USOC: Sellout crowd awaits depleted Galaxy in Carolina

Bruce Arena

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Mired at the bottom of the Western Conference table, the LA Galaxy have not had enough victories for their liking in 2012.

While the focus for the defending MLS Cup champions is to try and return to the postseason and battle for another championship, the US Open Cup is not something the team is prepared to ignore.

“We’re going out and trying to win this game,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena (above) told reporters from Cary, N.C. “We’re in this competition to win, not to lose.”

The Galaxy will visit the Carolina RailHawks on Tuesday in an Open Cup third-round match (7 pm ET, streamed live on lagalaxy.com). The knockout match will close out a difficult stretch for LA and accordingly, the team will be without several of its starters.

“We’re just trying to put a group out there who is fresh in every game,” Arena said of his potential lineup. “It’s a team we think can step on the field and play well. This will be our fourth game in 11 days and with a lot of travel, I might add. We weren’t aware of this game until last Tuesday, that we would be here.”

The Galaxy lost all three previous outings — to Chivas USA on May 19, San Jose last Wednesday and at Houston this past Saturday. The team will have to make do without the likes of David Beckham and A.J. DeLaGarza against Carolina.

“Those are guys who are going to carry us through the season,” Galaxy forward Chad Barrett said.

While missing some of their fire power may be a challenge for the Galaxy, the most difficult task will be the team lining up on the opposite side. Led by former FC Dallas and Puerto Rico Islander coach Colin Clarke, the RailHawks will almost certainly be inspired to perform against an MLS opponent in front of a sellout crowd.

“Every time you play a lower-division team, they’re certainly going to be ready to play and it means a whole lot to them,” Arena said. “It’s a sellout on the road, so there’s obviously an enthusiastic fan base here and they’re always excited to get an MLS team in this marketplace. It’s a big game for the RailHawks and the city of Raleigh and the town of Cary.”