LA Galaxy Weekly Update: June 13

Galaxy hit the road; look to stretch unbeaten streak to nine

beckham_colorado2010

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. (Monday, June 13, 2011)On the heels of a wild 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday night, the LA Galaxy will hit the road for the first time in three weeks as they take on the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday, June 18. The Galaxy are unbeaten in their last eight games, going 4-0-4 since a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas on May 1, extending their lead at the top of the Western Conference standings to six points.

While the Galaxy will be looking to extend their unbeaten streak to nine games, they will also be looking to stop Colorado’s current unbeaten streak at nine. The Rapids have not lost since a 1-0 home loss to Seattle on April 22, going 2-0-7 in their last nine games, including a 1-0 win in Portland on Saturday night. The Galaxy are just 1-3-1 all-time at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, but they have not lost there since 2008, drawing 1-1 in April 2009 and claiming their first-ever win at the stadium in May 2010 with a 1-0 victory.

This weekend’s game between the two sides kicks off at 6 p.m. (PT) and can be seen on FOX Sports West on tape delay. The Galaxy Live pregame show can be seen at 7:30 p.m., with the game following at 8 p.m. This is the first of two meetings between the two sides with Colorado traveling to The Home Depot Center on Friday, September 9.

INJURY REPORT

Galaxy Injury Report

OUT – Sean Alvarado (Right Knee – Surgery), Leonardo (Right Knee – Surgery)

DOUBTFUL – None

QUESTIONABLE – Juninho (Left Ankle – Sprain)

PROBABLE – None

TEAM NOTES

SHUTOUT STREAK SNAPPED: Alan Gordon’s goal for Toronto in the 68th minute of Saturday’s 2-2 draw snapped the Galaxy’s season long 479 minute shutout streak, which dated back to May 14 against Sporting Kansas City. Prior to Gordon’s goal the last goal allowed by the Galaxy was an Omar Gonzalez own goal in the 39th minute of LA’s 4-1 win over Sporting. The last time the Galaxy had allowed a goal to an opposing player was exactly one month prior to Gordon’s goal, coming in the 84th minute of the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw with Philadelphia at PPL Park.

LA’s 479 minute streak without allowing a goal was the second longest in club history, beaten only by a 511 minute streak which began in October 2009 and ended in April 2010. During that run, the Galaxy kept six consecutive clean sheets. The recently ended streak was also the second longest in MLS this season, beaten only by a 531 minute streak for FC Dallas. That streak began following Landon Donovan’s goal for LA at Pizza Hut Park on May 1 and did not end until May 28 when Houston scored the first of their goals in a 2-2 draw with Dallas.

ANGEL RETURNS WITH A GOAL: After missing the previous two games, Juan Pablo Angel was back in the starting lineup and back on the scoresheet on Saturday night against Toronto FC. Angel scored his third goal of the season in the first minute of second half stoppage time, briefly giving LA a 2-1 lead. Angel is now tied with Chad Barrett for second on the team in goals, tallying his three on 29 shots.

Two of Angel’s three goals this season have come at The Home Depot Center and all three have come in the second half of games. For his career, Angel has 61 regular season goals with 40 coming in the second half, compared to 21 in the first half of games. Each of Angel’s last six regular season goals, dating back to July 2010 when he was a member of the New York Red Bulls have come in the second half of games.

FIRST FOR BIRCHALL: Midfielder Chris Birchall scored the first goal of his MLS career on Saturday, beating Stefan Frei in the second minute to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead. Birchall entered the game with 54 career shots, 14 of which had been on goal, without having scored a goal since joining the Galaxy in 2009. He is the 10th different player to score for the Galaxy this season, equaling the most in MLS, and the 93rd player in club history to score a regular season goal for the Galaxy.

Not only was Birchall’s goal the first of his MLS career, it was the Galaxy’s fastest of the season, beating the previous mark of the 4th minute, which was set by Chad Barrett against Portland on April 23. Birchall’s goal, which came 96 seconds into the game, was the fastest goal scored by the Galaxy since Jovan Kirovski scored 47 seconds into LA’s 4-1 home win over Houston on June 5, 2010.

DUNIVANT ADDS AN ASSIST: On Monday, Major League Soccer made a scoring adjustment on Birchall’s second minute goal, adding an assist for Todd Dunivant. Dunivant collected a pass in tight space from Juan Pablo Angel and hit a first time pass forward for Miguel Lopez on the left wing. Lopez ran at the Toronto defense before laying the ball off to the onrushing Birchall, who took one touch before slotting a shot underneath Stefan Frei, giving the Galaxy the lead.

