CARSON, Calif. (Monday, October 3, 2011) – The LA Galaxy are now just one win away from repeating as Supporters’ Shield winners following Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Real Salt Lake. Now seven points ahead of Seattle with three games remaining on the schedule, the Galaxy are on the verge of claiming the Supporters’ Shield for the second straight season, needing just one win or one Seattle loss from their final three games to claim the prize, which is given annually to the team that finishes with the most points in the regular season.
The Galaxy will look to get that win on Tuesday night when they face the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The Galaxy flew to the East Coast on Sunday before training on Monday ahead of tomorrow’s game, which will be shown live on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and espn3.com starting at 5 p.m. (PT). This game was originally scheduled for August 28, but was postponed until Tuesday because of Hurricane Irene, which struck the East Coast that weekend.
Following the game, the team will return to Southern California and enjoy a few days off before returning to training at the start of next week ahead of the club’s regular season home finale on Sunday, October 16 against Chivas USA in the second leg of the SuperClasico. TICKETS
OUT – Sean Alvarado (Right Knee – Surgery), Gregg Berhalter (Right Foot – Sprain), Sean Franklin (Right Knee – Inflammation), Leonardo (Right Knee – Surgery)
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – David Beckham (Back Spasms), Chris Birchall (Left Hamstring – Strain), Landon Donovan (Right Quad – Strain), Mike Magee (Right Hamstring – Strain), Donovan Ricketts (Right Quad – Tightness)
PROBABLE – None
ONE WIN AWAY: Following their come-from-behind 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday, the Galaxy are now on the verge of claiming the Supporters’ Shield, which is given annually to the team with the best regular season record in MLS. The Galaxy are now 18-3-10 on the year for 64 points. That leaves them seven points ahead of Seattle, who are in action tonight in the U.S. Open Cup Final, and have three games remaining on their schedule. STANDINGS
If the Galaxy win any of their final three league games, or Seattle lose any of their remaining league games, the Galaxy will claim the Supporters’ Shield for the second consecutive season. Additionally, LA can claim the Shield, which they also won in 1998 and 2002, with any combination of two draws in the six remaining Galaxy or Sounders’ games. LA owns the tiebreaker over Sigi Schmid’s side after taking four points from their series against the Sounders, compared to Seattle’s one. LA won their season opener 1-0 in Seattle before playing to a 0-0 draw at home on July 4.
All of the other 16 teams in the league have been eliminated from Supporters’ Shield consideration. If the Galaxy can hold on to win the Shield, they will claim it for the fourth time in club history, equaling D.C. United for the most in league history.
ONE SHUTOUT AWAY: Despite allowing a first half goal to Real Salt Lake on Saturday, the Galaxy remain one shutout away from tying the MLS record for shutouts in a single season. The Galaxy have 16 shutouts in their first 31 regular season games this year, leaving them one shy of the MLS record of 17 shutouts in a single season, which was set by the Kansas City Wizards in 2000 when they went on to win MLS Cup for the first and only time in the club’s history.
Of those 16 shutouts, seven have come on the road, including one in their last road game, a 1-0 win over Columbus at Crew Stadium on September 24. That result gave them three shutouts in their last five road games dating back to a 0-0 draw with San Jose on June 25.
In 16 home league games so far this season, the Galaxy have kept nine clean sheets while allowing just one goal in five of the other six games. The only time that the Galaxy have allowed more than one goal at home this season was on June 11 in a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC.
In all competitions this season, the Galaxy have 18 shutouts in 38 games while allowing just 31 goals for a 0.82 goals against average. Josh Saunders has nine of those shutouts, including the only two that LA have kept outside of MLS play, while Donovan Ricketts has seven, Brian Perk has one and the combination of Ricketts, Saunders and Mike Magee combined for the other in a 0-0 draw in San Jose on June 25.
STILL UNBEATEN AT HOME: Saturday night’s 2-1 home win over Real Salt Lake allowed the Galaxy to remain as the only team in MLS this season without a loss at home. In 16 MLS regular season home games this year, the Galaxy are 11-0-5 for 38 of their league-best 64 points. They have won each of their last seven home games in the league and have outscored opponents 27-8 at The Home Depot Center this season, keeping 10 clean sheets while allowing more than one goal just once.
