CARSON, Calif. (Monday, October 24, 2011) – More than seven months after the MLS regular season began; the MLS Cup Playoffs have arrived. The quest for MLS Cup begins on Wednesday with the first of two Wild Card Matches and will culminate at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, November 20 with MLS Cup 2011.
The Galaxy will discover their Western Conference Semifinal Series opponent following the completion of the Wild Card Matches on Wednesday and Thursday. If New York beats FC Dallas on Wednesday night, the Galaxy would then face the Red Bulls in a two-game, home-and-home, aggregate goal series, starting at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, October 30, with the return leg being played at The Home Depot Center on Thursday, November 3.
If FC Dallas beats the Red Bulls, the Galaxy will then face the winner of Thursday’s Wild Card Match between Colorado and Columbus, with that game also to be played on Sunday, October 30.
No matter who the Galaxy play in the Western Conference Semifinals, they will host the second leg of that series at The Home Depot Center on Thursday, November 3. That game, which will be presented by Pechanga Resort & Casino, will kick off at 8 p.m. and be shown live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Tickets are available now as low as $30. BUY NOW
OUT – Sean Alvarado (Right Knee – Surgery), Bryan Jordan (Left Middle Finger Tendon – Rupture), Leonardo (Right Knee – Surgery)
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – David Beckham (Back Spasms), Gregg Berhalter (Right Foot – Sprain), Landon Donovan (Right Quad – Strain), Sean Franklin (Right Knee – Inflammation), Robbie Keane (Left Adductor – Strain), Dustin McCarty (Concussion)
PROBABLE – None
GALAXY OPEN POSTSEASON SCHEDULE SUNDAY: The Galaxy will open their 2011 postseason schedule on Sunday on the road against Colorado, Columbus or New York. Bruce Arena’s team went 4-0-2 against those three teams this season, sweeping Colorado and Columbus while going 0-1-1 against the Red Bulls. LA beat Colorado 3-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on June 18 and then again at The Home Depot Center on September 9 while claiming a pair of 1-0 wins, at home on July 20 and on the road on September 24, over the Crew.
The Red Bulls are one of just three teams that the Galaxy did not beat in the regular season this year, playing them to a 1-1 draw at The Home Depot Center and losing 2-0 at Red Bull Arena on October 4. New York is the only team to make the playoffs that the Galaxy did not beat this season.
The Galaxy have never lost a postseason series against any of those three teams, facing Colorado four times and New York once, though they have never faced Columbus in the MLS Cup Playoffs. LA knocked the Rapids out of the playoffs in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2005, going 6-1-0 in seven games between the two sides and allowing just one goal while scoring 14. In the 2001 MLS Cup Playoffs, the Galaxy went 1-1-1 against the MetroStars (now Red Bulls) and beat them in a series tiebreaker in the MLS Quarterfinals to advance.
MCBEAN MAKES IT INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: Rookie forward Jack McBean wrote his name into the Galaxy record books on Sunday against the Houston Dynamo. The 16-year-old Home Grown Player made the first appearance of his MLS career, starting and playing the full 90 minutes up front in the 3-1 loss to Houston, scoring his team’s only goal in the 88th minute. McBean is now the youngest player to appear in, start and play the full 90 minutes in a game while also breaking Tristan Bowen’s record as the youngest player ever to score a goal for the club. Bowen was 19 years and 119 days old when he scored his first MLS goal for the Galaxy in a 2-0 win over Columbus in May 2010. That is more than two full years older than McBean, who was just 16 years and 312 days old.
Prior to the start of the 2010 MLS season, no teenager had ever scored for the Galaxy. Danny Califf had been the youngest player ever to score for the club at the age of 20 years and 92 days, when he scored against Tampa Bay on June 17, 2000.
RICKETTS AND SAUNDERS FINISH 1-2: Galaxy goalkeepers Donovan Ricketts and Josh Saunders finished the season ranked one-two in terms of the lowest goals against average in MLS. The pair started 33 of the Galaxy’s 34 regular season games this season and helped the team concede a league-low 28 goals, which were eight fewer than any other team.
In 15 games this season, Ricketts set a new club record with a 0.77goals against average, allowing 11 goals and keeping seven clean sheets. Ricketts also led the league with a 75.9% saves percentage, stopping 41 of the 53 shots on goal that he faced, with two shots being cleared off the line. Seattle’s Kasey Keller also had a 75.9% save percentage this season while Saunders finished third in the league with a 75.3% save percentage.
