CARSON, Calif. (Monday, September 12, 2011) – The LA Galaxy became the first MLS club to clinch a postseason berth on Friday night, beating Colorado 1-0. Landon Donovan scored the game’s only goal in the first half to give LA the full three points and stretch their lead over Seattle to seven points in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.
However, there was no time to celebrate the achievement as the club was back in training straight away ahead of Tuesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League game against Monarcas Morelia in Michoacán, Mexico. The team flew to Mexico on Sunday ahead of tomorrow night’s game, going through a final training session at Estadio Morelos earlier today. Tuesday’s game, which is LA’s first road game in the Champions League, kicks off at 5 p.m. and will be shown live on FOX Soccer.
The team will return to Southern California following the match and hold two training sessions ahead of Saturday’s game against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at The Home Depot Center. That game, which is presented by Farmers Insurance, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and will be shown on tape delay on FOX Sports West starting at 10:30 p.m. This will be the Whitecaps’ first visit to Southern California to face the Galaxy, who won 4-0 at Empire Field on July 30 for their biggest win of the season. Landon Donovan scored twice on that day while Sean Franklin and Adam Cristman each added goals as LA scored four times in the final 30 minutes to claim the win.
Galaxy Injury Report
OUT – Sean Alvarado (Right Knee – Surgery), Gregg Berhalter (Right Foot – Sprain), Leonardo (Right Knee – Surgery)
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – David Beckham (Back Spasms), Juninho (Left Hamstring – Strain)
PROBABLE – None
PLAYOFF BERTH ASSURED: The LA Galaxy became the first team this season to clinch a berth in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs, which will culminate with MLS Cup 2011 at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, November 20. Following their 1-0 win over Colorado on Friday, the Galaxy are now 15-3-10 for 55 points on the season, which leaves them seven points ahead of Seattle in the race for the Supporters’ Shield and out of reach of Chivas USA, Portland, San Jose and Vancouver in the Western Conference and Chicago, Houston, New England, New York and Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference. LA’s 55 points are the third most in club history, four fewer than they had last year and 13 less than the MLS record 68 points that they had in 1998. They would need at least four wins and a draw from their final six games of the year to match that record.
This will be the Galaxy’s 13th trip to the postseason in 16 years of play. They have reached MLS Cup a record six times while advancing past the first round of postseason play 10 times in their previous 12 playoff appearances.
DONOVAN BACK ON TOP: With his first-half goal against Colorado on Friday night, Landon Donovan has moved back into a tie for the MLS lead in goals with 12. (WATCH) Donovan, who had not scored since July 30 in Vancouver prior to his goal against the Rapids, is now tied with New York’s Thierry Henry for the league lead and one goal ahead of Charlie Davies, who sits in third place with 11 goals on the season. Of that group, only Donovan has ever led MLS in goals before, doing so in 2008 when he had a career-high 20 goals in 25 games. Eight of his goals have come at home while four have come on the road.
In addition to Donovan, the only other Galaxy player to lead the league in goals was Carlos Ruiz, who had a club record 24 goals in 2002 to lead MLS and then 15 goals the following season, leaving him tied with New England’s Taylor Twellman as the league’s top scorer. Edson Buddle nearly won the Budweiser Golden Boot last season but finished one goal behind San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski who had 18 goals compared to Buddle’s 17.
RICKETTS RETURNS: Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made his first appearance for the club in more than two months on Friday, making two saves and keeping a clean sheet in LA’s 1-0 win over Colorado. Ricketts had made just one appearance for the club since the start of June, missing three games while with Jamaica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup before returning for the June 25 visit to San Jose. He broke his forearm in the first half of that game and was forced to undergo surgery to repair the break. After more than a month of rehabilitation, Ricketts returned to light training in mid-August before returning to the field against the Rapids.
Ricketts stopped both shots on goal that he faced in that game for his seventh shutout of the year. Now in his third season with the Galaxy, Ricketts has a 7-1-4 record this season to go along with an MLS-best 0.49 goals against average, which would be the best in MLS history, beating Kevin Hartman’s record 0.62 GAA from last year. In the 13 games that Ricketts has appeared in this season, the Galaxy have allowed just six goals and kept eight clean sheets. The only time he allowed more than one goal in a game was on May 1 in a 2-1 loss on the road to FC Dallas.
ANOTHER CLEAN SHEET: The LA Galaxy extended their club record for shutouts in a season on Friday night, keeping their 14th clean sheet in 28 games this season against the Rapids. LA’s 14 clean sheets are tied for the third most in MLS history by a club in a single season, equaling Chivas USA’s mark from 2007. Only Real Salt Lake last year (15 shutouts in 30 games) and Kansas City in 2000 (an MLS record 17 shutouts in 32 games) have tallied more shutouts than the Galaxy have this season. Bruce Arena’s team needs just one more shutout this season to mark Salt Lake’s tally while they need three in their final six games of the season to equal Kansas City’s MLS record.
Including the Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League, the Galaxy have played a total 32 competitive games this season, keeping a clean sheet in exactly half of those.
