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Eastern Conference Championship

Preview: Revs look to keep it going against resurgent LA

LA vs NE, March 31

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LA GALAXY vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
March 31, 2012 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #33)
8 p.m. PT (NBC SN; TSN2)

The LA Galaxy return to action after a welcome weekend off when they face a New England Revolution club looking for a little success on the West Coast as the clubs meet Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy went into their bye week with a pleasing 3-1 win against D.C. United two weeks ago. The Revolution are coming off their first win in their home opener, making a very early goal count for a 1-0 triumph against the Portland Timbers.

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Armando Villarreal
MLS Career: 146 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 42; pens: 54

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT:

  • LA GALAXY -- OUT: DF Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); GK Brian Perk (sports hernia surgery); QUESTIONABLE: FW Adam Cristman (concussion); MF Bryan Jordan (L hamstring strain); MF Jose Villarreal (bilateral lower leg surgery)
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: FW Zak Boggs (R ankle sprain); MF Benny Feilhaber (L peroneal strain); MF Sainey Nyassi (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: DF John Lozano (R hip flexor strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Darrius Barnes (L calf strain); PROBABLE: DF Kevin Alston (nasal fracture); MF Shalrie Joseph (illness); DF Chris Tierney (R ankle sprain)

LIVE GAMES ON NBC SPORTS THIS WEEKEND

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (35 meetings): Galaxy 16 wins (2 shootout), 54 goals ... Revolution 13 wins (1 shootout), 47 goals ... Ties 6

AT LA (18 meetings): Galaxy 10 wins (0 shootout), 29 goals ... Revolution 4 wins (0 shootout), 18 goals ... Ties 4

LAST YEAR (MLS):

3/20: LA 1, NE 1 (Juninho 39 - Joseph 3)

5/28: NE 0, LA 1 (Lopez 69)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Galaxy have won two of the last three meetings at The Home Depot Center with the Revolution, with one draw. That ended a streak of three consecutive New England wins vs. LA in Carson, from 2006-08.
  • The Galaxy have won on two of their last three visits to Gillette Stadium, including a 1-0 victory last season.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. LA: P24 W13 L8 D3 ... Jay Heaps vs. LA: first game

NBC Sports Preview: LA vs NE

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy return to action after a weekend off, their last match a 3-1 home win against D.C. United on March 18 at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy are tied for eighth place in the Western Conference with 3 points from 2 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy opened the scoring moments before the end of the first half. Mike Magee floated a cross into the box to defender Todd Dunivant, whose header found Robbie Keane waiting on the right post, and he turned the ball into the goal.
  • LA took a commanding two-goal lead in the 69th minute. Landon Donovan dispossessed Branko Boskovic in midfield before playing the ball across to Keane, who fired home past Joe Willis from 16 yards out for his first brace in MLS.
  • The Galaxy sealed the match in 85th minute, when Marcelo Sarvas knocked the ball wide to David Beckham, then continued into the area to head home Beckham's cross from the spot.
  • United pulled a goal back through rookie Nick DeLeon in the 86th minute, as he whipped in a shot from 16 yards out on the left that struck the far post before going in.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that crashed to a 3-1 defeat by Real Salt Lake at The Home Depot Center. Andrew Boyens came into the back four for Tommy Meyer, Juninho came into the midfield for Marcelo Sarvas, and Chad Barrett started up top in place of Edson Buddle.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Andrew Boyens, Todd Dunivant - Landon Donovan, Juninho (Pat Noonan 86), David Beckham, Mike Magee (Marcelo Sarvas 76) - Robbie Keane, Chad Barrett (Edson Buddle 68).

