Galaxy one shutout shy of tying MLS record

LA third team in MLS history to start season with three clean sheets

The LA
Galaxy have a chance to tie an MLS record in Saturday's game against Real Salt
Lake at The Home Depot
Center.

Another
shutout -- the Galaxy have three in three games -- would tie them with the 2007
New York Red Bulls for the most consecutive shutouts to open a season. The
coach of that team was Bruce Arena, who happens to be the Galaxy's current
coach, but he isn't interested in any records.

Nor is he
interested in reminiscing.

"I
haven't given it a thought, to be honest with you," he said when asked to
compare the defenses. "I don't even know who the defense was in New York, to be honest
with you."

How well is
this year's defense playing? Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts has made only three
saves in three games, and didn't have to make any in last Saturday's 2-0
victory in Houston.

Veteran
left back Todd Dunivant said the key to the unit's success is limiting
opponents’ chances.

"You
can look at all the games," he said, "and we've really kept teams at
bay in terms of shots and good scoring opportunities. When you do that and you
have a goalkeeper like Donovan to bail you out once or twice a game, that's a
pretty good recipe for success. So far, so good.

"We've
had a good back line, we have some depth there and it's encouraging. It's a
team thing, not just the back line. It's a team mentality and we've carried
that over from last year."

 

THEY’RE BACK

Saturday's
game not only was the Galaxy's third consecutive victory, but also marked the
return of veteran midfielder Jovan Kirovski (sidelined with a strained medial
collateral ligament in his left knee) and forward Alan Gordon (strain in his
left hamstring).

Kirovski,
who suffered the injury during a preseason scrimmage against San Diego State
University. came on in
the 83rd minute in Houston
as a substitute for Chris Birchall.

"It
was great t be back in the mix" said Kirovski, who turned 34 last month.
"The knee is feeling good, the team is doing well and I'm happy to be
back. It's been pretty tough, but now I feel confident."

Kirovski
said it doesn't get any easier sitting and watching from the sideline.

"You
still want to play, the team's doing well and you want to win," he said.
"We have a good group here and we know our roles. The competition is
tough."

 

HAMMER TIME

Goalkeeper
coach Ian Feuer still keeps close
tabs on English Premier League side West Ham United, where Feuer played in 1994-97
and again from 2000-2002.

West Ham is
trying to avoid being relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship, the second tier
of English soccer. The Hammers, who earned a crucial 1-0 victory over Sunderland last Saturday, are tied with Wigan Athletic
for 16th place in the Premiership with 31 points, barely out of the three-team
relegation zone. Portsmouth, which is last with 14 points -- including being
penalized nine points for financial problems that almost forced it to be
dissolved -- already has been dropped. Hull and
Burnley are next with 27 points, followed by West Ham and Wigan.
Bolton has 32 points and Wolves are next with
33.

West Ham
have four games left in the season, starting with a trip to Liverpool
on Monday. That is followed by an all-important six-pointer at home with Wigan
on April 24, away to Fulham on May 1 and the season finales at home against Manchester City on May 9.

Feuer
believes the Hammers will make it.

"Yes,
I think so," he said. "I'm absolutely, almost 100 percent
positive."

 

HIS KIND OF TOWN

Midfielder
Mike Magee is a Southern Californian now, but he hasn't forgotten his Chicago roots, specifically his allegiance to the Windy City's
sports teams.

Magee is a
huge Bears fan, followed by the Bulls, Cubs and Blackhawks, who just qualified
for the NHL playoffs as the second seed in the Western Conference.

Magee said
he was introduced to the hockey by his uncle, Kurt Calabrese, and admitted he's
never been on ice skates, but he does enjoy watching the Blackhawks play.

"To be
honest with you, right now, I like them second-most," he said of the
Blackhawks, who open the playoffs on Friday against the Nashville Predators.

He said he
watched a few games at old Chicago Stadium, where the Blackhawks used to play,
and got to meet some of the players when the Blackhawks played the Kings at
Staples Center a couple of weeks ago.

And the
Blackhawks' chances?

"I
think they'll do well," he said. "They're young and fast and they can
match anyone's intensity."