Galaxy Prepare for TFC Challenge

Birchall and Co. look to get back to winning ways

birchall_toronto

Photo Credit: 
Kevork Djansezian

It
continues to be a learning process for LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall as
he acquaints himself with players and teams in his first full season in MLS.

The
26-year-old, however, knows exactly what to expect from Saturday's opponent,
Toronto FC. Specifically two players: Chad Barrett and Dwayne De Rosario.
The Toronto twosome were formidable adversaries
the last time these clubs met in a 0-0 tie at The Home Depot Center on May 15,
and Birchall expects nothing less from them this weekend at BMO Field in Toronto.

De Rosario
has a team-leading eight goals and three assists while Barrett has four goals
for Toronto FC (5-4-2), currently third in the Eastern Conference. De Rosario
and Barrett combined for four shots, including one on goal, in the scoreless
tie between the two sides last month.

"I
didn't know much about them before the game, and I was really impressed,"
Birchall said. "He (Barrett) didn't give our back four a minute of time
chasing everything down and he played really well. De Rosario is a great,
skillful player who has a number of goals and is very physical.

"They're
going to be tough."

Toronto FC
certainly was tough last month in Carson.
The Galaxy outshot Toronto
15-7, including 4-1 on goal, but could get nothing past goalkeeper Stefan Frei,
who finished with four saves.

"It
was a combination of things," Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said as he
discussed the game. "They obviously came in here to get a point, although
they had a good chance early in the game with De Rosario. They defended great
as a unit, their goalkeeper made some big saves and we probably didn't do as
well with our chances.

"It
was one of those days where it's a fine line from winning and losing and
getting a point. We needed to be a little bit sharper in front of the goal to
win that game, and we weren't."

Birchall
agreed.

"I
just think it was a mixture of us not being on our game," he said.
"We weren’t passing well and they were tough to break down. We were
probably strong favorites to win the game, and I think they maybe were looking
for a point. Maybe I'm wrong, but with that mentality they were tough to break
down. It was a mixture of us not really playing well and they were tough.

"Sometimes
we haven't played well this season and have picked up three points. We've got
to go into the game confident and try to pick up three points after our defeat
in Salt Lake."

The Galaxy
(10-1-2), playing in its first regular season match since the 1-0 loss at Real
Salt Lake on June 9, have looked sluggish in training this week and Arena has
voiced his displeasure, but Birchall said there is nothing to be concerned
about.

"Bruce
is probably worried, but we're not," Birchall said. "I'm sure every
coach in the league is feeling the same way as Bruce, that they're not training
as well as they were before the (World Cup) break. It's understandable. We had
four or five days off and a weekend off as well.

"The
guys know it takes a few days. I'm sure we'll be fine."