THE HOME DEPOT CENTER
7 pm PT (FSC; FSN-W; FSN-NE)
The Los Angeles Galaxy are hoping that a little home cooking helps - in more ways than one - when the Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution come calling for Independence Day. The Galaxy come off a winless four-game road trip and are still looking for a first win away from Carson since last July. But the Revolution haven't defeated the Galaxy in southern California since the very first time they met here in the inaugural season of 1996 - now a span of 10 games. But in what could be an omen - especially for a team named Revolution - that win came on July 4.
REFEREE: Michael Kennedy. SAR (bench): George Gansner; JAR (opposite): Emiliano Monje; 4th: Richard Heron
MLS Career: 63 games; FC/gm: 33.0; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 9; pens: 29
Games involving Galaxy: P11 W7 L0 T4; FC/gm: 32.6; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 2; pens: 7
Games involving Revolution: P18 W5 L12 T1; FC/gm: 32.9; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 1; pens: 8
INJURY REPORT: LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: DF Chris Albright (L knee MCL sprain); FW Joseph Ngwenya (sports hernia surgery); DF Ben Benditson (sports hernia); MF Guillermo Gonzalez (L quadriceps strain); DF Pablo Chinchilla (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Peter Vagenas (R hip flexor strain); PROBABLE: MF Ned Grabavoy (R hamstring strain) ... NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); PROBABLE: FW Taylor Twellman (L hamstring strain); DF Marshall Leonard (osteitis pubis)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NE: FW Pat Noonan, MF Clint Dempsey, MF Steve Ralston (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup); DF Avery John (Trinidad & Tobago; CONCACAF Gold Cup) ... LA: FW Landon Donovan (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup); DF Michael Umaña (Costa Rica; CONCACAF Gold Cup)
WARNINGS: NE: DF Jay Heaps (20 CP); MF Shalrie Joseph (18 CP)
The clubs meet for the first of their two encounters this season, the only one set for The Home Depot Center - with both scheduled for the month of July. They'll meet in Foxborough in just more than three weeks - July 27 at Gillette Stadium.
A year ago, the teams met twice, each winning on their home ground. They opened the season against each other, the Galaxy claiming a 3-2 victory on Victoria Street (Ruiz 30; Herzog 59; Kirovski 69 - Heaps 48; Noonan 68). Then not even a month later they concluded their season series in Massachusetts with the Revolution grabbing a 2-1 win (Franchino 4; Cancela 71 pen - Moreno 90)
The Revolution have won just once in southern California against the Galaxy, a 1-0 victory on July 4, 1996 - the league's inaugural season. Since then, the Galaxy have won eight of their home meetings with the Revolution with two draws.
This is the fourth time they've met on July 4 in a Galaxy home game. The Revolution have won one, the Galaxy have won one (2-0 in 1997), and one was drawn (2-2 in 2003).
The two clubs have exactly split their season series each of the last four years. Three of those years they've met just twice - and each team has won once. In 2003 they met three times, with each club claiming one victory with the third meeting drawn.
The Galaxy haven't won in Foxborough in six years, since 5-2 win on July 11, 1999. Over the last five years, the Revs have won all five East Coast encounters, four of them by one goal (and the fifth by two).
Coaches record: Steve Sampson v NE: first game ... Steve Nicol vs. LA: P7 W3 L3 D1
ALL-TIME (21 meetings): Galaxy 12 wins (2 shootout), 41 goals ... Revolution 7 wins (1 shootout), 28 goals ... 2 draws
AT LOS ANGELES: (11 meetings): Galaxy 8 wins (0 shootout), 22 goals ... Revolution 1 win (0 shootout), 10 goals ... 2 draws
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
It was the first game back in San Jose for Donovan since his move to the Galaxy just before the start of the season, and throughout the match the Earthquakes fans showed their displeasure in a raucous atmosphere.
Much to the delight of their delirious supporters, the Quakes took the lead on 37 minutes after Ronald Cerritos drove a low ball into the goalmouth that Alejandro Moreno slid in to poke past Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman.
Ten minutes into the second half Earthquakes 'keeper Pat Onstad did his part in a remarkable sequence that left nearly everyone wondering how the ball didn't go in the goal. A wild scramble ensued after a corner kick that saw Onstad three times deny Jovan Kirovski from point-blank range, with another hitting a defender on the line before Onstad was able to punch clear.
That set the stage for a bizarre three minutes that sealed the match, first defender Michael Umana touching the ball past Hartman as he took it off the feet of Moreno running at goal (65), then center back Tyrone Marshall heading over his goalkeeper on a clearing attempt as Hartman came off his line to deal with a looping ball. The loss kept the Galaxy winless away from Carson since last July.
"To not be able to put that in the back of the net and then to take an own goal right after that, I think was the difference in the game. If we put that ball in the back of the net, it changes the whole dynamic of the game," Galaxy boss Steve Sampson said. "To make two silly mistakes in the back, we just can't afford to put that kind of pressure on ourselves."
Sampson made four changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake the previous Wednesday in Utah. Tyrone Marshall came back from suspension, into central defense for Pablo Chinchilla, and Guillermo Ramirez returned from injury to replace Herculez Gomez on the left of midfield. Cobi Jones came back into the team on the right of midfield for Mubarike Chisoni, but Peter Vagenas was hurt just before the start of the match, Paulo Nagamura coming into his place in central midfield.
Here's Sampson's team (4-3-1-2): Kevin Hartman - Ugo Ihemelu, Tyrone Marshall, Michael Umana, Todd Dunivant - Cobi Jones (Alan Gordon 58), Paulo Nagamura, Guillermo Ramirez - Jovan Kirovski - Landon Donovan, Ednaldo da Conceicao
"To be honest, I really didn't think we played too badly. I think we played better than we had the last three games. Maybe it was a karma thing that we didn't score in that little flurry and then they get two own goals. I don't know what the deal was, but it just wasn't going to happen tonight," Donovan said.