Saunders stepped in to play a career-high 19 games, making 18 starts and allowing only 17 goals for a 0.93 GAA, which was the second best in the league this season. After having never played in more than six games in a single season, Saunders set new career-highs in games played (19), games started (18), saves (55) and shutouts (8) while recording a 12-2-4 record.
Outside of the club’s two goalkeepers, the only Galaxy players to lead the league in a statistical category this season were David Beckham and Landon Donovan. Beckham had a league-best seven game-winning assists and finished tied for the league lead with 10 yellow cards while Donovan scored a goal in five consecutive games between April 23 and May 14, matching the longest streak of the season.
FOUR CUP WINNERS: Heading into the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs, four of the 30 players that are on the current Galaxy roster have won MLS Cup. Landon Donovan, Todd Dunivant, Frankie Hejduk and Josh Saunders have all won MLS Cup, while 11 others have helped their team reach MLS Cup but are yet to win a championship.
Donovan, Dunivant and Saunders were all members of the 2003 San Jose Earthquakes and the 2005 LA Galaxy, with Donovan also winning in 2001 with the Earthquakes. Hejduk won the Cup for the first time in 2008, captaining the Columbus Crew to a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls at The Home Depot Center, scoring his team’s third and final goal.
Hejduk is one of three Galaxy players to have scored in MLS Cup, joining Donovan, who has three goals in four MLS Cup appearances, and Mike Magee, who scored LA’s only goal in their last visit to MLS Cup in 2009. Thirteen players from the Galaxy’s 2009 MLS Cup squad remain on the Galaxy roster today, with 12 of those 13 having played some part in that game as the Galaxy drew 1-1 with Real Salt Lake before falling on penalties.
MOVING ON IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: With their 1-0 win on the road over Motagua on Thursday, the LA Galaxy advanced to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time in club history. The Galaxy finished atop Group A with 12 points, beating out Morelia and Alajuelense on tiebreakers, to become just the second team in MLS history to win their group in the Champions League. They will now face Isidro Metapan of El Salvador, Seattle Sounders FC or Toronto FC in the quarterfinals in a two-game, home-and-home, aggregate goal series, starting in March. The quarterfinal draw will be held later this year, with the Galaxy slated to open the series on the road before returning home a week later for the return leg.
GOAL OF THE YEAR VOTING OPENS ON TUESDAY: Online voting for the Major League Soccer Goal of the Year will open on Tuesday, October 25 at mlssoccer.com. A total of 64 goals have been nominated for the award, which will feature all 32 Goal of the Week award winners as well as 32 additional goals that have been chosen by MLSSoccer.com’s editorial staff. There will be at least two Galaxy goals included in the Goal of the Year nominees, with David Beckham tallying the Goal of the Week in both Week 9 and Week 17.
For more information about the voting process and to vote, starting tomorrow, please click here.
ARE YOU READY PHOTO CONTEST NOW OPEN: The LA Galaxy are ready for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs and now the club is giving fans a chance to prove that they’re ready as well. The club is inviting fans to submit an original photograph taken in a creative, dramatic or artistic manner that demonstrates how they are ready for the postseason. All submissions sent between now and 11:59 a.m. (PT) on Monday, October 31 will be judged by the club’s official photographer based on their creativity, artistry and demonstration of the theme. Five finalists will then be selected for fans to vote on starting Thursday, November 3 when the Galaxy host the second and final leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series at The Home Depot Center.
The submission that receives the most votes by Sunday, November 6 will win a one-of-a-kind, framed 20x24 metallic print of one or more LA Galaxy player(s) taken during the playoff photo shoot.
IN THE COMMUNITY
MEET ROBBIE KEANE AND JOVAN KIROVSKI: Galaxy fans will have the chance to meet Robbie Keane, who will be making his first public appearance for the club, and Jovan Kirovski on Tuesday, October 25. Keane and Kirovski will be at The Home Depot in Huntington Park from 6-7 p.m., signing autographs for the first 200 fans in attendance. For more information about this event, please be sure to visit www.facebook.com/lagalaxy and click on the "events" tab for all the latest information about this event. Or, click here.
NEED TO KNOW
LOOKING FOR MORE UPDATES?: If you are looking for continuous updates from the Galaxy all week long, be sure to visit the club’s official websites www.lagalaxy.com and www.lagalaxyfutbol.com. The Galaxy can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lagalaxy and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lagalaxy.