LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United | MLS Match Preview

LA GALAXY vs D.C. UNITED
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
Aug. 27, 2014 (WEEK 25, MLS Game #231)
7:30 p.m. PT (TWCS-LA/TWCD; CSN-MA)

One of the highest profile matchups on the Major League Soccer calendar is ahead when the LA Galaxy play host to D.C. United on Wednesday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy come into the five points out of the top spot in the Western Conference, after their second win in the week with a 2-0 triumph over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday night in Carson. United regained the top spot in the Eastern Conference, with their 3-0 win at then-first place Sporting KC at Sporting Park to start the road swing on Saturday evening.

REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Sean Hurd; AR2 (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 254 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 61; pens: 62

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA: Dan Gargan … DC: Davy Arnaud
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: A.J. DeLaGarza, Landon Donovan, Alan Gordon, Marcelo Sarvas … DC: Fabian Espindola, Lewis Neal, Chris Korb, Perry Kitchen
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (40 meetings): Galaxy 18 wins (0 shootout), 63 goals … United 13 wins (1 shootout), 50 goals … Ties 9
AT LA (19 meetings): Galaxy 9 wins (0 shootout), 27 goals … United 5 wins (1 shootout), 18 goals …Ties 5

LAST YEAR (MLS):
9/14: DC 2, LA 2 (Pontius 39; Porter 84 – Keane 7; Stephens 81)
• This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
• The Galaxy have a nine-game unbeaten streak alive vs. United. Since a 4-1 D.C. win in 2008 at RFK Stadium, the Galaxy have won four times with five draws, including a 2-2 tie last Sept. 14 in Washington in the only meeting between the teams.
• United’s last win against the Galaxy in Carson came all the way back in 2005, a 1-0 victory on July 23.
• Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. DC: P14 W5 L3 D6 … Ben Olsen vs. LA: P5 W0 L2 D3

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy won their second game on the trot, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 40 points from 23 games.

LAST MATCH

• The Galaxy were in the lead after just four minutes. Robbie Keane ran onto a ball bouncing in the heart of the Whitecaps FC penalty area and half-volleyed a shot that bounded through traffic to the far post, where Landon Donovan stepped up to poke it into the ceiling of the net.
• The lead was doubled just after the half-hour. Donovan sent a ball into the box for Marcelo Sarvas, who back-heeled it to Keane. He set up to shoot, but he nudged the ball too far with his right foot and whiffed when he tried to hit it with his left. The ball slowly rolled past two defenders toward the left, and Sarvas fired under goalkeeper David Ousted and inside the far post.
• Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that came back for a 4-3 victory against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. A.J. DeLaGarza came into the back four in place of Todd Dunivant, and Juninho started in midfield for Stefan Ishizaki.
• LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan (Todd Dunivant 84), Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza - Baggio Husidic (Alan Gordon 74), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Landon Donovan - Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane.

TEAM NEWS

• The Galaxy have again strung together back-to-back wins, after defeating Colorado at midweek. They have not won three games in a row in league play yet this season.
• “I think it’s a very good win for our team. Thought it was a great team effort collectively on both sides of the ball,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We could have gotten more goals but that is all part of the game. We are really pleased with the three points.”
• Said Landon Donovan: “All the emphasis this week was on starting the right way.  And it would’ve been fine to start right and play well, just not concede before halftime and go in comfortable, but then to get the two goals on top of that really helped. The only fault was not getting the third or the fourth, but other than that I thought we played very well.”
• Robbie Keane set up both Galaxy goals, and now has 11 assists for the season, tied with New York’s Thierry Henry for the league lead. Keane has four assists over the last three matches.
• “I think we needed a bit of luck as well and we certainly got lucky on the second goal, and I’ll still take the assist,” Keane said. “It was a bit of a mis-kick obviously… I completely shanked it, but thankfully we got the second goal and from then on we were very comfortable.”
• Donovan scored for a second consecutive game and now has 140 league goals for his MLS career, with six goals in his record-breaking season.
• “I’m trying to score whenever I can and trying to put us in a position to win. The other day was a little different, coming late and scoring late,” said Donovan. “We wanted to start fast, and I wanted to put myself in good positions to be effective. On that play I was in the right place and the ball fell to me.”
• Marcelo Sarvas netted his second goal of the season, his first since July 4. Sarvas has a goal and an assist in the last two matches.
• After conceding multiple goals in three consecutive games, allowing seven goals in the last two, the Galaxy recorded a defensive shutout for the first time since July 28.
• “Sometimes we have a tendency to be a little lackadaisical and turn off. And when we do that, not surprisingly we give up goals; we have bounces go against us and when we do things the right way, the bounces go for us,” said Donovan. “So to some extent, there is karma involved and there is doing things the right way. And when you do that, you get rewarded.”
• With Leonardo playing in central defense for a second consecutive match, A.J. DeLaGarza returned to the side at left back, his first start at left back since July 19.
• “[The backline] played well. They had a couple of chances at the end but I thought in general they played well. A couple of crosses in the second half were dangerous. Our guys did a good job clearing the ball and Jaime [Penedo] made a couple of good saves. Overall it was an improved performance.”
• Said Omar Gonzalez: “This road trip that we just went on, we went through some troubles there and we weren’t playing as a unit, people were playing as individuals.  For tonight’s game we just wanted to get back to putting together a good team effort; getting behind the ball, starting in good positions. And tonight we did that and we were able to get around the ball, get to the ball, get some tackles, and get fouls. All in all in the night, it just looked great from everyone out there and made our jobs easier.”