TEAM NEWS

Flashback: Donovan's volleyed goal vs. NE

  • It was the first victory in four official matches for the Galaxy this season. They had opened a league campaign with back-to-back losses just once all-time - in 2001. They were coming off back-to-back home losses for the first time since August 2010.
  • "I think we've played well this year. We've just missed a couple of key plays. Like I said, it's a fine line but we generated a lot of chances in the four official games we have played this year," said LA head coach Bruce Arena. " ... We have not trained as a team on any serious note to date. I think having the two weeks to get some players rested, some players fitness improved and get the team sharper tactically."
  • Robbie Keane scored his first goals of the 2012 season, and notched the first multiple-goal game of his MLS career.
  • "I think the first half looked a mirror image of our previous games, where we controlled the game, had the run of play, created the chances and had nothing to show for it," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "Therefore, Robbie's goal at the end of the half was important for our team and important for Robbie. You saw it in the second half, that was a player playing with a lot of confidence and he played quite well."
  • Said Keane: "I don't mind missing chances; I mind when I'm not in the position to score them," said Keane. "As long as I keep getting in the positions to score them, then I know that I'll eventually score. You try not to let it weigh on your mind too much, but football can take you over. That was probably a little bit of the case, but I knew that as long as I kept plugging away and getting into positions, I knew that I'd score."
  • Chad Barrett made his first extended appearance since suffering a dislocated foot in the run-up to last year's MLS Cup Final.
  • "It's been tough on us," said Barrett of the early season. "We couldn't get our guys here to play as a unit. We had to figure out how to play without Omar. We had to figure out how Edson was going to pair up top with Keane. And me getting back from injury, tons of things. Most important, we had to learn how to play as a unit. Now we've played a few games and everybody knows what to expect from everybody."
  • Marcelo Sarvas, who ceded his starting place in the league opener to Juninho (he was cup-tied for the two CCL matches), scored his first MLS goal.
  • "I think when you are going through a bad streak, when the team is not winning, it's very hard to come out," Sarvas said. "This was a good moment to break out of that streak, caused by losing to Toronto and Salt Lake, and get a win and keep moving forward."
  • The only other real lineup changes have come at center back, where rookie Tommy Meyer and Andrew Boyens have each started two matches.
  • "As a player you always want to start the game but I have a huge respect for the other players and the coaching staff on this team and at the end of the day, what's most important is that we're getting results," Boyens said. " ... I hope there's competition. Great clubs, they have competition with their players. It should be right throughout the team so I hope there's competition for the spots and also I hope I'm playing."

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution made their Gillette Stadium debut for 2012 and won for the first time, making an early goal stand up for a 1-0 win against the Portland Timbers. The Revolution are in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 3 points from 3 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Revolution took the lead with their first goal of the season after just 28 seconds. Chris Tierney had ample time on the left flank and served a tempting ball into the middle of the Timbers penalty area. Saer SËne streaked through unmarked and smacked his header off the underside of the bar for the game's lone goal.
  • Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made two changes to the team that fell 3-0 to Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. Ryan Guy and Blake Brettschneider came into the team, in place of Benny Feilhaber and the suspended Stephen McCarthy.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston (Alec Purdie 70), A.J. Soares, Shalrie Joseph, Chris Tierney - Ryan Guy, Kelyn Rowe, Clyde Simms, Lee Nguyen - Blake Brettschneider, Saer Sene (Fernando Cardenas 70).

TEAM NEWS

Key Match-Up: Tierney vs. Donovan

  • With Darrius Barnes, John Lozano and Stephen McCarthy all ruled out through injury or suspension, Shalrie Joseph left his usual role in central midfield to partner A.J. Soares in central defense.
  • "He played unbelievably. He and A.J. had a good partnership," Heaps said. "... Shalrie had to be reactive and be the captain that he is. I'll tell you what, I thought he was spot on all night in that spot. He was able to lead us from there."
  • Florian Lechner is expected to be available for the Galaxy match for the first time since completing his free transfer move from German side Karlsruher SC.
  • "To be honest, we were hoping to have Flo Lechner start (against Portland)," Heaps said. "Shalrie was playing a lot of midfield during the week. I had to pull him aside [Friday] when Flo needed some additional testing."
  • There was one more change for the back four for the final 20 minutes, when Kevin Alston was forced off after taking a blow to his nose and Ryan Guy shifted to right back from wide in the midfield.
  • "[Guy is] super athletic and he works his butt off," A.J. Soares said. "I liked having him back there. With Shalrie, he's just such a good player that he can go anywhere. It doesn't matter with him. We all went in as a unit and did a good job."
  • It took just 28 seconds of their home opener, but Saer Sene finally scored the Revolution's first goal of 2012. The goal equaled the eighth-fastest to start a game in MLS history - yet was the fourth-quickest in New England club history.
  • "Saer is a player we've seen a lot from in preseason. He took a little bit of a knock and he was out our first game of the year, so he's still coming back from that and he's not 100 percent fit," Heaps said. "I think as he gets adjusted to the physicality of our league and gets adjusted to the travel and just the entire game, you'll start to see that he's a player who can adapt."
  • The victory was the first for Heaps as an MLS head coach. "We wanted to get this first win for Jay (Heaps), that's for sure. He's brought such a refreshing attitude in this locker room - this one's definitely for him," said Chris Tierney. "We are behind him as a team and we really like the changes that he's made. It's great for him to get his first win, for sure."
  • Matt Reis became the sixth goalkeeper in MLS history to reach the 1,000-save plateau in the shutout.