Galaxy open season again vs. hopeful Revolution

The LA Galaxy return home following their season-opening victory at Seattle Sounders FC to play host to the New England Revolution, who are making their season debut for 2011.

BROADCAST INFO:

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: Ramon Hernandez MLS Career: 38 games; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 8; pens: 7

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (33 meetings): Galaxy 15 wins (2 shootout), 52 goals ... Revolution 13 wins (1 shootout),, 46 goals ... Ties 5 AT LA (17 meetings): Galaxy 10 wins (0 shootout), 28 goals ... Revolution 4 wins (0 shootout), 17 goals ... Ties 3 RETURN MATCH: 5/28: New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy, 8 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):

3/27: LA 1, NE 0 (Buddle 6) - Recap | Highlights | Photos

7/10: NE 2, LA 0 (Perovic 67; Nyassi 74) - Recap | Highlights

The Revolution’s victory in the second meeting a year ago snapped a three-game Galaxy winning streak in the series. The Galaxy’s victory to start that streak, on July 4, 2009, was their first against New England in regular-season play since a 3-2 victory on April 3, 2004 at The Home Depot Center (New England was 6-0-3 in between).  The Galaxy’s win at New England in the second 2009 meeting was their first in Foxborough in a league match since a 5-2 win July 11, 1999, a span of nine matches. Of course, they did win MLS Cup 2002 at Gillette Stadium.

Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. NE: P22 W12 L8 D2 ... Steve Nicol vs. LA: P19 W9 L6 D4

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy got their season off on the right foot and continued their success against Seattle Sounders FC, claiming a 1-0 victory Tuesday night at Qwest Field.

LAST MATCH

  • The game’s lone goal came after 58 minutes. Taking a pass from Todd Dunivant, Juninho strode forward and unleashed a searing blast from the left from all of 25 yards that beat Kasey Keller inside the near post. 
  • WATCH: Juninho's game winner
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena had to make two late changes to his first team for the season opener, with offseason acquisition Juan Pablo Angel ill, and defender Omar Gonzalez injured. UPDATE: Trio making progress
  • Here’s the Galaxy team (4-4-2): Josh SaundersSean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant – David Beckham, Chris Birchall, Juninho, Landon DonovanMike Magee (Michael Stephens 76), Chad Barrett (Jovan Kirovski 79)

TEAM NEWS

A season ago, the Galaxy opened their campaign with a 1-0 victory against New England, starting a string of 12 games unbeaten to open the campaign.

"It's what we're looking for,” said David Beckham. “We were away from home and up against a team with great support. We'll take the three points. I thought we deserved it. It was a good night."

With Gonzalez, an MLS Best XI selection a season ago, unavailable, A.J. DeLaGarza stepped into central defense alongside Leonardo for the Galaxy’s final preseason test. With Angel out, Mike Magee partnered offseason signing Chad Barrett in attack.

"There's not another team in our league that could go without two starting center backs, their starting goalie, and one of their forwards and win here,” Landon Donovan said. “We're proud of that, but it's just the beginning and it's early."

Watch: Galaxy players preview match

Get Microsoft Silverlight

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution begin 2011 after seeing their string of eight consecutive appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs come to an end last year. The Revolution had a 9-16-5 record for 32 points from 30 games in the regular season.

The Revolution concluded their preseason schedule with a 3-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo is the second of two exhibition matches in Kennesaw, Ga. A Will Bruin double two minutes apart gave the Dynamo a 2-0 halftime lead, then New England’s Zack Schilawski and Houston’s Alex Dixon traded goals in the 89th minute for the final scoreline.

Here’s the Revolution side: Bobby Shuttleworth, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Darrius Barnes 46), Zak Boggs, Ryan Kinne (Kenny Mansally 46), Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy (Pat Phelan 46), Sainey Nyassi, Marko Perovic, Ilija Stolica (Zack Schilawski 61)

While it was the second loss of the three-team event for the Revolution, head coach Steve Nicol was pleased with the effort over the final 45 minutes. “You're hoping that people are offended that we're two-nil down at halftime,” Nicol said. “That's exactly what we asked for: We wanted to find out who is bothered and who is not. I think we got the right reaction.”

  • The Revolution opened the Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge with a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Crew. Ilija Stolica scored midway through the second half after the Crew had built a 3-0 lead.
  • The Revolution come into the season with a clear indication of an area for success for 2011 – their 32 goals scored in 2010 was 14th out of 16 teams, and a club-record low. The club has been actively seeking attacking help overseas.
  • “From what we’ve seen, we’ve been better on the ball and we’ve given ourselves more opportunities to go forward,” Nicol said to the Boston Herald. “The more opportunities you get, the more chances you have to try things.” Said Stolica: “The scoring part always depends on the whole team, like everything else. If the team is playing well, it’s much easier for the strikers to find chances to score.”
  • In four games against MLS competition in the preseason, the Revs scored five goals – two from Schilawski, and two from Sainey Nyassi.
  • “When the forwards get the ball a lot of times, there aren’t too many bodies around,” Schilawski said. “That’s the biggest thing for us — to keep the ball, but also push guys forward into the attack and get more numbers around the ball.”
  • Three vital pieces of the Revolution’s back line rebuilding efforts over the winter – MLS veteran Ryan Cochrane, European veteran Didier Domi and Argentinean Franco Coria – were all listed as questionable at midweek heading into the season opener. The Revolution allowed a league-high 50 goals in 2010.
  • “I think we all knew going into this year, having given up the most goals last year, that we were going to try to eradicate that. So, I think that’s been on everybody’s mind. I think that as a group we’ve all made an effort to make defending our top priority, and I think it’s clearly shown,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis.
  • Another key preseason addition for the Revolution, defensive midfielder Ousmane Dabo, will not be available for the season-opening trip after suffering an injury in his second day of full training with the club on March 1.
  • “It’s not a case of needing too much fitness,” said Nicol. “Once we get him [healthy], he’s good to go. He’s not going to be chasing people for 90 minutes. He’s here to pass the ball and play football, so as far as fitness is concerned it shouldn’t be a real issue.
Keys to the Game
Los Angeles

  • Integrate Juan Pablo Angel into the lineup and provide him service from the flanks
  • Look for space in and behind the untested, revamped Revs defense

New England

  • Maintain shape in the midfield—led by Shalrie Joseph—to avoid opening gaps and providing counterattacking opportunities for LA
  • Goalkeeper Matt Reis must be in top form right from the start and help organize the backline

Injuries
Los Angeles

  • OUT: FW Adam Cristman (L knee inflammation); MF Dan Keat (L heel fracture)
  • DOUBTFUL: DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Donovan Ricketts (R hamstring strain)
  • PROBABLE: FW Juan Pablo Angel (illness); DF Omar Gonzalez (R shoulder sprain)

New England

  • OUT: MF Ousmane Dabo (R quadriceps strain); MF Andrew Sousa (R quadriceps strain)
  • DOUBTFUL: DF Kevin Alston (L hamstring strain)
  • QUESTIONABLE: DF Didier Domi (R knee swelling); FW Alan Koger (R hamstring strain)
  • PROBABLE: MF Marko Perovic (L Achilles tendonitis)