CARSON, Calif. (Monday, August 29, 2011) – After seeing their scheduled game against the New York Red Bulls postponed because of Hurricane Irene, the LA Galaxy will return to MLS action on Monday, September 5 when they hit the road to face Sporting Kansas City. The Galaxy consolidated their spot at the top of Group A in the CONCACAF Champions League with a 2-0 home win over Alajuelense last week, giving them two wins in two games in the competition this year, but they have not played a league game since a 2-0 win over San Jose on August 20. Despite the extended time off between league games, the Galaxy remain atop the MLS standings with 51 points, three more than Seattle Sounders FC, who have 48 points but have played one more game than the Galaxy.
Monday’s game, which will be the Galaxy’s first-ever game at the newly-opened LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, will be shown live in English on FOX Soccer, starting with the Soccer Night in America pregame show at 2:30 p.m. and in Spanish on FOX Deportes starting at 3 p.m. Fans can also listen online and join a webchat at lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive. This game was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, August 13, but was postponed until September 5 because of a concert at the stadium.
Following Monday’s game against Sporting Kansas City, the Galaxy will return home to face the reigning MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 9 in a game that will also be shown live on FOX Soccer.
OUT – Sean Alvarado (Right Knee – Surgery), Gregg Berhalter (Right Foot – Sprain), Leonardo (Right Knee – Surgery)
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – David Beckham (Back Spasms), Jovan Kirovski (Left Ankle – Sprain), Donovan Ricketts (Left Ulna – Fracture)
PROBABLE – None
THREE AWAY: The Galaxy began training for Monday’s game against Sporting Kansas City at The Home Depot Center without three players who departed for international duty over the weekend. Robbie Keane had the longest voyage of the trio, flying to Ireland ahead of Friday’s 2012 UEFA European Championship Qualifier at home against Slovakia. Following that game, Keane, who has 51 goals in 109 appearances for his country, and the rest of the Ireland squad will travel to Moscow for another Group B qualifier against Russia on Tuesday, September 6.
Ireland, Russia and Slovakia are all currently tied for the top spot in the group with identical 4-1-1 records for 13 points with Ireland and Russia each having matching plus-5 goal differentials.
Closer to home, Chris Birchall re-joined the Trinidad and Tobago National Team for the first time in over a year for their first two 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. One of four teams in Group B of the Second Round of CONCACAF Qualifying, Trinidad and Tobago will open their campaign at home against Bermuda on Saturday before traveling to face Barbados on Tuesday, September 6. Birchall has four goals in 36 appearances for the Soca Warriors, though he has not played for them since August 2009.
Landon Donovan, the third member of the Galaxy’s international triumvirate, had the shortest trip to join with his National Team teammates, only moving down the hall at The Home Depot Center from the Galaxy locker room to the U.S. National Team locker room. The U.S. will host Costa Rica in a friendly at The Home Depot Center on Friday, September 2 (8 p.m.) before flying to Brussels for a friendly against Belgium on September 6. The U.S. National Team’s all-time leading goal scorer, Donovan has 46 goals in 137 appearances for his country since debuting in 2000.
Donovan has been joined in U.S. camp by Galaxy Goalkeeper Coach Ian Feuer, who was selected by Jurgen Klinsmann as the National Team’s goalkeeper coach ahead of the friendly against Costa Rica. Feuer will train the U.S. goalkeepers throughout the week, before rejoining the Galaxy at training on Saturday, September 3 ahead of the trip to Kansas City.
All three players are scheduled to miss next Monday’s game against Sporting Kansas City, though they will return to Southern California following their games on September 6 in time for the Galaxy’s regular season game against Colorado at The Home Depot Center on Friday, September 9. That game will be broadcast live nationally at 8 p.m. on FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes.
ANOTHER NEW PLACE TO PLAY: Monday’s game at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park will be the Galaxy’s first-ever game at Sporting Kansas City’s new home, which opened in June. Sporting are 6-2-4 at the state-of-the-art venue this season, including a 4-2-1 record there during their current nine-game homestand. In each of those losses, Kansas City, who had to open the season with their first 10 games of the year on the road, led entering the game’s final minutes, only to concede a late equalizer and then a winner in stoppage time.