D.C. UNITED

D.C. United won their second game in a row with an impressive win, defeating Sporting Kansas City 3-0 on Saturday evening at Sporting Park. United are in back in first place in the Eastern Conference with 43 points from 24 games.
LAST MATCH
• The game's three goals came in a seven-minute span right at the half-hour mark. United opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Fabian Espindola took Luis Silva's pass, found space at the top left of Kansas City's penalty area, and slotted a low shot just past a diving Jon Kempin and inside the far post.
• The visitors doubled the lead just four minutes later, again with an assist to Silva. Chris Rolfe made a perfectly-timed run to slip behind Sporting's back line, finishing his 1-v-1 past Kempin from the top of the box.
• Three minutes after that, it was 3-0. This time, it was Rolfe's turn to play provider, his through ball springing Perry Kitchen with plenty of space to operate behind the back line. He drove into the upper left of the penalty area, made a quick cutback to avoid charging center back Aurelien Collin, and slotted the ball near post.
• United head coach Ben Olsen made no changes to the team that cruised to a 4-2 win against the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium.
• D.C. UNITED (4-4-1-1): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp - Nick DeLeon (Alex Caskey 90), Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe - Luis Silva (David Estrada 68) - Fabian Espindola.

TEAM NEWS

• United have won back-to-back games after losing back-to-back matches, and have taken 18 of a possible 24 points since the start of July.
• “The job is certainly not done. We still have tough games coming up. We still have to keep grinding away and keep doing the same things. We've been preaching that all year,” midfielder Davy Arnaud said. “It's not just game to game, but within the game, you get the feeling in the group even up 3-0 with 10 minutes left guys are still saying, 'Let's grind, let's get it done.' It's a great mentality to have.”
• With the victory, United leapfrogged Sporting back into the top spot in the Eastern Conference, a position they held earlier this season from June 11-July 11.
• “It's still a long season. It's nice for these guys to be on top for all the hard work they have put in. They get it,” United head coach Ben Olsen said. “There is more to this than right now and we have got to quickly refocus and go to LA [Galaxy], which is equally as tough a challenge as this. We are really excited to go out there and on to New York over the weekend.”
• In his second start back from injury, Fabian Espíndola scored for a second consecutive game and now has nine goals for the season.
• Luis Silva followed up his two-goal game vs. Colorado with a pair of assists. Since June 11, a span of 10 games, Silva has his entire season output of seven goals and four assists.
• Chris Rolfe scored a goal and added an assist, and has two goals and an assist in the last two games. Since July 11, a span of seven games, Rolfe has three goals and three assists.
• “We were told to push them. They played most of their starters in the Champions League game and we had a chance to rest some of ours,” said defender Sean Franklin. “So we knew that they might get tired and we just wanted to keep pushing, pick the right time to press and today we played awesome.”
• Perry Kitchen added to his single-season career-high with his fourth goal of the season. Kitchen had scored two goals total over his first three professional seasons entering this year.
• “We have another really tough game. They [LA] have quality. We knew this week was going to be a very tough week,” said Arnaud. “We were going to have to rely on a lot of different players, which I think is a good thing, and I think we have the squad to do that.”