Preview: Stout LA defense set for Toronto test
The LA Galaxy put their unbeaten streak on the line when they play host to Toronto FC on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center (7:30 p.m. PT, PRIME TICKET). The Galaxy haven't lost in seven games and haven't allowed a goal in more than 4 1/2, after playing to a scoreless draw at home with D.C. United last weekend. TFC rebounded to get a point in a scoreless draw of its own last time out, at home with Sporting Kansas City.
TV: PRIME TICKET
RADIO: AM 1150, 1330 AM (Spanish)
LIVE AUDIO & WEBCHAT: lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Galaxy 3 wins, 8 goals—Toronto FC 2 wins, 7 goals—Ties 4
AT LA (4 meetings): Galaxy 2 win, 6 goals—Toronto FC 1 win, 4 goals—Ties 1
• The teams played to a third consecutive draw in their first meeting, April 13 at BMO Field.
• The teams played to a pair of scoreless draws last season. Four of the nine lifetime meetings have ended in scoreless draws, including three of the five at BMO Field.
• Toronto FC have not scored a goal against the Galaxy in 386 minutes, since a 2-1 LA victory, June 6, 2009.
• Coaches record: Bruce Arena v TOR: P8 W4 L1 D3—Aron Winter vs. LA: P1 W0 L0 D1
4/13: TOR 0, LA 0 [Recap | Highlights]
• The Galaxy three times hit the woodwork on the night, including midway through the second half when David Beckham curled a freekick around the wall and beat TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei, only to see it come crashing back off the left upright. WATCH
• Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made three saves, including a game-saving stop late from close range on a Joao Plata header. WATCH
• TORONTO FC (4-1-2-3): Stefan Frei ... Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman ... Julian de Guzman (Mikael Yourassowsky 65) ... Jacob Peterson, Tony Tchaniñ Javier Martina (Joao Plata 85), Alen Stevanovic, Gianluca Zavarise (Oscar Cordon 79).
• LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts ... A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant ... Sean Franklin (Paolo Cardozo 88), Juninho (sent off 94+), David Beckham, Mike Magee (Bryan Jordan 75) ... Chad Barrett, Juan Pablo Angel (Miguel Lopez 84).
The LA Galaxy saw their four-game winning streak come to an end, but still extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a scoreless draw Friday with D.C. United at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy have 30 points from 16 games on the season, leading the Western Conference.
• Josh Saunders made three saves in goal for the Galaxy, while Bill Hamid was called upon to make one save for United.
• The visitors had two quality chances in the second half, but both Josh Wolff, in the 63rd minute, and Charlie Davies in the 81st, pushed their close-range efforts wide of goal.
• Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that defeated the New England Revolution 1-0 at Gillette Stadium. Josh Saunders and Chris Birchall came in for Donovan Ricketts and Landon Donovan, both away on international duty.
• LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Chris Birchall, David Beckham, Juninho (Jovan Kirovski 46), Mike Magee - Chad Barrett (Adam Cristman 82), Miguel Lopez (Paolo Cardozo 68).
• The Galaxy extended their unbeaten streak to seven games (4-0-3) despite seeing their winning streak come to an end.
• "[The] performance was absolutely poor. There was no quality to our game, our passing was poor, effort was just OK. Just didn't get it done. No excuses. That was a poor performance," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "The only good thing about [Friday] is that we lost those games last year."
• READ: Sluggish Galaxy fortunate to get draw against DC United
• It was a fourth consecutive clean sheet for the Galaxy, who extended their shutout streak to 411 minutes in the scoreless draw. The shutout streak is the third-longest in MLS this season. FC Dallas has the longest at 531 minutes; the Columbus Crew are next at 414.
• "That's probably one of the best games [D.C.] have played and that's probably one of the worst games we've played after Salt Lake," center back Omar Gonzalez said. "We just came out flat and, to be honest, we were all a little bit tired from three games in one week.
• Josh Saunders returned between the posts with Donovan Ricketts away on international duty, his first start since May 14 when he made an emergency appearance when Ricketts became ill. That was a 4-1 Galaxy that started the four-game winning run; he recorded his second shutout against United, after opening the season in goal in the 2-0 win at Seattle.
• READ: Saunders reclaims Galaxy top spot with Ricketts away
• "That's what we needed to do today. We didn't play well. And when you don't play well you need the team to come together and the defense to come together. And, we did that tonight," said David Beckham. "Shutting them out was the only positive from tonight."