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park will be the 37th different stadium that the Galaxy play a regular season game in since the start of MLS in 1996. All-time, LA are 16-15-5 in their first game at a new stadium, including a 1-1-0 record this season, having beaten Vancouver 4-0 at Empire Field on July 30 and then falling 3-0 to the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field four days later on August 3. Last year, the Galaxy were 2-1-0 in new venues, beating New York at Red Bull Arena and Philadelphia at PPL Park by identical 1-0 scorelines while losing 1-0 to San Jose in their first-ever visit to Buck Shaw Stadium
A BIG BREAK BETWEEN GAMES: Following the postponement of Sunday’s scheduled game against the New York Red Bulls because of Hurricane Irene, the Galaxy will now go 16 days between MLS regular season games. The Galaxy last played an MLS regular season game on August 20, beating San Jose 2-0 behind a debut goal from Robbie Keane and a late clincher from Mike Magee.
In between that game and Monday’s game against Sporting Kansas City, the Galaxy will have played once in the Champions League, once in the Reserve League while also holding eight training sessions. Prior to the game against San Jose, the Galaxy went 14 days between league games, meaning that from August 7 until September 4, the club will have played just once in the league with a pair of Champions League matches added in.
Even with the game against the Red Bulls being rescheduled for Tuesday, October 4 (5 p.m. PT on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes), the Galaxy will go 12 days between games at the start of October as they do not play again after that game until Sunday, October 16. However, from September 5 when LA plays at Kansas City until October 4 when they play in New York, they will play nine games in three countries, travelling to Mexico and Costa Rica in the Champions League in addition to their six league games. The Galaxy will host Colorado, Vancouver, and Real Salt Lake in the league as well as Morelia in the Champions League in that time while travelling to Kansas City, Columbus and New York in the league in addition to Champions League road games against Morelia and Alajuelense.
TOP OF GROUP A IN CCL: Following their 2-0 win of LD Alajuelense on Thursday, the Galaxy currently sit atop Group A in the CONCACAF Champions League with six points. The Galaxy are three points ahead of Alajuelense and three points ahead of Morelia, who beat Motagua 4-0 at home on Thursday. LA will travel to Mexico to face Morelia in their next game in group play on Tuesday, September 13.
The Galaxy are one of just two teams, along with FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders FC to win each of their first two games in group play, while only the Galaxy and Dallas have done so without allowing a goal. LA won each of their games by identical 2-0 scorelines, with Chad Barrett, Adam Cristman, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez all scoring goals while David Beckham leads the way with two assists.
Following that game against Morelia next month, the Galaxy will be halfway through the group stage of the competition with trips to Costa Rica (Wednesday, September 21 at Alajuelense) and Honduras (Thursday, October 20 at Motagua) surrounding their final home game of the group, on Wednesday, September 28 against Morelia. The top two teams in each of the four groups will advance to the Champions League Quarterfinals, which will be held in March 2012.
JUNINHO SEES RED: Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena will be without Brazilian midfielder Juninho, for the club’s trip to Mexico to face Morelia on September 13 following his red card late in the 2-0 win over Alajuelense on Thursday. This was the second red card of the year in all competitions for Juninho, who was also sent off in second half stoppage time of LA’s 0-0 draw at Toronto FC on April 13. The 22-year-old, who is tied for second on the team with four goals in MLS this season, is also second on the Galaxy with four yellow cards in MLS play this season. He has played in 28 of the 30 competitive games that the club has played this year, missing just the 2-1 win at Chicago on April 17 while serving the suspension for his red card and the 2-2 home draw with Toronto on June 11, which he missed after returning to Brazil to be married.
While Juninho is out of that game, David Beckham, Gregg Berhalter, Landon Donovan and Mike Magee are all one yellow card away from having to serve a one-game suspension after being booked in one of the Galaxy’s first two games of the competition.
RESERVE LEAGUE GAME TO BE HELD ON THURSDAY: Last week, the Galaxy’s Reserve League game against Portland was moved from Friday, September 2 to Thursday, September 1. The game will be played at JELD-WEN Field with kick-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
This will be the second and final Reserve League meeting of the year between the two sides, with the Timbers beating LA 3-1 in the first game of the season on April 24. Bryan Jordan scored the Galaxy’s only goal of that game, while Spencer Thompson scored twice and Ryan Pore added another for the Timbers. RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS
The Galaxy are in sixth place of the Reserve League’s West Division with a 1-5-1 record for four points, while the Timbers are in second place with a 4-2-1 record for 13 points. Following Thursday’s game against the Timbers, the Galaxy will host San Jose and Chivas USA on October 3 and October 10, respectively, to close out the Reserve League season.
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