View from the Booth

Mark Rogondino breaks down showdown in Salt Lake

Kirovski goal celebration vs Houston

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora

It
has been said that records are meant to be broken, and that seems appropriate
right now for the LA Galaxy.  The Galaxy
have the opportunity to set a new MLS record for longest unbeaten streak to
start a season Wednesday night in Utah when
they face Real Salt Lake. 

This
will be the second meeting of the year between the clubs, with LA earning a 2-1
win back on April 17.  But in an odd
twist, or call it a Hollywood script, the Galaxy will have to beat the team
that dealt them their cruelest defeat last season, I’m speaking of course of
Real’s win on penalties in the MLS Cup Final, to set a new mark in the MLS
record books. 

I
like it.  A solid performance, leading to
another win would be the perfect way to cap the almost half a season played
before the World Cup break.

Real Salt
Lake is primed for the rematch,
however.  They have put together a recent
run in league play and like LA are very solid at home.   Their most recent performance— a 0-0 draw
with D.C. United on Saturday— finished a busy week in the nation’s capitol that
included a U.S. Open Cup defeat to D.C. United in extra time and a trip to the
White House to meet President Barack Obama. 
Needless to say, it had to be a relief to finally return to Salt Lake
City, train at their own grounds, eat at their local spots, and with out a
doubt, sleep in their own beds. 

Trust
me on that one.  These players are happy
to be back home and will be looking to reward the fans at Rio Tinto with a
first class performance that will make a statement of their own before the
World Cup break. 

RSL
has been slowed by a few injuries in recent weeks, and speedy striker Robbie
Findley is with Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan in South Africa.  In his absence, Fabian Espindola teams up
with Alvaro Saborio, May’s MLS Player of the Month, up front.  Both players have physical size and are also
technical players who are talented with the ball at their feet. 

That
said, I think you saw a pretty good glimpse of how the Galaxy deal with that
this past week, against the Dynamo. The combination of Berhalter and Gonzalez has
been terrific in defense, and hardly put a foot wrong on Saturday. Berhalter
did not play in the first meeting with RSL so I’m thinking that he will be more
than ready for this one.

Don’t
get me wrong.  I am going to Rio Tinto
hoping to see the Galaxy reach number 13. 
After the 4-1 victory against Houston
this past weekend, it seems this group is primed for one more solid
performance.  The contributions came in
so many forms against the Dynamo. 
Although LA was not able to pitch the shutout, defensively, I thought
the team played well.  If you had the
chance to see Cam Weaver’s goal, it is fair to say “unlucky bounce or lucky
bounce” if you are a Dynamo fan.  Outside
of that chance, Ricketts was not overwhelmingly busy in goal.  Expect things do be much different this
week. 

QUICK
HITS –

Jovan
Kirovski; what a performance this past week against Houston. 
Clearly his best game in a Galaxy uniform since returning for his second
stint with the club.  A showing like that
has to give Galaxy fans a huge shot of confidence in the event that Landon and
Edson are away for more than just two more games.

We
may have a new connection here.  Michael
Stephens and Sean Franklin played
like they have a few seasons together holding down the right flank.  The young tandem linked up to set up both of
Kirovski’s goals, and created numerous other chances, syncing their runs in the
midfield.  But, Franklin maintained his number one priority
defending too.

It
has been a while since we gave you a Brazilian update.  All is good from the new Samba
disciples.  Juninho is back after a few
days in Brazil.  Alex Cazumba played his best match in an LA uniform,
and Leonardo is close to a return to action, giving Bruce Arena another defensive
option.  Tudo Bien!

Lastly,
this will be the final “View” for a couple of week.  I know you are devastated!  With that said, I leave you with my take for
Group C.  I will try not to remain
objective.  I see Bob Bradley’s side
finishing with five points.  If the
defense can have a solid showing in the first match and limit Wayne Rooney (no
easy task) they will come away with a point. 
Building on that performance, the U.S.
will get the maximum three points in game #2 against Slovenia.  Heading into the final game of Group C,
needing just a point, the Red, White and Blue survive against the athletic
African nation, Algeria
and advance to the knockout stages.

But
before we even get to that point, sit back and watch the Galaxy try to make it 13
games in a row without a loss on Wednesday night and hopefully head into the
World Cup break flying.