Three Points: LA Galaxy expect major test from last place D.C. United
WASHINGTON— LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano offers his Three Points to LA’s clash with D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
NO OVERLOOKING LAST PLACE D.C. UNITED
Yes, D.C. United boast the league’s worst record, but the LA Galaxy would have to show plenty of “stupidity” as Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said earlier in the week, to overlook United.
It has been a distressing year for Ben Olsen’s side as D.C. United have fallen from a playoff team a year ago to holding a league worst 14 points. To put it in perspective, the Galaxy reached 14 points back on April 27 with their 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake. Despite the record, United boast 2011 MLS MVP Dewayne De Rosario and a plethora of talented youngsters such as Los Angeles native Luis Silva, 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year runner-up Nick DeLeon, and midfielder Chris Pontius, who recently returned from injury. Although there are numerous talented players on the United roster, the team has scored a league-worst 16 goals and conceded 44, which is the second highest mark in MLS behind only Chivas USA.
That being said, Saturday’s game is a must win for the Galaxy if they are to keep their hopes of winning the Supporters’ Shield alive. Currently five points behind first place Real Salt Lake—a margin, which may grow to eight if they defeat Seattle Sounders FC on Friday—a win over lowly United must be seen as mandatory for a team with aspirations of a third consecutive MLS Cup.
HOW MANY INTERNATIONALS WILL PARTICIPATE AGAINST D.C. UNITED?
The LA Galaxy were forced to play without four of their biggest guns last week and suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids as a result. And while those four are all back with the team, the question becomes, just how many will see the field when the Galaxy take on D.C.
Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, Robbie Keane, and Jaime Penedo each took part in the club’s training session at American University on Friday, joining their Galaxy teammates on the field for the first time since the 3-0 win over San Jose on August 31. The return of the quartet is expected to be a major boon for the Galaxy, who struggled at times to create offense in last week’s defeat. But with the likes of Donovan, Gonzalez and Keane back in the squad, they will be expected to be dangerous going forward against United.
The only true question mark surrounds Donovan, who is still suffering from conjunctivitis on his right eye, which he suffered during his time with the U.S. National Team. The issue hardly slowed down his play in their World Cup qualifying victory against Mexico as he tallied a goal and an assist, but Arena may err on the side of caution with the forward against the league’s worst side.
MATCH UP TO WATCH: DEWAYNE DE ROSARIO vs. JUNINHO
The match up that may decide the match will take place between D.C. United’s dynamic midfielder Dewayne De Rosario and LA’s Brazilian defensive midfielder Juninho.
Despite lining up as a forward for United, De Rosario prefers to wander into the midfield—much like Galaxy forward Robbie Keane— in search of service and attempt to link up with his teammates in the attacking third. Typically, this allows the accomplished attacker to find space to set up the dangerous runs of others or allows him to find space to create his own opportunities. However, this season, he has been unable to enjoy as much success as he’s tallied just three goals and two assists in 13 appearances.
The key to keeping De Rosario off the score sheet is to limit his own touches with the ball and prevent him from making darting runs behind the defense. Expect the likes of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas to limit these outlets when he drifts into midfield while the tandem of Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo must get a handle on the Canadian when he drifts into the penalty area.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com