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View from the Booth: LA vs Toronto

The LA Galaxy will look to make it 5 for 5 in the win column at home, when they host Toronto FC on Saturday night.  The match is being billed as the official World Cup send off for Galaxy captain Landon Donovan and forward Edson Buddle as this could be the last time we see the “Dynamic Duo” in person for a while.  Certainly if you are a fan of the U.S. National Team the hope is that we will not see either of the two statistical leaders here in MLS until sometime around (or better yet after!) the 4th of July game when the Sounders come to southern California.

Speaking of the Sounders, there is still a small part of me that is not sure if it was Seattle flat out lying down in the second half, or if the Galaxy were taking control of the match.  Believe me, I want to say it was LA grabbing hold of the reigns and laying the wood to the Sounders.  But I have seen that Seattle team several times over the past year and never, NEVER have I seen them look that bad.  Neither of the Freddy’s (Ljungberg and Montero) performed to the standards that were expected of them and it showed.  I spoke with a couple of the Sounders players after the game, and if you read any of the quotes from coach Sigi Schmid after the game, you get the sense that some of the marquee players are not only not performing to the expectations, but that some of their teammates are tired of giving said players a pass.  Without question, this is a story to keep your eyes on in the coming weeks to see how it goes.

So can LA carry the moment of three wins in eight days into Saturday night’s game against Toronto FC?  That eight-day stretch is one of the best I have seen from LA since I have been covering the team.  The good news is that some players have had a week to rest and get healthy.  The unfortunate news is that there is a pretty good group of players who are still not ready to step back onto the field, specifically in the back where DeLaGarza, Franklin and do not appear to be ready to get back on the field following their recent injuries.

With that said, I have to mention the efforts of Bryan Jordan last weekend. 

AWESOME! 

Jordan stepped in to the starting line-up against Seattle and played very well against some of the better attacking players in MLS.  As I mentioned on the broadcast, not only was I impressed with what BJ did, but just how quickly he has adapted to this position in the last few weeks.  Bruce Arena is going to have some tough, yet fortunate decisions during this season when it comes to filling out who starts games across the backline.  Certainly a decision many coaches wish they had to deal with.

Looking at TFC, they have struggled on the road so far this year.  Winless in four league games away from BMO field, and have been outscored 11 to 3 during those games.  That is not to say the Reds are not capable of coming to the HDC and causing problems for the Galaxy.  TFC has won all three of its home matches and like the Galaxy have a +8 goal differential in those games. 

Dwayne DeRosario leads the way for TFC with six goals and three assists, while O’Brien White and Chad Barrett have each found the net twice.  I made mention of the solid goalkeeping that LA has, TFC has a pretty good young GK, Stephan Frei.  The 24 year-old played his college soccer at UC Berkley and has the ability to make big saves when called upon.  Frei has a very young group of defenders in front of him, and a couple of new faces, possibly a factor in Toronto FC giving up 13 goals in seven games so far in 2010.

It is a double-edged sword for Galaxy fans on Saturday.  On one hand you want to see this team continue the amazing run that has started here, but have to be pleased that LA has two of the best weapons in MLS (Donovan & Buddle) that are going to have the chance to shine on an even bigger stage.  No question both players will be missed, but there is a very distinct possibility that the script could have plenty of Hollywood flavor to it. 

Both players make the U.S. Men’s National Team, with Donovan leading the team into the knockout stages of the World Cup, and Edson continuing his hot run onto the international platform, forcing us to question why he has just one cap to this point in his career.

Who knows, it could happen.

And for those who don’t think so, all I can say is who would have thought the Galaxy would be sitting nine points clear at the top of the Western Conference two months into the season, with Edson Buddle leading the league in scoring and on his way to South Africa.

So to steal a phrase from our friends at adidas…Impossible is Nothing.