• The Galaxy were without Landon Donovan for the first time since he missed three games April 9-17 with a knee injury. Donovan had scored all eight of his MLS-leading goals after returning to the lineup; the Galaxy have been shut out twice on the season, both times without Donovan in the team.
• "He's an X-factor for sure," Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said. "We missed that spark. We were pretty flat and we didn't really have any explosive plays out there and that's what he's known for. We missed that."
• READ: Not Concerned with Landon Donovan’s Absence
• A year ago, Edson Buddle scored nine goals in the opening nine games of the season before leaving for the World Cup. He ended the year with 16 goals.
• "We're fine, believe me," he said. "I don't know how many goals we scored last year, but Edson didn't score all of them. He just happened to score the first [seven]. And now Landon has scored (seven) in a row and everyone concluded that that was a crisis."
INJURY REPORT: OUT: DF Sean Alvarado (R knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: FW Juan Pablo Angel (R calf strain); MF Juninho (L ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: Landon Donovan (USA); Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica)
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none | SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: Juninho, David Beckham
WATCH: Match Preview
Toronto FC rebounded from the heaviest defeat in club history but still saw their winless streak extended to five games, playing to a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at BMO Field. TFC has 13 points from 14 games on the season, sitting in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
• Eric Kronberg made three saves in goal for Sporting Kansas City, including a stop in added time on a header from late-game substitute Doneil Henry. WATCH
• Stefan Frei made two saves in the TFC goal, his best a save on a Teal Bunbury shot from outside the area midway through the second half. WATCH
• TORONTO FC (4-1-2-3): Stefan Frei - Richard Eckersley (Dan Gargan 76), Ty Harden, Nana Attakora (Doneil Henry 92+), Danleigh Borman - Nathan Sturgis - Tony Tchani, Mikael Yourassowsky - Javier Martina, Maicon Santos, Joao Plata (Nick Soolsma 67).
• TFC head coach Aron Winter made four changes to the team that fell 6-2 to Philadelphia Union at BMO Field. Nana Attakora and Danleigh Borman came into the back four for Dicoy Williams and Dan Gargan, Nathan Sturgis started in midfield for Julian de Guzman, and Javier Martina replaced Nick Soolsma in attack.
• With Nana Attakora making his first appearance in the TFC back four since April 9, after the season-ending injury to Adrian Cann, the Reds recorded a second shutout in three games.
• "If you compare it with last week, it's very good," said TFC head coach Aron Winter. "We're missing five players we normally play. Some are away at the Gold Cup and some are injured. Those guys who came in, like Nana and Ty (Harden) and Nathan (Sturgis), they've done very well."
• But Attakora, who had not made a start since April 9 and played only 84 minutes since, was forced from the field late in the contest with a thigh injury. The 22-year-old Attakora is the only remaining original member of TFC.
• "You can see it in training," said defender Richard Eckersley. "He's been raring to go and ready for this opportunity, and he took it."
• Joao Plata made his sixth consecutive start for TFC at forward. But in between at midweek, he won his first cap for Ecuador, coming on in stoppage time of a 2-2 draw with Canada at BMO Field.
• Both Alan Gordon and Jacob Peterson were able to return to full training in the buildup to the LA match, though Maicon Santos was kept out early in the week. Gordon has missed six consecutive league match with a adductor strain, while Peterson was injured in the first leg of the Canadian Championship on May 18, suffering a hamstring strain.
• "Maicon has some pain, but it's nothing," said Winter. "Alan (Gordon) and Jacob (Peterson) are fit, they are two good players, for Saturday we need those players."
• The draw extended TFC's winless streak at BMO Field to three games in league play, and they've won just once at home (1-2-5) since opening the season with a victory against Portland.
• "These ties are something that will probably hurt us later on in the year. We know that. We need to start winning, especially at home. We should have got three points against K.C.," said Attakora.
INJURY REPORT: OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); DF Adrian Cann (R knee sprain); DF Nana Attakora (R quadriceps strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Alan Gordon (adductor strain); MF Gianluca Zavarise (adductor strain); MF Jacob Peterson (L hamstring strain); MF Matt Stinson (R calf strain); MF Alen Stevanovic (adductor tightness)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: Julian De Guzman (Canada); Dicoy Williams (Jamaica)
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none | SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: Richard Eckersley, Dan Gargan, Javier Martina
REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Rob Fereday; JAR (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: Yader Reyes
MLS Career: 5 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 2; pens: 1