It has been said that records are meant to be broken, and that seems appropriate right now for the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy have the opportunity to set a new MLS record for longest unbeaten streak to start a season Wednesday night in Utah when they face Real Salt Lake.
This will be the second meeting of the year between the clubs, with LA earning a 2-1 win back on April 17. But in an odd twist, or call it a Hollywood script, the Galaxy will have to beat the team that dealt them their cruelest defeat last season, I’m speaking of course of Real’s win on penalties in the MLS Cup Final, to set a new mark in the MLS record books.
I like it. A solid performance, leading to another win would be the perfect way to cap the almost half a season played before the World Cup break.
Real Salt Lake is primed for the rematch, however. They have put together a recent run in league play and like LA are very solid at home. Their most recent performance— a 0-0 draw with D.C. United on Saturday— finished a busy week in the nation’s capitol that included a U.S. Open Cup defeat to D.C. United in extra time and a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama. Needless to say, it had to be a relief to finally return to Salt Lake City, train at their own grounds, eat at their local spots, and with out a doubt, sleep in their own beds.
Trust me on that one. These players are happy to be back home and will be looking to reward the fans at Rio Tinto with a first class performance that will make a statement of their own before the World Cup break.
RSL has been slowed by a few injuries in recent weeks, and speedy striker Robbie Findley is with Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan in South Africa. In his absence, Fabian Espindola teams up with Alvaro Saborio, May’s MLS Player of the Month, up front. Both players have physical size and are also technical players who are talented with the ball at their feet.
That said, I think you saw a pretty good glimpse of how the Galaxy deal with that this past week, against the Dynamo. The combination of Berhalter and Gonzalez has been terrific in defense, and hardly put a foot wrong on Saturday. Berhalter did not play in the first meeting with RSL so I’m thinking that he will be more than ready for this one.
Don’t get me wrong. I am going to Rio Tinto hoping to see the Galaxy reach number 13. After the 4-1 victory against Houston this past weekend, it seems this group is primed for one more solid performance. The contributions came in so many forms against the Dynamo. Although LA was not able to pitch the shutout, defensively, I thought the team played well. If you had the chance to see Cam Weaver’s goal, it is fair to say “unlucky bounce or lucky bounce” if you are a Dynamo fan. Outside of that chance, Ricketts was not overwhelmingly busy in goal. Expect things do be much different this week.
QUICK HITS –
Jovan Kirovski; what a performance this past week against Houston. Clearly his best game in a Galaxy uniform since returning for his second stint with the club. A showing like that has to give Galaxy fans a huge shot of confidence in the event that Landon and Edson are away for more than just two more games.
We may have a new connection here. Michael Stephens and Sean Franklin played like they have a few seasons together holding down the right flank. The young tandem linked up to set up both of Kirovski’s goals, and created numerous other chances, syncing their runs in the midfield. But, Franklin maintained his number one priority defending too.
It has been a while since we gave you a Brazilian update. All is good from the new Samba disciples. Juninho is back after a few days in Brazil. Alex Cazumba played his best match in an LA uniform, and Leonardo is close to a return to action, giving Bruce Arena another defensive option. Tudo Bien!
Lastly, this will be the final “View” for a couple of week. I know you are devastated! With that said, I leave you with my take for Group C. I will try not to remain objective. I see Bob Bradley’s side finishing with five points. If the defense can have a solid showing in the first match and limit Wayne Rooney (no easy task) they will come away with a point. Building on that performance, the U.S. will get the maximum three points in game #2 against Slovenia. Heading into the final game of Group C, needing just a point, the Red, White and Blue survive against the athletic African nation, Algeria and advance to the knockout stages.
But before we even get to that point, sit back and watch the Galaxy try to make it 13 games in a row without a loss on Wednesday night and hopefully head into the World Cup break flying.