CARSON, Calif. (Tuesday, September 6, 2011) – After recording a 2-2 draw in Kansas City on Labor Day, the LA Galaxy return to The Home Depot Center on Friday to take on the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids. The Galaxy will be looking to extend their unbeaten streak to six games in all competitions and move one step closer to clinching a third straight appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Galaxy, in first place of the MLS standings with 52 points, four more than Seattle Sounders FC and six more than FC Dallas, can become the first team in MLS to clinch a spot in the 2011 playoffs this weekend with either a win or a draw against Colorado on Friday combined with Chivas USA, New York and Portland Timbers all failing to win on Saturday.
Friday’s game against the Rapids kicks off at 8 p.m. and will be show live in English on FOX Soccer, starting with the Soccer Night in America pregame show at 7:30 p.m. The game will also be broadcast in Spanish on FOX Deportes starting at 8 p.m.
Following the game, the Galaxy will travel to Michoacán, Mexico on Sunday. Next Tuesday, the club takes on Monarcas Morelia in Round 3 of the CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage. The match, which kicks off at 7 p.m., will also be broadcast 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), Donovan Ricketts (Left Ulna – Fracture)
PROBABLE – None
FRANKLIN IS ON FIRE: Sean Franklin recorded the first multi-goal game of his MLS career on Monday, scoring both Galaxy goals in the 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City. Franklin scored on either side of halftime, giving him four goals on the season, which leaves him tied with Chad Barrett and Juninho as the club’s second leading goal scorer. Franklin, who did not score in any of the first 85 games of his MLS career, scored his first goal of the year in the 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew on July 20. He now has four goals to go along with two assists in his last six games after failing to record any goals or assists in his first 20 games of the year.
The two-goal effort was the fourth multi-goal game of the season for a Galaxy player, and the first by a player other than Landon Donovan. Donovan has scored two goals in a game three times this season, doing so against Portland on April 23, Kansas City on May 14 and in Vancouver on July 30. Prior to Franklin’s two-goal showing on Monday, the last Galaxy player besides Donovan to scored multiple goals in a game was Jovan Kirovski, who scored twice in LA’s 4-1 home win over the Houston Dynamo on June 5, 2010.
A DOZEN ASSISTS FOR BECKHAM: With his assist on Sean Franklin’s goal in the second half of Monday’s draw, David Beckham became the sixth player in LA Galaxy history to record 12 assists in one season. Currently second in MLS in assists, one behind Houston’s Brad Davis, Beckham joined Mauricio Cienfuegos, Landon Donovan, Carlos Hermosillo, Cobi Jones and Martin Machon as the only players in club history to reach 12 assists or more in a single season.
Donovan, who had 16 assists last season, was the last player to accomplish this feat while Cienfuegos was the first player to do so, tallying 12 assists in 1997 and then eclipsing that mark on two other occasions (16 in 1998 and a Galaxy club record 17 in 1999). Jones also accomplished the feat on multiple occasions (13 in 1998 and 13 in 2002), as did Donovan (13 in 2007 and 16 in 2010). Hermosillo and Machon had 12 and 14 assists, respectively, in 1998.
BIRCHALL AND KEANE TO RETURN: After missing Monday’s draw with Kansas City while away on international duty, Chris Birchall and Robbie Keane will rejoin the Galaxy this week ahead of Friday’s match against the Colorado Rapids. Both players took part in two games with their respective national teams over the last five days with Keane captaining Ireland in a pair of draws while Birchall helped Trinidad and Tobago get two wins.
Keane, who made his 110th and 111th appearances for his country, started and played 90 minutes in both of Ireland’s 2012 UEFA European Championship Qualifiers, a 0-0 home draw against Slovakia on Friday and a 0-0 draw against Russia in Moscow on Tuesday. Those results left Ireland in second place in Group B with 15 points, one point ahead of Armenia and Slovakia. Russia is in first place, two points ahead of Ireland, with 17 points heading into the final two games of the group next month.
Birchall, who was making his first appearance for the Soca Warriors in over two years, started both of Trinidad and Tobago’s 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 home win over Bermuda and then playing 60 minutes in midfield in the 2-0 win on the road against Barbados. The wins gave Trinidad six points, leaving them in a first place tie with Guyana in the Group B standings.
RIGHT WHERE THEY WANT TO BE: The Galaxy are in prime position as they prepare for their first away game in the CONCACAF Champions League - in first place of Group A with two wins, no loses and six points. The Galaxy, who defeated Club Motagua of Honduras and LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica in their first two games of group action, will travel to Mexico to face Morelia in their next group play game 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 next week’s game against Morelia, 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 at The Home Depot Center. 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 will not be available for selection against Morelia after receiving a red card late in the 2-0 win over Alajuelense on August 25. While Juninho serves a one-game suspension for his red card, 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.
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