CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano gives his Three Points to Saturday’s match against Toronto FC…
STAY FOCUSED AND WIN KEY BATTLES
For the LA Galaxy to clinch a playoff berth with a win against Toronto FC, LA must display focus for 90 minutes, something that has eluded TFC too often this season.
Expect the Galaxy attack, which will be led by the forward pairing of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane to come out quickly and look to put the Eastern bottom-dwellers behind early. Aiding LA’s attempts to burst out of the gates, will be their fresh legs as eight of last week’s starters rested during LA’s scoreless draw against the Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday.
A fast start isn’t the only key battle that LA must win. LA needs to look to force the issue late as well, as Toronto has given up an astounding 17 goals in the last 15 minute of games, in all competitions this year.
DON’T OVERLOOK LAST PLACE TORONTO
With the LA Galaxy rapidly climbing the Western Conference and Toronto FC in last in the East, LA are understandably heavy favorites on Saturday, but the match promises to be anything but a walk in the park.
Winless in MLS play since July 18th -- going 0-6-3 in that span— Toronto may not be picking up victories, but they are creating scoring chances. With forward Eric Hassli unavailable due to a right ankle sprain, the task of leading TFC’s attack will fall to the duo of Ryan Johnson and Luis Silva, who have shown an ability to create numerous chances against opposing defenses as of late. For the Galaxy to defeat Toronto, expect center backs Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza to pressure the Toronto’s attackers physically from the start as they look to minimize scoring chances.
Not overlooking TFC will be vital as the Galaxy have painful memories of the last time the Reds descended on The Home Depot Center. Way back in March when an underdog Toronto side eliminated the heavily favored Galaxy from the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
TARGET THE FLANKS
One of the major aspects of the Galaxy game plan on Saturday will be making life difficult for TFC’s inexperienced outside back tandem.
Using the quickness and guile of probable starters Mike Magee and Christian Wilhelmsson, the Galaxy flank players are expected to create serious issues for Toronto’s tandem of Jeremy Hall and Ashtone Morgan. At key moments this season, the pair has displayed a penchant for turning the ball over once under pressure from quick wingers, making it vital that LA tests them early.
But the Galaxy must be weary on the counter, however, because while their defense is suspect, both possess speed in the attack combining for six assists in MLS play this season.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and follow him on Twitter at @LAGalaxyInsider. Contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@gmail.com