CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy midfielder Dema Kovalenko is adamant that the Supporters’ Shield will not be enough of a reward for the 2010 season should the Galaxy emerge empty-handed and fail to win the Western Conference Championship against FC Dallas on Sunday (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
“Listen, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t care about the Supporters’ Shield,” he told MLSsoccer.com after his team’s final practice on Saturday. “It’s a good accomplishment, don’t’ get me wrong. For a team to go and finish first all year is very difficult. But at this point right now it doesn’t matter.
“It’s what you work for all year from January camp to now. It’s a tough road. I’m just glad and thankful that I have an opportunity to be part of this game. That’s what we play for. The regular season is great and first place, but it doesn’t matter.”
Kovalenko is the Galaxy player whose primary responsibility will be to keep tabs on FC Dallas midfielder and MLS MVP candidate David Ferreira.
Under LA manager Bruce Arena, the native of Ukraine has assumed a new role as a defensive midfielder, even somewhat reluctantly. Kovalenko says he would rather push forward and create scoring chances. Although says he does not agree with his new position, he wants to do whatever he is asked to make sure the Galaxy are successful.
“He’s just a very hard-nosed player and makes it difficult for the attack-minded players in the middle of the field,” said FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty. “He knows what he’s good at. I think he’ll definitely try to frustrate us. It’ll be our job to stay calm.”
Kovalenko’s only MLS Cup ring came with D.C. United in 2004 and he missed out on the 2009 final against Real Salt Lake due to illness. He is hungry for another title.
“At this point in my career, all I want to do is win,” Kovalenko said. “I don’t know how many years I have left. Hopefully a couple more. … I’ve played on great teams but it doesn’t mean it gives you a championship.”
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