The Los Angeles Galaxy ended their four-game road swing without a victory, they and Landon Donovan getting a torrid reception in his return to Silicon Valley in a 3-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday. Those two teams are now tied for second place in the Western Conference with 24 points from 15 games, nine behind MLS overall leader FC Dallas, but still 10 ahead of fourth-place Colorado Rapids.
Before the game even started, the Galaxy suffered a severe loss. Team captain Peter Vagenas injured himself during pregame warmup and was unable to play. Sampson replaced Vagenas, who had started all 14 games thus far, with Naldo and dropped Kirovski into the midfield.
"It's unfortunate. Your captain, your playmaker gets injured in the warmup," Sampson said. "That was very disappointing. A lot of the rhythm of our game is dependant on Pete."
While Landon Donovan (USA) and Michael Umaña (Costa Rica) have left to join their respective countries in preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Sampson will be able to call upon midfielder Guillermo Ramirez (Guatemala) and center back Tyrone Marshall (Jamaica) for the Revolution match.
"You never want to leave on a losing note but I need to get away," Donovan said. "I've had three weeks of Saturday-Wednesday and I just don't want to see a soccer ball right now. I need to spend some time at home, which I will in the next couple of days, and then focus on the Gold Cup."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The Revolution won for the second consecutive match after seeing their season-opening unbeaten streak snapped while the MetroStars saw their five-game unbeaten run come to a crashing halt.
Jose Cancela gave the Revolution the lead after just 21 seconds, hitting a looping volley over Zach Wells from all of 35 yards.
But midway through the second half the MetroStars took the lead with goals within two minutes. First Youri Djorkaeff converted from the penalty spot after Andy Dorman had bowled over Sergio Galvan Rey from behind (67), then Galvan Rey tapped home with a simple finish after Eddie Gaven was set free on the right to drive a low cross into the goalmouth (69).
Yet it took the Revolution just three minutes to respond, Jay Heaps rising up at the near post to pound home a clear header from a corner kick, then four minutes from the end the Revolution took advantage of a dreadful mistake for the match-winner, Steve Ralston dispossessing Metro defender Jeff Parke in his own area before curling a perfectly placed shot inside the far post.
New England sealed the match in stoppage time (91+), a long ball from Avery John finding Pat Noonan running free just the other side of the halfway line, and after one touch he hit a long floater that caught Wells well off his line.
Revolution boss Steve Nicol made two changes to the team that knocked off the Columbus Crew 3-1 the previous Wednesday at Crew Stadium. Khano Smith came back into attack for Connally Edozien, while Cassio made his final Revolution appearance, wide on the left in place of Marshall Leonard.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Joe Franchino - Steve Ralston, Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Cassio (James Riley 46) - Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 46) - Khano Smith (Avery John 68), Pat Noonan
"You keep saying you've seen the worst things and then something else jumps up and hits you between the eyes. I mean, really we were outplayed for 69 of the first 70 minutes. Then we just found some heart and guts. We found something that you can't plant; it has to be there. Clearly, we have a bunch of guys that have it."
The New England Revolution won their second game after seeing their unbeaten streak ended, answering a quick double from the MetroStars with three goals over the final 20 minutes in a 4-2 victory last weekend at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution still lead the Eastern Conference with 31 points from 14 matches, now by just two points ahead of the Chicago Fire but with three matches in hand. They trail FC Dallas by two points for the best overall record.
Cancela's goal - officially timed at 19 seconds - was the second-quickest in MLS history. Dwayne De Rosario's goal for San Jose against Dallas on Sept. 27, 2003, at 11 seconds, is the quickest from the start of a match in league history. Three of the six quickest were scored by the Revolution: 3. 22 seconds (Giovanni Savarese MET, v MIA 3/28/99); 4. 25 seconds (Imad Baba NE, v KC 5/3/97); 5. 31 seconds (Aaron Pitchkolan DAL, v CHV 5/22/03); 6. 32 seconds (Johhny Torres NE, v LA 6/7/98).
Still, despite the four goals, the Revolution were not pleased with their attacking play. After scoring five goals in five games where they claimed just six of a possible 15 points and lost for the first time this season, the Revs have hit for three and four goals in their last two games.
"I think our combination play and our final touch in the final third with the forwards was not good enough. I think that's what gave them the momentum to counter us," Pat Noonan said. "We were giving balls away and then they were coming back and putting balls over the top and finding guys' feet. We have to be able to hold the ball better and be able to combine better to give the guys behind us a chance."
The MetroStars game could be the last in a while for the trio of Dempsey, Noonan and Ralston, all with the U.S. team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Matt Reis is also in Bruce Arena's squad, but at third-choice goalkeeper, he is expected to be released for the Revolution's matches, assuming no injuries strike the U.S. team.
"We have players that can step in and do the job," Noonan said. "You see Andy (Dorman), he comes in tonight and helps us out while Pepe (José Cancela) steps out. Then James Riley comes in as well to get behind and get balls in. So we have guys that can come in and do the job and help this team win games."
While losing all of the U.S. internationals will certainly have an effect on Nicol's team selection, it also has a significant impact on his in-game tactical decisions - an underrated ability he has developed with his squad. Against the MetroStars, Clint Dempsey was shifted from midfield up top alongside Pat Noonan upon the withdrawal of Khano Smith in the 68th minute. The move created space for Dempsey to roam in the attacking third.
"We move people around," said Reis. "Tonight, it was Joe [Franchino] moving to defensive midfield and Clint moving up top. It gave us a lot of energy. It shows the character of this team, especially in the last 20 minutes."