Galaxy one shutout shy of tying MLS record

The LA Galaxy have a chance to tie an MLS record in Saturday's game against Real Salt Lake at The Home Depot Center.

Another shutout -- the Galaxy have three in three games -- would tie them with the 2007 New York Red Bulls for the most consecutive shutouts to open a season. The coach of that team was Bruce Arena, who happens to be the Galaxy's current coach, but he isn't interested in any records.

Nor is he interested in reminiscing.

"I haven't given it a thought, to be honest with you," he said when asked to compare the defenses. "I don't even know who the defense was in New York, to be honest with you."

How well is this year's defense playing? Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts has made only three saves in three games, and didn't have to make any in last Saturday's 2-0 victory in Houston.

Veteran left back Todd Dunivant said the key to the unit's success is limiting opponents’ chances.

"You can look at all the games," he said, "and we've really kept teams at bay in terms of shots and good scoring opportunities. When you do that and you have a goalkeeper like Donovan to bail you out once or twice a game, that's a pretty good recipe for success. So far, so good.

"We've had a good back line, we have some depth there and it's encouraging. It's a team thing, not just the back line. It's a team mentality and we've carried that over from last year."



Saturday's game not only was the Galaxy's third consecutive victory, but also marked the return of veteran midfielder Jovan Kirovski (sidelined with a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee) and forward Alan Gordon (strain in his left hamstring).

Kirovski, who suffered the injury during a preseason scrimmage against San Diego State University. came on in the 83rd minute in Houston as a substitute for Chris Birchall.

"It was great t be back in the mix" said Kirovski, who turned 34 last month. "The knee is feeling good, the team is doing well and I'm happy to be back. It's been pretty tough, but now I feel confident."

Kirovski said it doesn't get any easier sitting and watching from the sideline.

"You still want to play, the team's doing well and you want to win," he said. "We have a good group here and we know our roles. The competition is tough."



Goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer still keeps close tabs on English Premier League side West Ham United, where Feuer played in 1994-97 and again from 2000-2002.

West Ham is trying to avoid being relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship, the second tier of English soccer. The Hammers, who earned a crucial 1-0 victory over Sunderland last Saturday, are tied with Wigan Athletic for 16th place in the Premiership with 31 points, barely out of the three-team relegation zone. Portsmouth, which is last with 14 points -- including being penalized nine points for financial problems that almost forced it to be dissolved -- already has been dropped. Hull and Burnley are next with 27 points, followed by West Ham and Wigan. Bolton has 32 points and Wolves are next with 33.

West Ham have four games left in the season, starting with a trip to Liverpool on Monday. That is followed by an all-important six-pointer at home with Wigan on April 24, away to Fulham on May 1 and the season finales at home against Manchester City on May 9.

Feuer believes the Hammers will make it.

"Yes, I think so," he said. "I'm absolutely, almost 100 percent positive."



Midfielder Mike Magee is a Southern Californian now, but he hasn't forgotten his Chicago roots, specifically his allegiance to the Windy City's sports teams.

Magee is a huge Bears fan, followed by the Bulls, Cubs and Blackhawks, who just qualified for the NHL playoffs as the second seed in the Western Conference.

Magee said he was introduced to the hockey by his uncle, Kurt Calabrese, and admitted he's never been on ice skates, but he does enjoy watching the Blackhawks play.

"To be honest with you, right now, I like them second-most," he said of the Blackhawks, who open the playoffs on Friday against the Nashville Predators.

He said he watched a few games at old Chicago Stadium, where the Blackhawks used to play, and got to meet some of the players when the Blackhawks played the Kings at Staples Center a couple of weeks ago.

And the Blackhawks' chances?

"I think they'll do well," he said. "They're young and fast and they can match anyone's intensity."