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Preview: Galaxy at DC United

The basics

Los Angeles Galaxy (11-2-3, first in Western Conference) vs. D.C. United (16-3-10, 7th in Eastern Conference) at RFK Stadium.

The Galaxy lead the all-time regular-season series between these teams with 15 wins, 13 losses and 6 draws.

TV Info

7:30 p.m. ET; Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Español

What's at stake?

The two founding members of the MLS aristocracy, United and the Galaxy share winning traditions, but are experiencing vastly different realities at the moment. Much as he did in Washington a decade-and-a-half ago, coach Bruce Arena has brought clarity and consistency to the underachieving California club and the result is a six-point lead atop the league and Western Conference standings. After a rare loss in New England last week, LA are seeking a return to form, while desperate United need a run of victories to maintain hope for their season.

Last meeting

Playoff-chasing United hosted the Galaxy at RFK on August 22, 2009, and were held to a 0-0 draw. DC striker Luciano Emilio saw a goal waved off by a questionable offside call and in the end Landon Donovan, David Beckham & Co. were happy to take a road point.

Remember when?

From the inaugural MLS Cup championship game in 1996 to Beckham’s MLS debut on August 9, 2007, meetings between United and the Galaxy have often turned out to be momentous occasions. A week after LA lost to DC at RFK in that first league appearance, Beckham used a rematch in the SuperLiga semifinal to produce one of the only bright spots of his inaugural season in the US, whipping a glorious free kick past Troy Perkins for his first stateside goal.

Heroes & villains

Landon Donovan vs. the United midfield: It may take several bodies to get this job done for DC. The Galaxy No. 10 stayed home to recuperate from World Cup duty while his team was put to the sword by the Revolution, so Donovan should be motivated and ready to make an impact at one of his favorite road venues.

Calling Doctors Boskovic and Hernandez: United debuted their new signings against Seattle on Thursday, and while Argentine Pablo Hernandez looked lively, designated player Branko Boskovic still needs time and fitness work before he can make an impact. But time is not on DC’s side, and Sunday would be a fine time for one of them to step up.

Stat that makes you go "Hmm …"

If the current standings don’t drive home these teams’ differing fortunes, the statistics certainly do. LA have scored the most goals, allowed the fewest and own the best goal differential in MLS, while United sit at the opposite end of all three categories.

He said it

“It's a great environment. When they have a good crowd in that stadium, it rocks. Over the years it's gotten beat up a little bit and it is getting on in years, but when you step on the field it's still a special place for a game in MLS.” – Bruce Arena pays tribute to atmospheric RFK