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Galaxy vs. Crew preview

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  • Where: THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, CARSON, Calif.
  • When: Saturday, 7 p.m. PT
  • TV: HDNet; UPN

    A couple of teams seemingly headed in opposite directions meet in an inter-conference matchup at The Home Depot Center. The Los Angeles Galaxy have gotten off to an unbeaten start through their first three games, a real turnaround from last year’s winless opening to the season. But it’s been the opposite for the Columbus Crew, with a pair of losses in their first two matches, a disappointment after failing to make the MLS Cup Playoffs a year ago.

    REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Nathan Clement; JAR (opposite): Richard Eddy; 4th: Ramon Hernandez
    MLS Career: 21 games; FC/gm: 32.5; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 7; pens: 5
    Games involving Galaxy: P3 W3 L0 T0; FC/gm: 34.3; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 1; pens: 2
    Games involving Crew: P7 W4 L1 T2; FC/gm: 32.0; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 2; pens: 0

    INJURY REPORT: LOS ANGELES GALAXY – OUT: MD Cobi Jones (tonsillectomy); QUESTIONABLE: DF Ryan Suarez (R groin strain); DF Dan Califf (R MCL sprain) … COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: GK Matt Jordan (L sprained ankle); QUESTIONABLE: MD Manny Lagos (R knee arthroscopic surgery); DF Steven Herdsman (R hamstring strain)

    INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
    SUSPENDED: CLB: Frankie Hejduk (through April 24)
    YELLOW PERIL: LA: Peter Vagenas (10 CP in 3 gms)

    HEAD-TO-HEAD

    ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Galaxy 7 wins (0 shootout), 26 goals … Crew 9 wins (3 shootout), 28 goals … 3 draws

    • The teams meet on the first of three occasions this season, the first of two at The Home Depot Center. They won’t meet again until Aug. 14, also in Carson; they’ll then face each other three weeks later in their only meeting at Crew Stadium.

    • A year ago, the Galaxy didn’t lose in their three meetings, winning the final two at home after a 1-1 draw to open the MLS season in First Kick 2003.

    • In the opener, the Galaxy came from behind to claim a share of the spoils in Columbus (Buddle 35 – Ruiz 63). Los Angeles then won on July 30 in Carson in the final match before the All-Star break (Martinez 44, Lalas 52 – Maisonneuve 79), before winning again 3-1 just 10 days later at the same ground (Ruiz 68 pen, 86; Serna 89 – Buddle 74).

    • The visiting team last won in the series three years ago, when Columbus won 2-0 at the Rose Bowl in the final of the two 2001 meetings (July 4). That’s the only away victory in the series over the last four seasons.

    • Carlos Ruiz leads the all-time Galaxy goalscoring records v Columbus with 5 goals (along with 1 assists), while Cobi Jones is the points leader with 4 goals, 4 assists. No other current Los Angeles player has a goal against the Crew – Tyrone Marshall (4 assists) and Paul Broome (2 assists) the only with multiple points.

    • Jeff Cunningham leads the Crew all-time v Los Angeles with 3 goals, 3 assists. Edson Buddle also has 3 goals (but no assists). Ross Paule has 2 goals, 5 assists v the Galaxy (none while in Columbus), while Manny Lagos also carried over 2 goals (with 1 assist, from his time at San Jose).

    • Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. CLB: P10 W4 L3 D3 … Greg Andrulis v LA: P7 W2 L3 T2

    LOS ANGELES GALAXY

    The Los Angeles Galaxy remained unbeaten on the early season, again coming from a goal down as they claimed a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in Denver on Saturday. The Galaxy have five points with a victory and two draws to lead the Western Conference, a far cry from a year ago where they went winless in their first eight matches.

    • Haiti international Jean-Philippe Peguero headed home a corner kick in the ninth minute to give the Rapids the lead, but Carlos Ruiz pounced on a pullback by Jovan Kirovski after a neat bit of skill in the corner to pull the Galaxy even in the 20th minute.

    • The Galaxy were greatly aided by the woodwork, Kevin Hartman happy to see both on a John Spencer bicycle kick and a long-range effort from Antonio de la Torre almost at the center stripe come back off the crossbar.

    • "I thought that Kevin did really good, and sometimes the crossbar is a 'keepers best friend. But the stops he made on Spencer and the others were great and like I said before, I feel that he is the best shot stopper in the league," Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said.

    • Schmid made two changes to the team that snatched a late 1-1 draw with D.C. United at home the weekend before, both in his back line. Tyrone Marshall came into central defense and Ricky Lewis at left back, replacing Hong Myung-Bo and Paul Broome respectively.

