Three Points: Galaxy look to break down tough Toronto FC

Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano offers his Three Points to LA’s first road match of the MLS season

TORONTO – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano gives his Three Points to the Galaxy’s match against Toronto FC. 

BREAKING DOWN TORONTO FC

Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen was a tough as nails defender during his professional career and he’s looked to bring a similar type of fight to his TFC side this season.  That toughness is something that the Galaxy must deal with if they are going to come away from Canada with a result.

When TFC have been at their best this season,  they have created opportunities on the counter while forcing turnovers as opposing offenses look to break down their deep-lying back four.  It has hardly led to an ascetically pleasing game, but their opportunistic attack has helped them generate three goals, all of which have come from forward Robert Earnshaw, who has been a pest for opposing defenses.

In order to stop Toronto, the Galaxy must be smart with their possession or possibly risk being caught into a similar match as they faced late in the game against Chivas USA two weeks ago.  If LA can catch TFC in bad positions as they look for counter-attacking opportunities, they should be able to generate chances.

WHO GETS A RUN OUT FOR THE GALAXY?

Saturday’s match against Toronto FC will mark the end of a busy week for the LA Galaxy, who have seen Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez rejoin the club during their week-long trip in Washington D.C. after visiting the White House on Tuesday.

Robbie Keane still remains an injury question mark after picking up a calf strain while away on International duty, but if the Galaxy captain is away, then expect the likes of Jack McBean, Mike Magee or Jose Villarreal to see time up top. All three played at forward at some point during LA’s victory over the Rapids last week and were able to generate chances going forward. Moving to the back four, Gonzalez rejoined the club after international duty on Wednesday and has drawn praise for his sharpness. The option exists for Arena to rest the U.S. international in favor of an A.J. DeLaGarza and Leonardo pairing, with Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal first leg against C.F. Monterrey looming, but with no league game in between the two legs of the series with Monterrey, Gonzalez may get the call in Toronto.

And of course, we’d be remiss if we did not address the status of Donovan.  The Galaxy forward returned to the club on Tuesday and has looked sharp in training according to his teammates. Although it seems unlikely for Arena to give him substantial minutes, Donovan may see a couple minutes against TFC.

FINISHING BOOTS

The LA Galaxy have had no trouble generating chances this season, but finding the back of the net has been another issue all together.

During LA’s three regular season matches this year, they have spent considerable time in the attacking third, generating 54 attempts on goal while conceding a paltry 14 to their opponents. However, LA has scored just six times, four of which came during the 4-0 victory over the Chicago Fire in the regular season opener. Against the Colorado Rapids last week, forwards Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal and Mike Magee each created substantial pressure, but were unable to find the back of the net in open play due to a stellar performance from goalkeeper Clint Irwin, needing a penalty kick early in the second half to break the deadlock.

Expect the Galaxy to try to be far more lethal in the final third against Toronto as they look to test TFC ‘keeper Joe Bednik, who while solid this season, has conceded four goals in 2013. If LA can pull the trigger in the final third a little sooner then the goals could come in bunches against Toronto.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com