CARSON, Calif. (Monday, March 21, 2011) – For the first time since a controversial 1-0 loss there last season, the LA Galaxy return to Sandy, Utah to take on Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night. The Galaxy will be playing their MLS-high third game of the season on Saturday night when they take on the team that they edged out for the Supporters’ Shield in 2010.
The two teams split their two meetings last season, with the Galaxy winning 2-1 at The Home Depot Center on April 17 behind a pair of Edson Buddle goals and RSL winning 1-0 at their home stadium on June 9, handing LA their first loss of the season.
Saturday night’s game will be shown locally on tape delay on PRIME TICKET starting at 10:30 p.m. The game will be immediately followed by a special postgame edition of Galaxy Live. Saturday’s game will also be available locally on the radio in English on KTLK 1150 AM, in Spanish on ESPN Deportes Radio KWKW 1330 AM and online in English at www.lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive along with a live fan chat.
Galaxy Injury Report
OUT – Adam Cristman (Left Knee – Surgery), Dan Keat (Left Heel – Fracture)
DOUBTFUL – Gregg Berhalter (Left MCL – Sprain)
QUESTIONABLE – Donovan Ricketts (Right Hamstring – Strain)
PROBABLE – Omar Gonzalez (Right Shoulder – Sprain)
JUNINHO - JOINT TOP SCORER: With the first week of the MLS season complete, Galaxy midfielder Juninho is one of four players that are tied for the league lead in goals scored. The 22-year-old Brazilian scored in each of the club’s two games this week, leaving him in a four-way tie with Sporting Kansas City forward Omar Bravo, D.C. United forward Charlie Davies and Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Eric Hassili for the league-lead in goals. While the six goals scored by Bravo, Davies and Hassili all came from inside the penalty area, both of Juninho’s goals were struck from outside the box.
In his first season with LA in 2010, Juninho scored two regular season goals in 25 games. In those 25 games, Juninho took 30 shots and placed nine of them on goal, compared to the five shots that he has taken so far this year. Of those five shots, two have been on goal, with each ending up in the back of the net.
THREE IN A ROW: With his goal against New England on Sunday evening, Juninho has now scored in each of his last three regular season games, dating back to the 2-1 home win over FC Dallas to end the 2010 season in October of that year, a win that clinched the Supporters’ Shield for LA.
If Juninho can score again on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium, he will become the seventh different Galaxy player to score in four consecutive regular season games. Edson Buddle achieved the feat last year, while Landon Donovan did so in 2008. Mauricio Cienfuegos and Welton each scored in four straight games in 1998, just as Eduardo Hurtado did in the Galaxy’s inaugural season in 1996.
Carlos Ruiz is the only Galaxy player to score in four or more straight games multiple times. He scored in each of his first four games with the club in 2002. At the end of that season, he scored in the club’s final four regular season games and then added goals in LA’s first two games of 2003, giving him a club record of six straight games with a goal. The Guatemalan international also scored in four straight games during the 2004 campaign.
SAUNDERS STREAK SNAPPED: Shalrie Joseph’s third minute goal for the Revolution on Sunday gave the visitors a 1-0 lead and snapped one of the longest shutout streaks in MLS history. Joseph’s goal was the first given up by Josh Saunders in an MLS regular season game since April 4, 2009 against the Colorado Rapids when he allowed an 84th minute goal to be scored by Conor Casey.
In between Casey’s goal and Joseph’s, Saunders played 435 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal. During that run, Saunders kept a clean sheet in all four games that he started, playing the full 90 minutes in each, while also making two substitute appearances without allowing a goal. That streak was the third longest in Galaxy history, beaten only by a 612 minute streak by Donovan Ricketts and a 521 minute streak by Kevin Hartman.
Saunders also did not allow a goal in 54 minutes of action during MLS Cup 2009, extending his shutout streak to 489 minutes in all MLS competitions.
ANGEL AND CARDOZO DEBUT: Juan Pablo Angel and Paolo Cardozo each entered Sunday’s 1-1 draw with New England in the 63rd minute to make their official Galaxy debuts. Angel, who had a goal called back in the second minute of stoppage time after being called offside, missed the season opening win in Seattle because of an illness, while Cardozo was an unused substitute in that game.
READY FOR RSL: The Galaxy will be back on the road this weekend when they take on Real Salt Lake in a rematch of MLS Cup 2009 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Galaxy have not won in Utah since April 2006 and are 1-3-4 on the road against RSL all-time, including a 0-1-1 mark at Rio Tinto Stadium, which opened in September 2008.
RSL are currently unbeaten in their last 35 games at Rio Tinto Stadium in all competitions, including a 1-0 win over the Galaxy on June 9, 2010. That game snapped the Galaxy’s 12-game unbeaten streak to open the 2010 season, though the game’s only goal came from a disputed offside call that allowed Javier Morales to beat Donovan Ricketts despite collecting the ball from an offside position.
The Galaxy will be without Landon Donovan for Saturday’s game against Real as he joined the U.S. National Team on Monday ahead of their upcoming friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay. He is expected to re-join the team for their next home game on Saturday, April 2 against Philadelphia.
CRISTMAN PLACED ON THE DISABLED LIST: On Thursday, the Galaxy placed forward Adam Cristman on the Disabled List after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee earlier in the week. As a result of being placed on the Disabled List, Cristman must miss at least the Galaxy’s first six regular season games, starting with the season opening win in Seattle. After missing that game and Sunday’s draw with New England, he will now miss the Galaxy’s next four games, three of which are on the road before being eligible to return on Sunday, April 17 against the Chicago Fire at TOYOTA PARK.
JUNINHO FIRST KICK STRIKE UP FOR GOAL OF THE WEEK: The first of Juninho’s two goals last week has been nominated for the AT&T MLS Goal of the Week. Juninho’s goal is one of five strikes from the league’s opening week that have been nominated for the award, which he won once last season for his long distance goal against Seattle on July 4, a goal that ended up as the runner-up for the MLS Goal of the Year.
Fans can vote for the Goal of the Week award here until 8:59 p.m. (PT) on Thursday, March 24, with the winner being announced the following day.
LA GALAXY YOUTH ACADEMY
U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY TEAMS RETURN TO ACTION: Nearly four months removed from their last competitive game, the LA Galaxy Youth Academy U-16 and U-18 teams return to action in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy this weekend. Both teams will be on the road for a pair of games, first travelling to Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif. to take on Pateadores on Saturday and then heading to Concordia University in Irvine on Sunday to take on the Irvine Strikers.
Both U-18 games start at 10 a.m., with the U-16’s following at 12:30 p.m.
The Galaxy Academy will play their first home games of 2011 on Sunday, April 10 when they host Arsenal FC at The Home Depot Center.
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. The Galaxy can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lagalaxy and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lagalaxy.