2011, the LA Galaxy entered the MLS Cup Playoffs on a high as Supporters’ Shield winners, who went undefeated at The Home Depot Center en route to an MLS Cup title.  But this season, the Galaxy overcame a slow start to enter the playoffs in the Knockout Round, where they’ll face fifth-seeded Vancouver Whitecaps FC.  

Galaxy captain Landon Donovan and defender Todd Dunivant have been in this situation before and admits that there are some parallels. In 2005, LA snuck into the postseason as the Western Conference’s lowest seed and then embarked on a dream run to the Final, knocking off the Supporters’ Shield winning San Jose Earthquakes, Colorado Rapids, and New England Revolution as LA captured their second MLS Cup title.

“We had a certain confidence about us and a certain inner-knowledge about our team,” said Dunivant. “If you look at our team, we had an awesome team, maybe under performed in the regular season, but made no mistakes in the playoffs.”

Although a shocking moment like Guillermo “El Pando” Ramirez’s goal in extra time of the MLS Cup final with the Galaxy’s cadre of superstars and renown role players, Dunivant believes that experience is analogous to LA’s current situation of, perhaps, underperforming in the regular season.

“Yeah I’d say that 3-8-2 is underperforming to start the year and we’ve righted the ship since then, so all that doesn’t matter,” Dunivant said. “We’ve done what we needed to do to get into the playoffs and now it’s time to make it count when it matters most.”

But according to Donovan, the difference is the amount of experience that LA’s current team have as opposed to the side that won the 2005 final.

“I guess the difference is that we have the experience of having done it and so that really helps. At the end of the day, if you play well it doesn’t matter, but if you play well, it doesn’t matter, but if you play well and get into certain situations then you can always draw back on, “okay this is what we need to do in certain situations, if we get down a goal, if we get down two goals, if we go up a goal, if we go up two goals.”

“We know how to manage it and we know how to win games when they’re knockout games when they’re knockout games, and your season is over if you lose,” Donovan added.  “We know how to handle that and if we play the right way then that might be a huge advantage for us.”

31 October 6:55 am

The LA Galaxy issued their official injury report on Oct. 30, but unlike previous weeks there were no changes.

The complete report is below...

OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); DF David Junior Lopes (L facial fracture); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (L ankle soreness); MF Landon Donovan (L knee bone bruise)

30 October 2:53 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- After Vancouver Whitecaps FC earned an important scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 26 with his Scottish Designated Player duo of Barry Robson and Kenny Miller on the bench for most of the match, the Vancouver Sun speculated  that  'Caps head coach Martin Rennie may leave the pair on the bench for  the start of Thursday's Knockout Round game against the LA Galaxy. 

Both players joined the Whitecaps in July and almost immediately immersed themselves in Rennie's starting XI with Robson playing 17 games with three goals and two assists, while Miller participated in 13 matches, notching two goals and one assists. But even though Miller and Robson are integral pieces in Vancouver's offense, the Galaxy are waiting for the Whitecaps  to make the first move. 

"We'll just have to wait and see, they obviously had a good performance on the road in their last game," said defender Todd Dunivant. "Those guys didn't start, but they obviously came in and contributed. I wouldn't be surprised either way."

While Dunivant admits that Rennie could decide either way, Associate head coach Dave Sarachan believes that LA will see the two Scottish DPs on the field at some point on Thursday. 

"We'll see them, I'm not sure how it's going to play out whether they're starters from the beginning of the game or they're brought into the game," said Sarachan. "I would find it hard to believe that we don't see them in one capacity or the other."