CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy haven’t been perfect this season, in fact far from it, but head coach Bruce Arena said he’s been fairly pleased overall with his two-time defending MLS Cup champions as they prepare for Wednesday’s match against the Montreal Impact at StubHub Center (7:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes, 1330-AM, LIVECHAT).
And now, heading into the last three games of the regular season, Arena explained just how well his team has fared lately.
“Since the AC Milan exhibition (a 2-0 loss in Miami, Fla., as part of the International Champions Cup), we have a record of 7-2-3,” he pointed out. “Twenty-five goals for, 10 against. We haven’t played poorly. Have we played as well as we would have liked? No.
“For the most part we’ve been a pretty solid team over the last 12 games and we need to continue that in our next four games to close out the season, then hopefully we’re in position to be in the playoffs and play well and position ourselves to defend our MLS Cup.”
The first step toward that goal is Wednesday’s game against an Impact (13-11-7, 46 points) squad that, like the Galaxy (14-11-6, 48 points), is in the thick of the playoff picture. The Impact are tied for fourth in the East with Chicago and Philadelphia, only two points behind third place Houston.
It’s just as crazy in the West, where the Galaxy are tied for fourth with Colorado, only three points behind third place Seattle and four behind second place Real Salt Lake. San Jose and Vancouver are close behind the Galaxy with 47 and 45 points, respectively.
Wednesday’s match likely will feature patchwork lineups on the part of both teams because of injuries, international absences and yellow card accumulation.
The status of the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez remains unclear. Donovan aggravated an ankle injury while with the U.S. National Team in their 2-0 victory over Jamaica last Friday and may not be ready to go. Gonzalez suffered a left hip strain in the Galaxy’s last game, a 5-0 win over Chivas more than week ago, and he might not be available, either. Also missing are Robbie Keane, who was with Ireland’s national team for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan, and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who was in Panama for his team’s all-important qualifier against the U.S.
Montreal will be short-handed, too. The Impact, losers of four of their last five matches (0-4-1), will be without captain Davy Arnaud and starting center back Matteo Ferrari, both of whom are suspended because of yellow card accumulation. Starting right back Jeb Brovsky remains unlikely to play because of a broken toe.
But they do have 37-year-old Marco di Vaio, who is tied with the Chicago Fire’s Mike Magee for most goals this season, 19.
“They’ve been a good team all year, they’ve been positioned for the Supporters’ Shield for most the year,” Arena said. ”They fell off a little lately, but depending on who they choose to use tomorrow they’ll be difficult regardless.”
Added left back Todd Dunivant, “I know they’re going through a rough patch right now, but they have a lot of weapons. It’s going to be a tough game.”