The Galaxy, who are 29-9-13 at home in the regular season under Bruce Arena, are now unbeaten in their last 17 home regular season games, equaling a club record. From July 4, 2004 until July 16, 2005, the Galaxy went 11-0-6 at home. During their current streak, which is still 12 games shy of the MLS record of 29, LA are 12-0-5. LA’s current 17-game unbeaten streak is tied as the fourth longest in MLS history. The San Jose Earthquakes had an 18-game unbeaten streak at home while the Columbus Crew once went 22 straight home games without a loss and Real Salt Lake have the MLS record of 29 straight home games without a loss in the regular season, a streak that was broken earlier this season.
Since the start of MLS in 1996, only two teams have ever gone the entire season without losing a game at home. The 2005 San Jose Earthquakes were 9-0-7 for 34 of a possible 48 points at home while Real Salt Lake was 11-0-4 at home in 2010, taking 37 of a possible 45 points at home. The Galaxy enjoyed their best home season in 2002, going 11-1-2 in their final year at the Rose Bowl for 35 of a possible 42 points. They then went 3-0-0 at home in the postseason, outscoring opponents 12-4 en route to winning their first MLS Cup.
FOUR POINTS FROM RECORD: With their win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday, the Galaxy now have 64 points, leaving them tied with the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes for the second most points in a single MLS season. The Earthquakes went 18-4-10 that year to finish with 64 points, which are four fewer than the MLS record of 68 points, which was set by the 1998 Galaxy.
If the Galaxy are able to take a single point from any of their next three games, the club will set a new record for the most points in a season since the end of the shootout to decide games following the 1999 season.
If the Galaxy can record a win and a draw from their final three games, they will match the 1998 squad’s tally of 68 points. If they can get two wins in those games, they will become the first MLS team ever to reach the 70-point plateau.
With the win on Saturday over RSL, LA also equaled the MLS record for wins in a single season since the end of the shootout. The 2005 Earthquakes set that mark in 2005 with 18 wins while the Galaxy matched it in 2010, going 18-7-5 for 59 points en route to winning the Supporters’ Shield for the first time since 2002.
TOP TWO: Despite allowing a goal against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night, Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders maintained his 0.99 goals against average on the season. That leaves him in second place in the league for the lowest GAA, having allowed 17 goals in 18 regular season games. That leaves him as one of two goalkeepers in MLS that have played at least 900 minutes this year and are averaging to allow less than a goal per game.
Saunders’ Galaxy teammate Donovan Ricketts, who has allowed just six goals in 13 games, has the lowest GAA in MLS this season at 0.49, which would be the lowest in MLS history.
Only two goalkeepers in Galaxy history have ever played more than one game and had a goals against average of lower than 1.00 in a single season. Kevin Hartman had a 0.91 GAA in 1999 while Ricketts had a club record 0.90 GAA last season.
WINDING DOWN: The Galaxy’s busy September/early October schedule is winding to an end. Having already played eight games since September 5, the Galaxy’s busiest stretch of the season will come to an end with Tuesday’s game at Red Bull Arena. Following that game, the team will return to Southern California and will not play another game until their regular season home finale against Chivas USA on October 16.
Through the first eight of nine games during their 30-day schedule, the Galaxy are 5-2-1 with wins over Colorado, Vancouver, Columbus and Salt Lake in the league, as well as a win over Morelia in the Champions League. The two losses each came in the Champions League, losing on the road to Morelia and Alajuelense while they earned a road draw with Sporting Kansas City to begin the hectic portion of the schedule.
LA are outscoring opponents 12-7 during their current run of games with Mike Magee scoring a team-best three goals in that time. Chad Barrett, Sean Franklin and Robbie Keane each have two goals while Landon Donovan and Juninho each have one. Josh Saunders has played in goal in seven of those eight games, with Donovan Ricketts returning for the 1-0 win over Colorado on September 9.
BACK TO BACK FOR BARRETT: Chad Barrett moved into sole possession of second place on the team in goals scored in the league with his second half-tally against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. That goal was Barrett’s sixth in the league this season and his seventh for the Galaxy in all competition, having also scored in their 2-0 win over Alajuelense in the Champions League on August 25. Mike Magee also has seven goals for LA in all competitions, though only five have come in the league.
