Preview: LA vs KC

Galaxy return home and host surging Wizards

Buddle vs KC

Photo Credit: 
G. Newman Lowrance / Getty Images

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The Basics

Los Angeles Galaxy (13-4-4, 43 points, first place in Western Conference) vs. Kansas City Wizards (6-9-5, 23 points, fifth place in East)

All-time record: Galaxy lead 21-16-10

Game Intro

One side is heating up while another is in a slump, roles that have
been reversed from the first half of the season. A surging Kansas City
side will visit Los Angeles, who hope to reclaim some of their
early-season dominance against a team they were unable to score on
earlier this year. The two teams met in April at CommunityAmerica
Ballpark and finished in a 0-0 draw.

The Galaxy hope to put some distance between themselves and Columbus (40 points) and Real Salt Lake
(39) in the chase for the Supporters' Shield. The Wizards, meanwhile,
are hoping to maintain their best run of form all season in what will be
their first of two trips to Carson, Calif., in the next four weeks.
Kansas City visit Chivas USA on Sept. 19.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Bruce Arena's men are beginning a final stretch of games that will
see them enjoying home comforts – seven of their last nine games will be
played at the Home Depot Center, including an Oct. 3 “road” match
against Chivas USA.

Their last two home games were not successful ones, as San Jose tied
the Galaxy 2-2 on July 22 before Chicago handed LA a 3-2 loss on Aug. 1.
With CONCACAF Champions League games and a friendly against Real Madrid
highlighting their summer slate, the Galaxy have not had a league home
game since Aug. 1 and only three since June 5.

Kansas City Wizards

The Wizards are enjoying their most prosperous time of the year, a
stretch of games that started at Crew Stadium on July 14, when KC beat
Columbus 1-0. Since then, the Wizards have piled up 11 points and have
climbed to within three points of the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference standings, and just five out of the eighth and final playoff seed.

Like the Galaxy, 1-0 losers at San Jose last weekend, Peter Vermes'
side counts a 1-0 loss at the Earthquakes among their recent games,
having lost there on Aug. 14. But that's the Wizards' only setback since
July 10.

Saturday’s 4-1 win over New England matched their season high in goals as the Wizards opened the year with a 4-0 win over D.C. United.

Heroes and Villains

Kei Kamara vs. Omar Gonzalez
Everything about Kansas City has been quiet this season, and that’s
most epitomized by Kamara. Sitting on eight goals this season, he's one
behind Sebastien Le Toux and Dwayne De Rosario, and even with Fredy Montero, Chris Wondolowski and Alvaro Saborio.

Kamara has come into his own, and Gonzalez must be aware of Kamara at
all times. With Berhalter battling a virus, the Galaxy center back
should be the anchor of the LA defense and must help avoid the kinds of
mistakes that have sunk the Galaxy in recent games.

Stat that makes you go “Hmm…”

Over their last six league games, Kansas City have more wins (three
to two), points (11 to seven), goals (eight to seven) and have fewer
losses (one to three) and fewer goals allowed (four to nine) than the
Galaxy.

Keys to the Game

Los Angeles
- Score first – Galaxy are a perfect 13-0-0 when scoring first this season
- Use the flanks, make the Wizards remember they’re not on a small pitch like they have at home
Kansas City
- Pressure early; Galaxy have allowed goals in the second minute, fourth minute (twice) and fifth minute in recent games
- Get the ball to Kei Kamara, who picked up his first two assists of the year last week

Injuries

Los Angeles
OUT: MF David Beckham (L Achilles tendon surgery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Todd Dunivant (neck spasms); DF Gregg Berhalter (virus)
Kansas City
OUT: MF Zoltan Hercegfalvi (R knee sprain/torn ACL)