Goals at a premium with K.C., L.A.
Although exit-polling has come and gone for a few more years, if the Los Angeles Galaxy were examined the same way as they head into this Friday's Western Conference Final, well, the pundits would say there are some disturbing trends.
The Galaxy and the Kansas City Wizards have certainly developed a healthy rivalry over the past few years, and they will certainly not be strangers to each other this weekend. They met twice in the final three weeks of the regular season, and the teams played to a tie in Los Angeles before the Wizards won at home in the season finale.
In addition, a total of just three goals were scored in those two games, as both teams ended the regular season struggling to find the back of the net.
In their last seven games, the Galaxy has managed to hit for just five goals -- and none of those goals have come from the run of play.
"The chances are there, which is the most frustrating thing," said midfielder Peter Vagenas.
The Galaxy aren't expecting things to get any easier against Kansas City either, a team they've only beaten once in the past two seasons.
Chris Albright, who played a huge role in both goals this past weekend as the Galaxy slipped past the Colorado Rapids, knows that the job only gets tougher against the Wizards, who allowed the fewest goals in the MLS regular season.
"They're a tough team to break down," Albright said.
The one thing that is a plus is the effectiveness of the Galaxy free kicks. Jovan Kirovski has been absolutely deadly in recent weeks when standing over dead balls. The accuracy of his right foot is going to be that much more important on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kevin Hartman, who will be trying to keep the ball out of his own net this weekend, is hoping to see his team standing over a few free kicks this weekend.
"We have to get forward and get free kicks and corner kicks," he said. With the way the two teams have been scoring goals, whichever has the most dead ball opportunities could make all the difference.
Still, despite the lack of goals on each side, both the Galaxy and Wizards scored goals when they needed to last weekend, after entering the return game of their conference semifinal behind on aggregate. Kansas City scored three goals at home to defeat San Jose 3-2 on total goals, while Los Angeles tallied two first-half goals in their home game to win 2-1 on aggregate.
While that might not necessarily translate into goals this Friday night, one thing is for certain -- both teams will enter Friday night in a must-win situation if they want their seasons to continue. The Galaxy is hoping that the momentum they picked up last Saturday will help them score more goals.
"Its one of those things where if you score one, you score four," said Vagenas.
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Socer or its clubs.