CARSON, Calif. (Monday, August 22, 2011) – Two more games await the LA Galaxy this week as they continue their quest for a pair of titles. Following a pair of 2-0 home wins last week, first over Motagua in the Champions League and then on Saturday over San Jose in MLS action, the Galaxy will host Costa Rican champion LD Alajuelense on Thursday in their second of six CONCACAF Champions League games before returning to MLS action on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.
The Galaxy and Alajuelense are currently tied atop the Group A standings, having each won their openers at home last Tuesday. The Galaxy beat Motagua 2-0 behind goals from Adam Cristman and Landon Donovan, while Alajuelense got a late goal from Jonathan McDonald to beat Morelia 1-0. Dating back to last year, the Galaxy have now won two straight games in the Champions League and will try to make it three straight against Alajuelense, who improved to 4-0-1 in league play with a 3-1 win over San Carlos at home on Saturday.
The day after facing Alajuelense, the Galaxy will travel to the East Coast for the final time in the regular season for a game against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. This will be the second and final meeting of the season between the Galaxy and Red Bulls, with the two sides playing to a 1-1 draw at The Home Depot Center on May 7. Thierry Henry gave the Red Bulls an early lead on that day before Landon Donovan equalized just before halftime. [WATCH HIGHLIGHTS] In their debut visit to Red Bull Arena last year, Edson Buddle scored in the 10th minute as LA held on for a 1-0 win.
Sunday’s game will be the first of two straight that the Galaxy will play on the road before returning home on Friday, September 9 to host the reigning MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids. [VIEW FULL SCHEDULE]
OUT – Sean Alvarado (Right Knee – Surgery), Leonardo (Right Knee – Surgery)
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – Chad Barrett (Right Knee – Sprain), David Beckham (Back Spasms), Jovan Kirovski (Left Ankle – Sprain), Donovan Ricketts (Left Ulna – Fracture)
PROBABLE – None
DEBUT GOAL FOR KEANE: Robbie Keane marked his Galaxy debut with a 21st minute goal in Saturday’s 2-0 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes. [WATCH HIGHLIGHTS] Keane, who was officially added to the club’s roster on Wednesday, had a team-high three shots in the game, including his goal, which gave LA a 1-0 lead. With the goal, which has been nominated for the MLS Goal of the Week award [VOTE NOW], Keane became the 18th different player to score on his Galaxy debut and the first to do so since Alecko Eskandarian scored on July 4, 2009 in a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution.
Other players to have scored on their Galaxy debut include Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones, Carlos Ruiz and Edson Buddle, who are the top four goal scorers in club history, as well as current Galaxy midfielder Jovan Kirovski. Five players scored on their debut in 1996, while no other year has seen more then two players debut for the Galaxy with a goal.
ASSIST RECORD FOR BECKHAM: David Beckham assisted on Keane’s goal against the Earthquakes on Saturday, giving him a team-best 11 assists on the season. The 11 assists, which are the second most in MLS this season behind the Houston Dynamo’s Brad Davis who has 13, are the most that Beckham has recorded in his MLS career. In 2008, his first full season with the Galaxy, Beckham had 10 assists in 25 games to lead the club. Now in his fifth year with the Galaxy, Beckham has 27 assists in 68 career regular season games, meaning that he is averaging nearly an assist every two games that he plays in. Now fifth in club history in assists, Beckham is six assists shy of equaling Mauricio Cienfuegos’ club record of 17 assists in a year, which was set in 1999.
While Beckham leads the Galaxy with 11 assists in the regular season, he is tied for the team lead in assists in the CONCACAF Champions League after setting up Landon Donovan’s second half goal in the win over Motagua on Tuesday. Beckham made his Champions League debut in the game, playing 76 minutes in central midfield before being replaced by Michael Stephens.
SHUTOUT RECORD SET: With the shutout of San Jose on Saturday, the Galaxy have now set a club record for shutouts in a single season with 13. The Galaxy set a club record with 12 clean sheets in 2009 and then matched that record in 2010 before breaking it this year. LA have kept a shutout in exactly half of their 26 games this season while giving up one goal in nine times and allowing two or more four times.
On the season, the Galaxy have allowed an MLS-low 20 goals in their 26 league games for an average of 0.77 goals per game. Real Salt Lake have also allowed 20 goals this season, though they have played three fewer games then the Galaxy, giving them an average of 0.87 goals allowed per game.
Since the start of the 2009 season, the Galaxy have played 86 regular season games, keeping a clean sheet in 37 of those while allowing two or more goals just 18 times. No other team has as many clean sheets as the Galaxy in that time with Real Salt Lake coming the closest with 36 clean sheets since the start of the 2009 season. LA and RSL are the only two teams in MLS to have 10 or more shutouts in each of the past three seasons.
GROUP LEADERS MEET IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: The two teams that are tied atop Group A will face off in the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday night when the Galaxy host LD Alajuelense at The Home Depot Center. Both teams won their first game in group play last week, with the Galaxy holding a slight edge thanks to a 2-0 win over Motagua that gave them a +2 goal difference compared to Alajuelense’s +1 goal difference from their 1-0 win over Morelia. [VIEW CHAMPIONS LEAGUE STANDINGS]
The Galaxy are 0-1-1 all-time in CONCACAF play against teams from Costa Rica. They faced Deportivo Saprissa in the Quarterfinals of the 2006 CONCACAF Champions Cup, playing to a 0-0 draw at home on February 23, 2006 before losing 3-2 in extra time in Costa Rica. Josh Gardner and Landon Donovan gave LA a 2-0 halftime lead in that game, only for Saprissa to score twice in the opening 15 minutes of the second half before scoring the eventual series-winning goal five minutes into extra time.
FIRST FOR CRISTMAN: Adam Cristman made his CONCACAF Champions League debut in the 2-0 win over Motagua last week, scoring his team’s opening goal in the 12th minute. His first goal in the competition, Cristman now has three first team goals for the Galaxy, scoring once in the league, once in the Open Cup and once now in the Champions League. He has also scored twice in the Reserve League and once in the friendly against Real Madrid. He has also started each of the Galaxy’s last three games in all competitions, with LA winning all three of those contests.
Cristman was one of three Galaxy players to make their Champions League debut in that game, joining David Beckham and Miguel Lopez. The other 11 players to play in the game all appeared for the club during the Preliminary Round of the 2010-11 Champions League. Cristman was on the New England Revolution roster for their 2008-09 Champions League campaign, but did not play in either of their games because of an injury as they were knocked out by Joe Public in the Preliminary Round.
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