    • Here’s Schmid’s team on the night (4-3-1-2): Kevin Hartman – Chris Albright, Danny Califf, Tyrone Marshall, Ricky Lewis – Peter Vagenas, Sasha Victorine, Arturo Torres (Joseph Ngwenya 46) – Andreas Herzog (Marcelo Saragosa 68) – Jovan Kirovski, Carlos Ruiz.

    • Schmid made a point of saying his club had put last year’s road woes behind them, when they became the first club in league history to winless on their travels for the entire season, getting just six draws in 15 away matches.

    • "I thought that we created three or four good chances in the second half. But overall, we talked about going on the road and getting points, so we'll take the one point," Schmid said.

    • A friendly against the Iran national team scheduled for April 28 was at the least postponed due to myriad logistical issues. Galaxy GM said there is hope the game is not dead, and could be rescheduled to sometime later in the summer.

    • On Tuesday, the Galaxy played to a 1-1 draw with UA de Guadalajara in Nashville. Arturo Torres gave the MLS side a 41st-minute lead with a long-range strike, but Eduardo Lillingston scored the equalizer for Tecos in the 69th minute.

    • Schmid took the opportunity to give a number of reserves a run out. Here’s his team: Dan Popik – Scot Thompson (46: Chris Aloisi), Danny Califf (46: Ryan Suarez), Hong Myung Bo, Paul Broome (66: Chris Albright) – Arturo Torres (46: Joseph Ngwenya), Marcelo Saragosa (66: Sasha Victorine), Ned Grabavoy (68: Andreas Herzog), Guillermo Gonzalez (46: Josh Gardner) – Alejandro Moreno, Carlos Ruiz (46: Jovan Kirovski).

    • An MLS-high four players were named from the Galaxy to the U.S. national team for their April 28 friendly against Mexico at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas – Chris Albright, Danny Califf, Kevin Hartman and Jovan Kirovski.

    COLUMBUS CREW

    The Columbus Crew lost for the second time in as many league matches on Saturday, forced to play a man down for more than half the game after conceding the only goal in a loss to Kansas City Wizards at Arrowhead Stadium. The Crew are tied with New England Revolution firmly at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table.

    • Tony Meola was credited with a 50th career shutout as the Wizards eased to victory in a match that completely turned over a three-minute span just before the break.

    • Davy Arnaud gave the Wizards a 42nd-minute lead when he ran on to Kerry Zavagnin's ball looped over the defense, lobbing Crew 'keeper Jon Busch himself from just inside the area. Two minutes later Crew defender Frankie Hejduk was sent off for retaliating against Alex Zotinca after the two tangled while awaiting a free kick.

    • "You can't play things that close. That's twice in two games it (close offside calls) has been the game-winner. They did as good as they could in the second half being a man down,” Crew coach Greg Andrulis said. “The guys gave a great effort in the second half, but you don't get graded on effort. We had some chances but we still go home with nothing."

    • Andrulis made four changes to his team after a 3-1 season-opening loss at home to the MetroStars. Chad Marshall returned from a separated shoulder to make his MLS debut, coming into central defense for Nelson Akwari, and Edson Buddle returned from an Achilles injury to partner Jeff Cunningham in attack, replacing David Testo.

    • Andrulis made two changes to his midfield, Duncan Oughton coming in on the right side for Ross Paule, and Brian Maisonneuve replacing Kyle Martino in the advanced role in the center of the park.

    • Here’s Andrulis’s team (4-1-3-2): Jon Busch – Steven Herdsman, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Eric Denton (Ross Paule 66) – Simon Elliott – Duncan Oughton, Brian Maisonneuve (Kyle Martino 66), Frankie Hejduk – Jeff Cunningham, Edson Buddle (Erick Scott 79).

    • Akwari suffered a sprained ankle during training, meaning Marshall, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s SuperDraft, made his MLS debut perhaps a bit sooner than was expected after his preseason shoulder injury. He nearly scored the equalizer early in the second half when forward on a corner kick.

    • "He’s an outstanding player," Andrulis said. "He more than holds his own. Defensively, he’s outstanding. He’s a force in the air and on set pieces. We need to find him a little more often."

    • Midfielder Manny Lagos, acquired from San Jose Earthquakes in the offseason, has returned to full training and could be available this weekend, but not likely as a starter. "I go day by day. I’ve had a good couple of days," Lagos said.

    • Frankie Hejduk was named to the U.S. national team for their April 28 friendly against Mexico at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.