CARSON, Calif. – After clinching the Supporters’ Shield with their 2-1 win over FC Dallas on Sunday night, the LA Galaxy will now shift their focus to the MLS Cup Playoffs and their quest for a third MLS Cup championship. The first roadblock in front of the Galaxy in that pursuit will be the Seattle Sounders FC, who the Galaxy will face in a two-leg, home-and-home, aggregate goal Western Conference Semifinal Series.
Game #1 of this series will be played at Qwest Field on Sunday, October 31 at 5 p.m., with ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and espn3.com showing that game live.
After this weekend’s game in Seattle, the two sides will travel to Southern California for the second and deciding leg of the series at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, November 7. That game will kick off at 6 p.m. and will be shown live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and espn3.com.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
Sunday, October 24, 2010: Galaxy 2 – FC Dallas 1 – The Home Depot Center – Attendance: 24,993
The Galaxy clinched the Supporters’ Shield with a 2-1 come from behind win over FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center. David Beckham canceled out an early Atiba Harris goal with his second goal of the year and Juninho scored the winner just 30 seconds into the second half as the Galaxy closed out the regular season with their MLS-best 18th win of the season.
Galaxy Injury Report
OUT – None
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – Chris Birchall (Right Calf – Contusion)
PROBABLE – None
SET FOR SEATTLE: As a result of finishing first in the Western Conference, the Galaxy will now face the Seattle Sounders FC, the fourth place finisher in the West, in a Western Conference Semifinal Series. The Sounders will host the first leg of the home-and-home, aggregate goal series at Qwest Field on Sunday, October 31 at 5 p.m. The Galaxy will then host the return leg of the series at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, November 7 at 6 p.m. Galaxy season seat holders will be able to use their Bonus Game E tickets and parking passes for this game. The match in Seattle will be aired live on ESPN2, while the return leg in Carson will be aired live on ESPN. Both games will be aired lived and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.
The winner of this series will advance to the Western Conference Championship, which will be played at the home of the game’s higher seed during the second weekend of November. The winner of that will then advance to MLS Cup 2010, which will be played at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada on Sunday, November 21 at 5:30 p.m.
The Galaxy and Sounders met twice in league play this season, with the Galaxy winning 4-0 in Seattle on May 8 and then winning 3-1 at The Home Depot Center on July 4. Landon Donovan had a goal and four assists in those two games, while Edson Buddle, Todd Dunivant, Omar Gonzalez, Juninho and Jovan Kirovski all added goals for LA.
The two sides also met in the Quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with eventual cup champion Seattle winning that game 2-0 to advance to the Open Cup Semifinals.
The Sounders will be the Galaxy’s 13th different postseason opponent since the start of MLS in 1996. The Galaxy have a 28-15-6 all-time postseason record and have failed to advance past the opening round of the postseason just twice.
AIMING FOR THE DOUBLE - SUPPORTERS’ SHIELD AND MLS CUP: After claiming their first Supporters’ Shield title since 2002, the Galaxy will look to replicate their form of that season and finish the year as MLS Cup champions.
Since the start of MLS in 1996, five teams have won the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup in the same season, with Columbus the last team to do so, pulling off the feat in 2008. In addition to the 2008 Crew and 2002 Galaxy, the only other teams to win both in the same season are the Kansas City Wizards in 2000, D.C. United in 1999 and United again in 1997, when they were coached by current Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
The only other time the Galaxy won the Supporters’ Shield was in 1998 when they finished the season with a 24-8 record for an MLS-record 68 points. However, after defeating Dallas in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Galaxy were eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual MLS Cup champion Chicago Fire in the Western Conference Finals.
EIGHT LOOKING FOR POSTSEASON DEBUT: While the Galaxy return most of the squad that won the Western Conference Championship and reached MLS Cup last season, the club does feature a number of players that will be looking to make their MLS postseason debut in the upcoming series against Seattle. Of the 24 players currently on the Galaxy roster, eight have never played in a postseason game before.
Newcomers Alex Cazumba, Juninho, Leonardo, Brian Perk and Michael Stephens are all taking part in their first MLS Cup Playoffs. Additionally, Tristan Bowen, Bryan Jordan and Yohance Marshall were all with the Galaxy last season but none appeared in any of the club’s four playoff games. Of those three, Marshall was an unused substitute in all four of postseason games in 2009, while Jordan was an unused substitute in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinal Series against Chivas USA and the Western Conference Championship win over Houston. Bowen did not dress for any of the club’s postseason games last year.
In 2009, eight Galaxy players made their postseason debuts in the MLS Cup Playoffs, with all eight of those players playing for the club in the penalty shootout loss to Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup.
DONOVAN CLAIMS ASSIST TITLE: Landon Donovan became the first Galaxy player ever to finish a season as the MLS leader in assists, after recording a career-high 16 assists in 24 games for LA this season. Donovan’s 16th and final assist of the year came on David Beckham’s first half goal on Sunday against FC Dallas, tying the score at 1-1. He finished the season with three more assists than his closest competition, FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira, who finished the year with 13 assists.
Of Donovan’s 16 assists this season, nine helped to set up goals for Edson Buddle, while the other seven were spread between six different players. Donovan assisted on both of Omar Gonzalez’s goals this season, as well as tallies from Beckham, Todd Dunivant, Alan Gordon, Jovan Kirovski and Dema Kovalenko. The Galaxy were 9-1-2 this season when Donovan recorded an assist, including a 3-0-0 mark when he had more than one.
