Galaxy look to hand Union first defeat of the year on Saturday

The Philadelphia Union consider this weekend one of the biggest games of their short history, when they travel to The Home Depot Center to take on last year’s Supporters’ Shield winner in the LA Galaxy. Union are undefeated and unscored upon to start the season, atop the Eastern Conference. The Galaxy are coming off their heaviest defeats in years, a 4-1 loss last weekend at Real Salt Lake.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Galaxy 2 wins, 4 goals … Union 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS):

5/1: LA 3, PHI 1 (DeLaGarza 1; Buddle 27, 45 – McInerney 84) [RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS]

10/7: PHI 0, LA 1 (Buddle 27) [RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS]

  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena v PHI: P2 W2 L0 T0 … Peter Nowak vs. LA: P9 W1 L5 T3

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy suffered a loss for the first time in 2011, falling 4-1 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Galaxy have 4 points from 3 games on the season.

LAST MATCH

  • RSL took the lead in just the second minute through Andy Williams. A cross from Paulo Junior found its way to Williams at the far post, and the Jamaican one-timed it past Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders. WATCH
  • The lead was doubled after nine minutes. Paulo Junior ran onto a ball over the top and was knocked down by an the onrushing Saunders. Referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the spot and Javier Morales converted the penalty. WATCH
  • Real made it 3-0 in the 41st minute when Morales corralled a throw in from Chris Wingert from the left side. Sprinting toward the middle, Morales sizzled a shot into the far-side netting. WATCH
  • An unfortunate defensive miscue by the Galaxy iced the game in the 68th minute. A seemingly harmless outlet pass to Espíndola bounced past two LA defenders, and the Argentinean was able to rush down the left side. His cross to the far post found Paulo Junior, who had only to redirect the ball into goal. WATCH
  • The Galaxy pulled back a goal in the 80th minute when Juan Pablo Ángel knocked in a David Beckham free kick service sent in from the right, amid a great deal of congestion in the RSL area. WATCH
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant - David Beckham (Bryan Jordan 88), Chris Birchall, Juninho, Michael Stephens (Paolo Cardozo 58) - Juan Pablo Angel, Chad Barrett (Miguel Lopez 46).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy gave up four or more goals in an MLS game for the first time since Sept. 12, 2009, a 6-3 loss at FC Dallas. The Galaxy did lose to the Puerto Rico Islanders, 4-1, in a CONCACAF Champions League game last year.
  • “We know we’re better than that,” Juan Pablo Angel said. “But we have to prove it on the field. … We put ourselves in a very difficult position right from the beginning.”
  • Angel made his first start for the Galaxy at RSL and scored his first goal for the club. Angel scored 58 goals in his first four seasons in MLS, all with the New York Red Bulls, more than any other player.
  • “It was good, but I wish it would have been under different circumstances,” Angel said. “But it is always important to get off the mark, especially on a new team. I have a mix of emotions because it wasn’t a good game for us.”
  • A season ago, the Galaxy did not lose their first game until June 9, going undefeated over the first 12 (10-0-2). They did not allow their fifth goal until the 15th game, a 3-1 win against Seattle on July 4 – that goal not coming until 1,326 minutes had been played.
  • “You take a lot out of this [game]. I think sometimes you can learn more when you lose games than when you win. Tonight there were a lot of individual mistakes. Obviously I point the finger at the coach when the team shows up and plays the way we played in the first 15 minutes of the game.”
  • Said Union Head Coach Peter Novak of Juninho: "I think he's a guy who challenges for every single ball and wants to be involved in every play. The goals he's scored from distance, it shows that he's not only working as a defensive midfielder, but he's going forward in good ways." READ MORE
  • The Galaxy will have midfielder Landon Donovan, who captained the USA in two friendlies around the week, a 1-1 draw with Argentina and a 1-0 loss to Paraguay.
  • Goalkeeper Josh Saunders made his third start of the season, in place of the injured Donovan Ricketts. He has made three consecutive MLS starts for the first time since 2008, when he made his first three appearances for the club while still on loan from Miami FC of the USL First Division.
  • “It meant a lot to me that game, scoring my first goal for England, playing in my first World Cup and it was my mum’s birthday. It was kind of special in many ways. It was a good day,” Beckham said to MLSsoccer.com. “ …I still see it going over the wall and knowing I hit it that well.”