The assist was Dunivant’s second of the season and his first since the season opener against Seattle when he helped to set up Juninho’s game-winning goal midway through the second half of LA’s 1-0 win. He now has 15 assists in 203 career regular season games, including eight in 114 games with the Galaxy.

Miguel Lopez was also credited with an assist, his third of the season and first since April 17, on the goal.

BACK AGAINST THE WEST: For just the second time since May 2, the Galaxy will face a Western Conference opponent when they take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Of their last eight games, just one has been against a Western Conference team, with that being a 1-0 road win over Chivas USA on May 21. For the season, the Galaxy are 3-2-0 against the West compared to 5-0-7 against the East.

The Galaxy have played just one home game against a fellow Western Conference team this season, beating Portland 3-0 on April 23. They have beaten Seattle and Chivas USA on the road this year while losing to Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas.

HALFWAY HOME: With the 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday, the LA Galaxy became the first MLS team to officially reach the midway point of their regular season. Through their first 17 games of the year, the Galaxy have an 8-2-7 record for a league-best 31 points. This is the second consecutive season in which the Galaxy have recorded 30 points or more at the midway point of the year, going 11-1-3 for 36 points in the first 15 games of their 30 game season in 2010.

The Galaxy had a record 40 points at the midway point of the 1998 season and 32 points in 1996.

All MLS teams will play 34 games this season, making this the longest regular season in league history. All teams played 32 games from 1996-2000 and again in 2005 and 2006, while 30 games were played in 2003 and 2004 as well as from 2007-2010 and 28 games were scheduled for 2001 and 2002.

RESERVES FALL IN SEATTLE: The LA Galaxy fell to 0-4-0 in MLS Reserve League play on Monday with a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at the Starfire Complex in Tukwila, Wash. Trialist Sammy Ochoa scored the game’s only goal in the 82nd minute to give the Sounders their sixth straight win on the year.

The Galaxy had the better of the chances in the first half with Mike Magee creating a series of opportunities and Adam Cristman forcing a save from Seattle goalkeeper Terry Boss. Late in the second half, Galaxy Academy player Riley Wolfe made his Reserve League debut, coming on for Bryan Jordan.

The Galaxy will be back in Reserve League action at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 20 when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a game at The Home Depot Center Track and Field Stadium. That game kicks off at 11 a.m. and admission is free.

LA GALAXY YOUTH ACADEMY

ACADEMY U-16’S QUALIFY FOR DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PLAYOFFS: For the second time in three years, the LA Galaxy Academy U-16 qualified for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs with a win over Real So Cal at Calabasas High School on Saturday. Justin Dhillon scored on either side of halftime and Drew Murphy scored his ninth goal of the year as the Galaxy beat Real So Cal 3-2, a result that moved the Galaxy into first place in the SoCal Division’s standings, one point ahead of Real Salt Lake Arizona.

On Sunday, the Galaxy closed out the regular season with a 3-2 loss to Cosmos Academy West. Willie Raygoza and Justin Dhillon, who has a team-best 15 goals on the season, scored early in the second half to erase a 2-0 deficit, only for the Cosmos to scored in stoppage time to claim the victory and snap LA’s three-game winning streak.

Despite the loss, the Galaxy claimed their first Division title in program history as RSL Arizona fell to the Irvine Strikers in their regular season finale. The Galaxy finished the season with an 11-5-2 record in their division and a 20-5-3 record in all competitions.

The Galaxy now head to Frisco, Texas for the Development Academy Playoffs, which begin on June 24 at Pizza Hut Park. The Galaxy are one of four SoCal Division teams to qualify for the 32-team playoffs, which culminate with the Academy Finals Week in Milwaukee, Wisc. from July 9 to July 16.

ACADEMY U-18’S END REGULAR SEASON WITH WIN AND A DRAW: The LA Galaxy Academy U-18 team concluded their regular season with a win and a draw on the road last weekend. On Saturday, Juan Mendoza and Angel Ayala scored to give the Galaxy a 2-0 win over Real So Cal. One day later, they played to a 1-1 draw with the Cosmos Academy West, giving them an 11-11-6 record to close the regular season.

They will head to Frisco, Texas for the Development Academy Showcase from June 24-28.

NEED TO KNOW

LOOKING FOR MORE UPDATES?: If you are looking for continuous updates from the Galaxy all week long, be sure to visit the club’s official websites www.lagalaxy.com and www.lagalaxyfutbol.com. The Galaxy can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lagalaxy and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lagalaxy.