Prior to the 2010 season, Donovan had never recorded more than 13 assists in a season, a record that he had set in 2007. His 16 assists are the second most in a single season in Galaxy history, tying Mauricio Cienfuegos, who had 16 assists in 1998. Cienfuegos, who ranks second in Galaxy history with 80 assists all-time for the club, set a club record with 17 assists in 1999.
Donovan is now tied with Cobi Jones for the sixth most assists in MLS history with 91 in his 10-year MLS career. Donovan finished second in the league in assists in both 2004 and 2007, but had never won the MLS assist title before this season.
GALAXY SET DEFENSIVE RECORDS: Despite allowing Atiba Harris’ first half goal on Sunday, the Galaxy were able to set a pair of team defensive records on the season. The Galaxy’s 26 goals allowed on the season are three fewer than they had ever allowed in a single season, breaking the mark of 29 that was set in 1999. The club, who allowed 31 goals in 2009, down from 62 in 2008, had never allowed fewer than 29 goals in a season before this year. Additionally, the team’s 0.87 goals against average on the season is 0.04 lower than the former club record of 0.91, a mark that was also set in 1999.
Additionally, Donovan Ricketts set a new club record for the lowest single season goals against average for the Galaxy, finishing the year with a 0.90 GAA. Ricketts, who finished the year with an 18-7-4 record with 11 clean sheets, allowed 26 goals in 29 games, leaving his GAA 0.01 lower than the former club record of 0.91 that was set by Kevin Hartman in 1999, when he allowed 29 goals in 32 games.
IN THE COMMUNITY
REGISTER NOW FOR FRIDAY’S TREATS-N-SUITES HALLOWEEN BASH: The Home Depot Center Charitable Foundation and the LA Galaxy Foundation will host the annual Treats-n-Suites Halloween Bash, which is $5 per participant and open to all children (ages 2-10) who register online, at The Home Depot Center on Friday, October 29. Registration is open through Thursday at 5 p.m. at www.lagalaxy.com/treats-n-suites. The event begins at 4 p.m. and will feature trick-or-treating, bag decorating, pumpkin decorating, jack-o-lantern coloring contest, and a costume parade, and an appearance by the Galaxy Street Team and Miss LA Galaxy Court, who will sign autographs and take photos with all the participants.
GALAXY ACADEMY TEAMS BACK IN ACTION THIS WEEKEND: After a weekend off, the Galaxy Academy U-16 and U-18 teams returned to action last weekend with a pair of games against teams from Washington at The Home Depot Center.
The weekend did not start out on a high for the U-18’s as they suffered their second loss of the season, falling 5-0 to the Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon. The Sounders led 4-0 at the half and then added a fifth with 20 minutes remaining to seal the win. However, the Galaxy were able to recover the following day, shutting out Crossfire Premier 2-0, with Adam Zepeda playing the full 90 minutes and keeping a clean sheet in goal for the Galaxy. Riley Wolfe broke a 0-0 draw with just over 15 minutes remaining and Angel Ayala killed the game off 10 minutes later to improve LA’s record to 2-2-1 on the season.
The U-16’s went one point better than the U-18’s, claiming a win and a draw in their two games. On Saturday, the Galaxy shutout the Sounders en route to a 3-0 win behind first half goals from Robert Casner and Drew Murphy. Cole Dimond added a third for LA while Josh McNeely helped the team keep their third clean sheet in four games. The following day, the Galaxy dropped their first points of the season with a hard fought 1-1 draw with Crossfire Premier. That game was scoreless at the half, only for Sean Dhillon to put the Galaxy up 1-0 just before the hour mark. However, the visitors equalized with 10 minutes remaining to earn a share of the points. They now stand at 4-0-1 on the season, having allowed just four goals in the five games.
Both teams are back in action this weekend when they travel to Northern California for a pair of games. On Saturday, both Galaxy teams will take on the San Jose Earthquakes at the club’s training facility in San Jose. The following day, both teams will travel to Fresno where they will take on Cal Odyssey.
The Galaxy U-14 teams were also in action on Saturday, with each claiming wins in league play. The Galaxy’s U-14 A squad defeated West Covina FC, while the B squad knocked off Cruz Azul USA Academy. Both teams are now 6-1-0 on the season, leaving them three points behind Cosmos Academy West 96, who are a perfect 6-0-0 on the season, for first place.
On Saturday, the B squad will face Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center, while the A squad has the weekend off.
VIEWING PARTY ON SUNDAY: The Galaxy will host viewing parties this weekend at multiple Galaxy pub locations. The featured party will take place at The Olde Ship (1120 W 17th St, Santa Ana) with appearances by the Galaxy street team and Miss LA Galaxy. Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to take photos with the 2005 MLS Cup and 2009 Western Conference Championship trophies. Stay up to date on upcoming viewing parties by visiting www.lagalaxy.com/pubs.
NEED TO KNOW
LOOKING FOR MORE UPDATES?: If you are looking for continuous updates from the Galaxy all week long, be sure to visit the club’s official websites www.lagalaxy.com and www.lagalaxyfutbol.com, or the club’s official blog at www.thelagalaxy.blogspot.com for all the latest news from the club. The Galaxy can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lagalaxy and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lagalaxy.