INJURY REPORT

OUT: DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee MCL sprain), FW Adam Cristman (L knee surgery), MF Hector Jimenez (R wrist surgery); QUESTIONABLE: GK Donovan Ricketts (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Omar Gonzalez (R shoulder sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES

None

SUSPENDED

None

WATCH: Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena and discuss the match

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PHILADELPHIA UNION

Philadelphia Union remain unbeaten and unscored upon to start 2011, winning 1-0 for the second consecutive week, this time in a defeat of Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union have 6 points from 2 matches on the year.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC went a man down when Eric Hassli became the first player in club history to be sent off. The French striker picked up two yellow cards – one in the 25th minute, the second in the 58th minute.
  • Union finally took advantage in the 77th minute. Sebastien Le Toux found himself alone in the box with the ball after a deflection bounced right to him. He slotted it over to a wide-open Carlos Ruiz, who had little trouble finding the back of the net for his first goal with Philadelphia.
  • Union boss Peter Nowak made one change to the team that defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at Robertson Stadium. Danny Mwanga came into the team in place of the injured Justin Mapp.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-3-2-1): Faryd Mondragon - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey (Jack McInerney 66) - Stefani Miglioranzi, Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa (Roger Torres 66) - Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga (Gabriel Farfan 83) - Carlos Ruiz

TEAM NEWS

  • Philadelphia Union are leading the Eastern Conference for the first time in club history, after having won back-to-back games for the first time ever.
  • "It feels pretty incredible," defender Danny Califf said. "Both games, you can point to us just fighting and doing what it takes to win." Said goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon: "We have to continue working, because we know we have three or four very hard games in a row. It's a row of difficult games; that's why it was very important to get the three points today."
  • Behind goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who has made six saves in the first two games, Union have also recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time. Philadelphia recorded two shutouts over the entirety of its inaugural season.
  • "Last year, we gave up the least amount of shots, but conceded the most goals," Califf said. "Now, we aren't giving up a lot of shots or making silly mistakes. There are no back passes being picked off and the shots that do come through, we take care of them. We are riding high at the moment."
  • With his first goal for Philadelphia, Carlos Ruiz has now scored more goals in MLS than any other player from Central America. The ex-Guatemalan international Ruiz has 83 career league goals (ninth all time), one ahead of Raul Diaz Arce (El Salvador).
  • "The fans in L.A. do not feel the passion of the game like the fans of Philly," said Ruiz. "For me, I was nervous at the beginning because I saw the stadium's full house and the fans screaming. ... That was crazy."
  • With the addition of Danny Mwanga into the side in place of Justin Mapp, who suffered a hamstring injury during the week, Ruiz played as a targetman atop the attack.
  • “That was always our strong side that had had three guys that can be dangerous, that can be in a situation and play the defenders around them,” manager Peter Nowak said. “With Carlos Ruiz up top, we play to him and then make runs off him and we still need to improve that because he is the guy who can hold the ball up and make good passes from there.”
  • Said Mwanga, who led MLS rookies with seven goals last season: “We’ve all got our own style of play. Sebastien is a guy who works hard, Carlos is a very good finisher and I have my ability as well, dribbling and running at defenders. I think if you combine all those things we definitely should be able to give our team a really good offense.”

INJURY REPORT

QUESTIONABLE: MF Justin Mapp (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Carlos Valdes (R ankle sprain); DF Danny Califf (L knee meniscus)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES

Zac MacMath, Amobi Okugo (U.S. U-20s)

SUSPENDED

None

REFEREES

Paul Ward. SAR (bench): Darren Clark; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Chris Penso

MLS Career: 26 games; FC/gm: 23.2; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 6; pens: 6

 

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