CARSON, Calif. — Playing for the third time in a span of eight days, LA Galaxy players could have tired legs facing New England on Saturday (8 pm ET, Galavisión).
But tired or not, the team has the ability to pull out a result despite the physical challenges.
“The good thing about this team is we could make 10 changes for Saturday and still feel fine about our chances going in there,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said this week. “That’s the strength of this team.”
The Galaxy will visit New England on Saturday at Gillette Stadium and will have the chance to extend their season-long winning streak to four. In order to do that, the team may rely on some different faces than the ones who helped put away Houston at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday.
“I’m sure there will be some changes, and we’ll see how many there are,” Donovan said. “We’ll be confident we can go in there and win.”
One player who will certainly slide back into the starting lineup is David Beckham. The former Manchester United star was back at Old Trafford on Tuesday as he participated in Gary Neville’s testimonial match. Beckham was set to rejoin the squad on the East Coast while the rest of his teammates took an early flight on Thursday to be in New England for the match.
Juan Pablo Ángel was not among the traveling squad, which likely means that Miguel López and Chad Barrett will pair up top for LA.
For the Galaxy, this match will present a bit of a shot at redemption. New England surprised them with an early goal and held on for a 1-1 draw in the Galaxy’s home opener on March 20. LA’s last trip to New England was even worse, as they lost at Gillette in 2010 by 2-0.
Like the Galaxy, the Revs will eventually have to make do without some players for the Gold Cup. Shalrie Joseph (Grenada) and Benny Feilhaber (United States) were called up for international duty, but the two will be available Saturday. The main constant for New England is Joseph.
“Any time Shalrie is playing, they have a chance to win,” Donovan said. “They’ve shuffled pieces around him for four or five years, but every year they’re competitive.”
Feilhaber, meanwhile, gives New England a different flavor.
“Benny gives them an ability to do something different that they haven’t had over the last few years,” Donovan said. “When [Steve] Ralston was there, he gave them something a little bit different at times and Benny gives them that. Generally, they’ve been a team that’s very direct, kind of predictable, but now they have chances to do something special in a moment with Benny. So we’ve got to be aware of that.”
Most importantly, though, the Galaxy must deal with the effects of having played two games — and traveled across the country — in the seven days leading up to the game.
“We know, like every time we go somewhere, that this is going to be a big game and they’re going to be excited and up for it,” Donovan said. “We have to make sure that we’re doing enough ... to recover and make sure we match their energy.”