Pregame Notes: Columbus return to MLS play in midweek tilt vs LA

Both teams fighting to climb the standings in emotional match
COLUMBUS CREW vs LA GALAXY
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
August 15, 2012 (WEEK 24, MLS Game #223)
7 p.m. ET (NBC SN)
 
The Columbus Crew return to competition in one of the marquee matchups of their calendar, taking on the LA Galaxy on Wednesday evening at Crew Stadium. With last weekend’s match postponed following the death of Crew midfielder Kirk Urso, the Crew’s last match was a 1-0 loss at D.C. United that ended a two-game winning run. The Galaxy rebounded from a 4-0 loss in Seattle with a 4-0 win against Chivas USA last weekend, securing their hold on fifth place in the Western Conference.
 
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. AR1 (bench): James Conlee; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 49 games; FC/gm: 22.5; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 4; pens: 6
 
 
INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); MF Bernardo Anor (L knee ACL tear); DOUBTFUL: DF Nenamja Vukovic (L ankle sprain); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); QUESTIONABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain) … LA GALAXY – OUT: FW Edson Buddle (R knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); QUESTIONABLE: DF David Junior Lopes (L ankle sprain); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms)
 
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Landon Donovan (USA)
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Bernardo Anor, Chris Birchall, Tony Tchani, Sebastian Miranda … LA: David Beckham, A.J. DeLaGarza, David Junior Lopes
HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (36 meetings): Crew 15 wins (3 shootout), 48 goals … Galaxy 13 wins (0 shootout), 45 goals … Ties 8
AT COLUMBUS (16 meetings): Crew 8 wins (1 shootout), 25 goals … Galaxy 4 wins (0 shootout), 18 goals … Ties 4
 
LAST YEAR (MLS)
7/20: LA 1, CLB 0 (Franklin 69)
9/24: CLB 0, LA 1 (Barrett 90)
• This is the only meeting between the clubs this season.
• The Galaxy have won the last four meetings between the teams, over the last two seasons, including a pair of 1-0 victories last year. Columbus last defeated LA Sept. 29, 2009, a 2-0 win at Crew Stadium.
• The Crew haven’t won against LA at The Home Depot Center since the 2007 season, now winless in four trips.
• Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. CLB: P24 W14 L8 D2… Robert Warzycha vs. LA: P6 W1 L4 D1
 
COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew come back to league play after a weekend off, seeing their two-game winning streak come to an end last time out, falling 1-0 to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. The Crew sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 28 points from 20 games.

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: DC 1, CLB 0

• The game's lone goal came in the 49th minute, after stellar work from rookie Nick DeLeon. After dribbling into the corner, he cut back on Crew defender Josh Williams, spun away and sent a cross into the box. Long Tan backheeled the ball, and Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum batted it away. But the rebound bounced right to Chris Pontius, who deposited it into the goal.
• Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that took a 2-1 win against Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. Milovan Mirosevic came into the midfield for the suspended Cole Grossman.
• COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Carlos Mendes, Chad Marshall, Josh Williams - Chris Birchall, Milovan Mirosevic (Tony Tchani 68) - Dilly Duka (Ethan Finlay 84), Eddie Gaven, Justin Meram (Emilio Renteria 66) - Jairo Arrieta.

TEAM NEWS
• The Crew’s scheduled match last weekend against Toronto FC was postponed so the club could attend the funeral of rookie midfielder Kirk Urso, who suddenly passed away the weekend before.

WATCH: Birchall previews Galaxy

• “It would have been such an emotional strain on everybody to have gone to the wake, the funeral, get back and all the memorial stuff that would have been going on at the stadium – the [tribute] video, everything," goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. “I almost feel like it would have been a little much.”
• The rescheduling of the match for August  22 now gives the Crew three consecutive weeks where they’ll play two games. Four of the six games will be at Crew Stadium.
• “It’s nothing we haven’t had before when we were in the Champions League,” defender Chad Marshall said. “We seemed to go Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday for two months in a row late in the season. It’s a grind for sure. We’re getting guys healthy. We’re going to need to be deep. Maybe guys who haven’t done much this year are going to get called upon. I’m sure they’ll step up.”
• With Cole Grossman suspended, Milovan Mirosevic moved into a central midfield role after missing the previous three matches with an adductor strain. He lasted until the 68th minute, when he was replaced by Tony Tchani. “I’ve had a whole week of training sessions. I feel ready to play,” Mirosevic said. “The danger time is over I think.”
• For the first time in his three starts since coming to the club, striker Jairo Arrieta was kept without a goal or an assist.
• “D.C. United has very good defenders so obviously we had to sit back a bit. I think he was trying to play as good as he could and he had a decent game. You obviously want 50 crosses to you every single game but that's impossible,” said Warzycha.
• Emilio Renteria made his first appearance in three matches, coming on a substitute for the final 24 minutes of the match.
• “We were close but the last pass and the last shot weren't there,” said Eddie Gaven. “We were doing a good job at getting balls into the box but the ball just didn't seem to bounce our way.”
 
LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy rebounded from a 4-0 loss with a 4-0 win, storming to victory in the third SuperClásico of the season on Sunday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 36 points from 25 games. STANDINGS

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: CHV 0, LA 4

• The Galaxy broke through in the 27th minute. Robbie Keane collected a loose ball just inside the Chivas half, and slipped a pass to Landon Donovan on the right side of the penalty area. Keane continued forward into the area, racing to the near post for the return ball which he banged inside the post.
• The Galaxy stretched the lead to 2-0 in the 64th through Juninho. Donovan raced down the field on a quick counterattack and fed the Brazilian, who calmly curled a shot over Kennedy’s head and into the upper right corner.
• Juninho scored his second goal of the match 10 minutes later. After a quick build-up which saw the ball moved from right to left, Juninho snuck back post to one-time Donovan’s cross past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
• Center back Omar Gonzalez finished off the night’s fireworks by heading home a Donovan corner kick with seven minutes left.
• Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that fell 4-0 to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Todd Dunivant came in at left back for Bryan Gaul, and Hector Jimenez and Mike Magee started in midfield for David Junior Lopes and David Beckham.
• LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Hector Jimenez (Michael Stephens 75), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Mike Magee (Bryan Gaul 79) - Landon Donovan (Jose Villarreal 89), Robbie Keane.

TEAM NEWS
• For just the second time in MLS history, a team followed a four-goal loss with a four-goal win. In 2008, the New England Revolution lost 4-0 at Columbus on September 6, then defeated Chivas USA 4-0 on September 11.
• “We were disappointed with last week,” said Landon Donovan. “That game ended 4-0 but we were a little better than that on the day, but we still had a lot to improve on so we were anxious to get back on the field. It feels better, but it only counts for three points.”

WATCH: View from the Booth

• Donovan equaled an MLS record with his four assists in a single game, tying the mark last set by Dwayne De Rosario in the Houston Dynamo’s first game in 2006. It was also accomplished by Carlos Valderrama in 1997 and Chris Henderson in 1999.
• “Landon really was focused on playing well tonight and when he wants, he is as good as any player in this league” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “And I felt he and Robbie, once again, were in great form.”
• Donovan now has 105 assists for his MLS league career, moving past Jaime Moreno into fourth on the all-time list. Next up is Preki, who had 112 assists for his league career.
• “When we defend that way it makes my job really easy; I don’t have to do a whole lot of defending, I can focus on the things I’m good at,” said Donovan. “When I had the ball, guys made good runs, intelligent runs, they wanted the ball, they wanted to score so it made it really easy.”
• The back four of Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant started for LA for the first time this season. That quartet played every minute of LA’s four postseason games last season.
• “It felt great to have the old backline and you could just tell we were playing with confidence,” said Gonzalez. “Everyone was just on and it finally felt like last year where everyone was playing, from the goalkeeper up to the forwards, everyone was on. It was a great game for us.”
• Said Donovan: “I think we’re all really excited to get those four back on the field. I think David Lopes has done a good job playing in some tough games when we needed him and Brian Gaul too in a lot of these games. But those four are really comfortable together; they’re confident, they move well, they communicate well and they make our job really easy so it’s nice to have them back together.”
• Five of Robbie Keane’s team-leading 10 goals have come from Donovan assists. Over the last 12 games, the Galaxy’s Designated Player trio of Donovan, Beckham and Keane have combined for 18 goals and 18 assists.
• “The more we play the better we are. I think we really just understand the game the same way and we read the game the same way,” Donovan said of Keane. “So not every play is perfect, but the idea usually is there. I think technically he is so good that he can pull off the plays and he makes it really easy for me because he moves in a way where it’s very predictable, so when he moves I know where he wants the ball and I try to get it to him.”
• Juninho scored  the first multi-goal game of MLS career. He is the fourth different player to score two or more goals in a game this season for the Galaxy, joining Beckham, Donovan and Keane.
• With David Beckham in London attending the closing ceremony for the XXX Summer Olympic Games, Juninho paired with Marcelo Sarvas in the center of midfield.
• “They were fantastic. Those two played really, really well in there. It’s good now it gives Bruce some headaches and decision-making,” said Donovan. “When you’ve got a guy who’s one of the best players in the league who’s not here and those two play that well, then it’s a good problem to have and now we get David back and hopefully we can do even more with it.”