Barrett’s goal was the 40th of his MLS career and left him one goal shy of matching his total of seven league goals from last season when he was a member of Toronto FC. This is the second time this season that Barrett has scored in consecutive games, having previously done so in Chicago on April 17 and then again at home against Portland on April 23. He is one of just four players, joining Landon Donovan, Juninho and Mike Magee that have scored in consecutive games this year for LA.
BECKHAM BACK INTO THE LEAGUE LEAD: David Beckham recorded his MLS-best 15th assist of the season on Saturday night against Real Salt Lake, setting up Chad Barrett’s second half goal. Beckham now has one more assist than Houston’s Brad Davis, who has 14 in 32 games for the Dynamo.
Beckham’s 15 assists are the fourth most in a single season by a Galaxy player. He is two assists shy of Mauricio Cienfuegos’ club record of 17 assists that he set in 1999 and one shy of tying Cienfuegos and Landon Donovan for the second most in a season club history. Cienfuegos had 16 for the Galaxy in 1998 while Donovan did last year.
He now has 31 career assists for the club, leaving him in fifth in club history, behind only Cienfuegos, Donovan, Cobi Jones and Simon Elliott who had 33 assists for the club, leaving him in fourth place for the club. He has three assists in seven career games against the Galaxy.
KEANE CALLED UP: The Galaxy will be without Robbie Keane for Tuesday’s game against the Red Bulls, as the forward has flown to Ireland ahead of their final games of qualifying for the 2012 European Championships. Keane, who has three goals in six games in all competitions for the Galaxy since joining the club last month, will try to lead Ireland to their first major international tournament since the 2002 FIFA World Cup as they take on Andorra and Armenia.
Ireland are currently in second place in Group B of qualifying for the tournament, which will be held in Poland and Ukraine next summer. They have a 4-1-3 record for 15 points, leaving them two points behind first place Russia and one point ahead of both Armenia and Slovakia, who are tied for third place. Ireland will play on the road against Andorra, who have lost all eight of their games so far, on Friday, October 7 before hosting Armenia in Dublin on Tuesday, October 11 in their final game of group play. Keane has played in and started all eight of Ireland’s previous qualifiers, playing at least 85 minutes in each, and scoring five of their 11 goals.
If Ireland finish in first place, they will automatically advance to the European Championships for the first time since 1988. They could also qualify for the tournament by finishing in second place in their group with the best second place team amongst all nine groups advancing directly to the tournament while the other eight will be paired off to play a two-leg playoff, which would be played in mid-November, with the four winners advancing to the European Championships.
BIRCHALL TOO: The Galaxy will also be without Chris Birchall for Tuesday’s games as he was included in the Trinidad & Tobago squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bermuda and Barbados. Currently suffering from a left hamstring strain, Birchall did not travel to Bermuda with the rest of the T&T squad for Friday’s game, electing to stay behind in Southern California to get treatment in order to be ready to play against Barbados at home on October 11.
Birchall, who has 38 career caps with the Soca Warriors, started each of their first two games in this round of qualifying, helping them win twice to move into a tie with Guyana for first place in Group B.
DONOVAN REMAINS IN LA: Landon Donovan is also not available for Tuesday’s game against the Red Bulls, having remained in Los Angeles to receive treatment on a right quad strain that he suffered late in Saturday’s win over Real Salt Lake. He scored LA’s only goal when the two sides met earlier this year, playing to a 1-1 draw, and has nine goals in 14 career regular season games against New York, including six goals and two assists in 11 games against them with LA. Donovan will also miss the two upcoming friendlies for the U.S. National Team in order to completely recover from the injury.
The Galaxy captain has a team-best 12 goals in 23 games this season, while adding three assists. He has 13 goals and four assists in 29 games on all competitions for the Galaxy.
DUNIVANT HITS 30: Todd Dunivant started and appeared in his 30th regular season game of the year on Saturday, playing the full 90 minutes at left back. The first Galaxy player to do so this season, this is the third time that Dunivant has played 30 games in a year and the second time he has done so as a member of the Galaxy, having also done so in 2005.
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