Galaxy set sights on USOC semifinal berth

Two-time champs hit the road for midweek Seattle matchup

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Photo Credit: 
Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

The Los
Angeles Galaxy
are tearing through the 2010 Major League Soccer
regular season, compiling an 11-1-3 record at the midway point of the
campaign.

Success in MLS, though, does not please the Galaxy.

On Wednesday, the club will have an opportunity to take a key step
in claiming the US Open Cup title. The Galaxy will visit Seattle
Sounders
in Tukwila, Wash., in a quarterfinal matchup. The winner
will take on Chivas USA in the semifinals.

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While the Open Cup has
traditionally been used by some MLS clubs as an opportunity to field
reserves, the Galaxy aren't approaching this tournament that way.

“[This
is] a competition we want to win,” Galaxy midfielder Chris Klein said. “We said at the beginning
of the season that we wanted to win everything that we’re in, and that
continues.”

A week ago, the Galaxy beat AC St. Louis 2-0 at the
Home Depot Center to move on to the quarterfinals. The Galaxy have won
the Open Cup twice before, claiming the trophy in 2001 and 2005.

“I’m
real pleased not only with the result but the attitude our team takes
and the way we approach all these games,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said
after the St. Louis win. “We’ve worked real hard to rebuild this club
and these games are important. If you want to win you don’t take it
lightly. Every time we step on the field, we’re not going to win every
game, but you have to play to win.”

The Galaxy shuffled players
in and out of their lineups when sandwiching the Open Cup match a week
ago between two MLS regular-season games. Three players – Tristan Bowen, Alex Cazumba and Jovan Kirovski – started
both the Galaxy’s scoreless draw at Toronto and the win over St. Louis.

Only Bowen, though, has started all three games, including Sunday’s
3-1 win over Seattle.

“We trained very hard all season to have 24
guys who are ready to play at a moment’s notice,” Klein said. “That’s
something we take pride in and will continue moving forward. We have a
good group here.”

It helps, too, when the bench players step onto
the field that the group includes World Cup and US National Team
veterans.

“Myself, Clint [Mathis], Eddie [Lewis] and Jovan, I
think we’ve played together at one time or another since we were 16, 17
years old, so we definitely know each other,” Klein said. “But then you
look at our back line and I don’t think we have a guy over 22.

"In
years past, if you wanted to win this thing, it would have been the
same guys playing in Toronto and then coming back and playing [against
St. Louis] and then having to play Sunday again. Now we have a little
bit more freedom to kind of rotate guys in and out and get some fresh
legs in there.”