In 14 home league games so far this season, the Galaxy have kept seven clean sheets while allowing one goal or less in six of the other seven games. The only time that the Galaxy have allowed more than one goal at home this season was on June 11 in a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC. Last season, the Galaxy kept a clean sheet in three of their first five home games in the league but were unable to record any home shutouts after May 15 in MLS play. Following the 0-0 draw with Toronto at home on May 15, LA allowed at least one goal in 12 consecutive regular season and postseason home games, though they did shutout AC St. Louis in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup.
In 2008, the Galaxy recorded just two shutouts in MLS, the fewest in club history. Since then, the club has played 88 regular season games with 38 shutouts for an average of one every 2.32 games. No other MLS team has as many shutouts in that time as the Galaxy, who also have the MLS record for most all-time shutouts with 128, five more than the Columbus Crew.
ARENA INTO SECOND: With Friday’s win over the Rapids, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena moved into a tie for second place with Bob Bradley for the most wins in MLS history. Arena, who coached D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls before joining the Galaxy in August 2008, now has a 124-72-40 regular season record as an MLS head coach to go along with an 18-6-4 postseason record. He claimed his 124th win in his 236th game while Bradley, who was 124-94-54 in the regular season and 14-13-3 in the postseason, needed 269 games to get just as many wins.
Arena is 47-21-30 in 98 regular season games with the Galaxy and 4-1-2 in the postseason. His 98 games in charge of LA are the second most in club history behind Sigi Schmid, who coached 164 games with the Galaxy, compiling a 79-53-32 regular season record and a 16-7-3 postseason mark, including the club’s first MLS Cup championship in 2002. Schmid, who is now the head coach of Seattle Sounders FC, has the most wins for a coach in MLS history with 152.
OFF TO MEXICO: The Galaxy will play their first road game of the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday evening when they take on Monarcas Morelia at Estadio Morelos in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. This will be just the second game that the Galaxy play in Mexico in an official CONCACAF competition, having previously lost 2-1 to Necaxa in the second leg of the 2003 CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinal in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Necaxa had won the first leg of that series 4-1 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif., giving them a 6-2 series win on aggregate.
The Galaxy have also played five preseason or in-season friendlies in Mexico, though none since 2001. In those five games, the Galaxy have a 3-1-1 record, though none of those games were against Morelia.
Since their inaugural 1996 season, the Galaxy have faced a team from Mexico on a total of 32 occasions in the Champions Cup, SuperLiga and friendlies. In those 32 matches, the Galaxy are 11-9-12, including a 2-2 draw with Club Tijuana in San Diego on March 2, though they went on to lose that game on penalties. LA are 1-3-1 in CONCACAF play, 1-1-1 in SuperLiga and 9-5-10 in friendlies.
SHUTOUT STREAK CONTINUES: The LA Galaxy have not allowed a goal in 237 consecutive minutes in the CONCACAF Champions League, a streak that dates back to August 2010. In the second leg of their Preliminary Round series against Puerto Rico last year, David Foley scored for the Islanders in the 33rd minute, making the score 1-0 in that game and 5-1 in favor of his side on aggregate. However, while the Galaxy did not go on to win that series, they did not allow another goal in that game and have not allowed one so far through the first two games of this year’s competition.
Since they last allowed a goal in the Champions League, the Galaxy have scored six times, tallying twice against Puerto Rico while also scoring twice this year against both Motagua and Alajuelense, though no single player has scored more than one goal. Chad Barrett, Adam Cristman, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez all have goals for the club in the Champions League this year with Sean Franklin scoring one last year and the other coming via an own goal.
FOLLOWING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Following Tuesday’s game against Morelia, the Galaxy will return to Southern California in order to prepare for Saturday’s league game against Vancouver. The Galaxy are 1-0-1 this season following a Champions League match, beating San Jose 2-0 on August 20 after beating Club Motagua 2-0 four days earlier. They then played to a 2-2 draw in Kansas City on September 5 after beating LD Alajuelense 2-0 on August 25. LA were scheduled to face New York at Red Bull Arena three days after that game, but that match was postponed until Tuesday, October 4 because of Hurricane Irene.
Last year, the Galaxy were 1-1-0 following their two Champions League games, losing 3-2 at home to Chicago on August 1 following a home loss to Puerto Rico in the first leg of their Preliminary Round series and then beating New York 1-0 on the road on August 10 after beating Puerto Rico in the second leg of their series on August 4.
IN THE COMMUNITY
GALAXY TO HOST DRIVE SERIES FOOD DRIVE ON SATURDAY: As part of Hunger Action Month, the Galaxy will ask fans to donate non-perishable, food items such as canned vegetables, peanut butter, canned meats (i.e. tuna, chicken, spam), canned fruits and spaghetti to benefit the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank at Saturday’s game against the Whitecaps. Collection booths will be set up outside of all gates at The Home Depot Center starting two hours prior to the game. All fans that donate five canned food items or $5.00 will receive a Galaxy Drive Series voucher good for $5 off a ticket to the Galaxy’s game against Real Salt Lake on October 1, a player card signed by Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and be entered into a drawing to win a soccer ball signed by members of the 2011 Galaxy.
NEED TO KNOW
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