LA looking to build on momentum, contain Lenhart
CARSON, Calif. — Thanks to the Gold Cup and a back injury, the LA Galaxy will be without two of their top players when the club visits the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday (6:30 pm ET; FOX Soccer, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Still, a tight field and missing players haven’t dampened the club’s spirits as players are determined to build on last weekend’s road triumph and extend their unbeaten run to double digits.
“For us, it’s going to be a challenge trying to keep the momentum from last weekend,” Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Ángel said. “Our result in Colorado was great, our team effort and the way we played was really, really good. For us, it’s just trying to build up from that result and keep the momentum going.”
The Galaxy thumped the Rapids 3-1 a week ago and did so without Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Donovan Ricketts. The club will get Ricketts back for the match as Jamaica were ousted from the Gold Cup last Sunday with a 2-0 setback against the United States.
Donovan, though, is playing in the Gold Cup final, and back spasms will likely keep Beckham home once more.
San Jose also both benefited and lost from the Gold Cup. US forward Chris Wondolowski will be with Donovan for the final, but the Quakes will have Jamaican attacker Ryan Johnson, who played for his club in a reserve match earlier this week, available.
In Johnson and Steven Lenhart, the Quakes have a pair of dangerous weapons who can do damage, with or without Wondolowski.
“Two big, physical, fast players who don’t quit,” Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said. “If you’re not ready mentally, they’ll kill you. Both guys give it their all for 90 minutes. Lenhart is winning everything in the air, running around, kicking people and Ryan Johnson is the same. We have to go in with the right mentality. That’s the only way we can approach this game.”
Lenhart already proved his worth without “Wondo” around. Against D.C. United, Lenhart had a hat-trick and an assist in leading San Jose to a 4-2 victory.
Playing smartly against Lenhart and Johnson is all the Galaxy need to do in order to come away with the desired result.
“Lenhart is a poacher in the box,” Galaxy defender Sean Franklin said. “He just snuffs out everything — second balls, he’s always active around the box. We just have to be aware of where he’s moving, things like that. This past weekend we did a good job against Conor Casey and [Caleb] Folan who are also big guys and are active. If we do that, we kind of take them out of their game, take them out of their rhythm and play a smart game, we’ll come out with three points.”