CARSON, Calif. (Monday, March 28, 2011) – The LA Galaxy return home and will look to rebound from their first defeat of the 2011 season on Saturday night when they host the Philadelphia Union at The Home Depot Center. That game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and will give the Galaxy their first chance to bounce back from the 4-1 defeat that they suffered against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. However, standing in the way of LA’s first home win of the season is the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Union, who are a perfect 2-0-0 on the season, earning a pair of 1-0 victories so far.
This is the first of two meetings this season between the Galaxy and Union. In 2010, LA swept the season series against the Union, winning 3-1 at The Home Depot Center and 1-0 in Philadelphia. Edson Buddle scored three of those four goals, including both game-winners, while A.J. DeLaGarza scored his only goal of the season 51 seconds into the LA’s win over the Union in Carson.
Saturday night’s game will be shown live locally on FOX Sports West, starting at 7 p.m. with the Galaxy Live pregame show. 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.
Galaxy Injury Report
OUT – Gregg Berhalter (Left MCL – Sprain), Adam Cristman (Left Knee – Surgery)
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – Donovan Ricketts (Right Hamstring – Strain)
PROBABLE – Omar Gonzalez (Right Shoulder – Sprain)
ANGEL OPENS ACCOUNT: Juan Pablo Angel scored his first goal as a member of the Galaxy, finishing a David Beckham freekick from six yards out in the second half of Saturday’s loss to Real Salt Lake. Angel, who was making his first start of the season, played the full 90 minutes up front, tying a team-high with three shots, including two of the club’s three shots on goal in the game. He is now second on the club in scoring this season, one goal behind Juninho, who scored in each of LA’s first two games this season.
Angel’s goal was the 59th of his MLS career, leaving him one goal shy of becoming the 21st player in MLS history to score 60 or more goals in the regular season. Of the 20 players that have currently scored 60 or more goals, just six of them, including Galaxy captain Landon Donovan and former Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz, are still active in MLS, while one other, former Galaxy forward Edson Buddle, plays in Europe. The other 13 players are no longer playing the game professionally.
LOPEZ DEBUTS: Midfielder Miguel Lopez made his MLS debut on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium, coming on at halftime and playing up front alongside Juan Pablo Angel. The 22-year-old Argentinean replaced Chad Barrett and nearly got his name on the scoresheet, hitting the post from the corner of the six-yard box in the 51st minute. Lopez, who was an unused substitute in the season opener in Seattle and then did not dress for the home opener against New England, suffered a team-high three fouls in his 45 minutes on the field and was booked in the 54th minute for a foul on Ned Grabavoy.
JUNINHO STREAK STOPPED: For the first time since the penultimate game of the 2010 regular season, Juninho failed to score for LA in a regular season game in Saturday night’s 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake. The 22-year-old Brazilian had scored in each of his previous three regular season games, including the first two games of the 2011 campaign.
According to Opta, one of Major League Soccer’s statistical partners, Juninho had just 48 touches of the ball on Saturday night against RSL, less than half of the 100 touches that he had in the 1-1 draw with New England on March 20. Additionally, Juninho only attempted a season-low 35 passes on Saturday night, though he did complete 32 of those for a season-high 91.4% pass completion rate.
PERFECT AGAINST PHILLY: With a win on Saturday night, the Galaxy will have won their first three games against a club for just the fifth time in club history. In 1996, LA won their first three games against New York and Tampa Bay (with one of those coming via a shootout), as well as their first four regular season games against San Jose. In 2010, the inaugural season for the Philadelphia Union, the Galaxy swept the season series between the two clubs, winning 3-1 at The Home Depot Center and 1-0 at PPL Park.
The club record for most consecutive wins against a team at the start of a series is five, with LA winning each of the first five installments of the Honda SuperClasico against Chivas USA, going a perfect 4-0-0 in 2005 and then winning the first game of the year between the two sides in 2006.
THREE RETURN: Three former Galaxy players will be making a return to The Home Depot Center on Saturday night as members of the Union. The Galaxy’s Defender of the Year in 2000, Danny Califf helped LA win the 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2002 MLS Cup during his five years (2000-2004) with the club. In that time, the 31-year-old California native appeared in more than 100 regular season games for the club, scoring five goals and adding four assists. In the 2001 U.S. Open Cup Final against New England, Califf headed home a Cobi Jones corner kick in the second minute of extra time, giving LA a 2-1 win and their first Open Cup championship.
Carlos Ruiz was also a member of the 2002 MLS Cup winning team, scoring the game-winning goal to beat New England and giving LA their first league championship. The MLS MVP in 2002 and the club’s third-leading scorer all-time with 51 goals in 82 games, Ruiz re-joined the Galaxy briefly in 2008, scoring once in 10 games before being traded to Toronto that summer. After spending time in Mexico and Greece, Ruiz joined the Union during the offseason and scored his first goal for the club on Saturday against Vancouver.
Like Ruiz, Stefani Miglioranzi had two stints with the Galaxy and is an MLS Cup winner. He originally joined the club in 2006, playing in three games for the club before being traded to Columbus ahead of the start of the 2007 season. He won an MLS Cup with the Crew in 2008 and nearly helped LA win in 2009, playing 23 games for the club that season before being selected by Philadelphia in the Expansion Draft in November 2009. He was sent off just before halftime of Philadelphia’s visit to Carson last season for a foul on Juninho.
LA GALAXY YOUTH ACADEMY
GALAXY U-16’S AND U-18’S SPLIT WEEKEND GAMES: Playing their first games since December, the LA Galaxy U-16 and U-18 teams played a pair of games last weekend, with each splitting their two contests.
On Saturday, both teams lost on the road to Pateadores, with the U-18’s falling 2-0 in the day’s first game and the U-16’s suffering their first loss of the year, falling 5-1 later in the day. Things got better a day later as Nati Schnitman and Juan Mendoza helped the U-18’s overcome a 1-0 deficit to earn a 2-1 win on the road against the Irvine Strikers.
The U-16’s also overcame a 1-0 first half deficit when Sebastian Velasquez scored his first two goals of the year for the team, helping them earn a come-from-behind 2-1 win.
Both teams are back in action with a pair of road games this weekend, taking on San Diego Surf and Nomads SC on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The U-18’s kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday and the U-16’s following at 1:30 p.m., while Sunday’s games will be played at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday’s games against the Surf will be played at the San Diego Polo Club, while Sunday’s games against Nomads will be played at Kinsell Field in San Diego.
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