THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
Sept. 20, 2008 | 8 p.m. PT (FSC/FSE)
WEEK # 26 | GAME # 174
When the Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United met nearly three months ago, it was one of the marquee matchups of the season, a 4-1 United win at RFK Stadium between teams at or near the top of their respective conferences. Since, the Galaxy have not won, now sitting at the foot of the Western Conference and in dire need of a win if they are to maintain any hope of reaching the playoffs. United are grimly hanging on to the final wild-card spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs, sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but more importantly, eighth place in the overall MLS table.
REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Sean Hurd; 4th: Miguel Chicas
MLS Career: 98 games; FC/gm: 29.7; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 30; pens: 30
INJURY REPORT: LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: GK Charles Alamo (L knee); GK Steve Cronin (R hand); DF Michael Gavin (R foot); DOUBTFUL: MF Joe Franchino (R ankle) ... D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Domenic Mediate (concussion); MF Jeff Carroll (broken metatarsal); MF Joe Vide (hamstring strain); MF Ben Olsen (ankle surgery); MF Marcelo Gallardo (adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Gonzalo Peralta (hamstring strain); MF Ivan Guerrero (quadriceps contusion); PROBABLE: GK Zach Wells (sesmoiditis)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA: Landon Donovan, Greg Vanney ... DC: Devon McTavish
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: David Beckham, Sean Franklin, Alan Gordon, Brandon McDonald, Alvaro Pires ... DC: Fred, Rod Dyachenko, Marcelo Gallardo, Jaime Moreno, Santino Quaranta, Clyde Simms
ALL-TIME (31 meetings): Galaxy 14 wins (0 shootout), 46 goals ... United 13 wins (1 shootout), 41 goals ... Ties 4
AT LA (14 meetings): Galaxy 6 wins (0 shootout), 15 goals ... United 5 wins (1 shootout), 12 goals ... Ties 3
This is the second of two league meetings between the clubs this season, the only one to be played at The Home Depot Center.
A year ago, United won the season series, grabbing a 1-0 win in D.C. after the teams played to a scoreless draw in Carson. It was the first time since 1998 United had won the season series outright; the Galaxy had won four of the eight intervening years, the teams splitting the set the other four.
Last year's 1-0 United win on East Capitol Street also snapped a four-game home winless game against Los Angeles. The Galaxy had won their previous two trips to RFK Stadium, the lone ventures in both 2005 and 2006; United's last home win had come Sept. 6, 2003.
United haven't won on their last three trips to the Home Depot Center to face the Galaxy. That includes the last two league meetings - both draws - and the 2-0 loss in the semifinals of the inaugural SuperLiga last year, when David Beckham scored his first competitive goal with the Galaxy.
It was the fifth time the teams have met in cup competitions. United, of course, defeated the Galaxy in MLS Cup 1996 and MLS Cup 1999; twice the Galaxy knocked United out of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup, in 1997 and 2001, before the SuperLiga victory last year.
Coaches record: Bruce Arena v DC: P5 W1 L3 D1 ... Tom Soehn vs. LA: P3 W2 L0 D1
LAST MEETING (MLS):
6/29: DC 4, LA 1 (Moreno 5 pen; Emilio 37, 68; Gallardo 60 - Buddle 26)
On June 29 in a high-profile Sunday afternoon matchup in Washington, D.C. United got a pair of goals from Luciano Emilio and rolled to a 4-1 victory.
A huge crowd turned out for a rare noon kickoff between the two highest-scoring teams in the league, and they weren't disappointed. It took United just five minutes to open the scoring. Ante Jazic bundled over Santino Quaranta in the penalty area, and after referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the spot, Jaime Moreno coolly dispatched the spot kick.
The Galaxy drew level in the 26th minute. Landon Donovan played a neat one-two on the right flank, and tried to slip Edson Buddle through into the area. But after the ball took a couple of deflections off United defenders, Buddle was still able to corral it and hook into the back of the net for his 10th goal on the campaign.
Yet just before the break, United nosed ahead again. Marc Burch ran down an over-hit cross in the left corner and swung it back into the area, where an acrobatic header by Emilio while jumping backwards looped over Galaxy 'keeper Steve Cronin and inside the far post as he kept his goal-scoring streak going.
After the interval, it was all United. On the hour, Gonzalo Martinez played a cross to the top of the box that Emilio knocked down, and Marcelo Gallardo was first to it, bursting into the area to slot home.
Then Emilio finished off the rout eight minutes later. An inch-perfect through ball sent Fred in alone behind the Galaxy defense, and after he pulled Cronin off his line, he slid a simple square pass for Emilio to slide in and turn home.
Here's Soehn's team (4-3-1-2): Zach Wells - Bryan Namoff, Devon McTavish, Gonzalo Peralta, Gonzalo Martinez - Santino Quaranta (Marc Burch 27), Clyde Simms, Fred (Rod Dyachenko 77) - Marcelo Gallardo - Luciano Emilio, Jaime Moreno (Ben Olsen 75). Substitutes Not Used: Jose Carvallo, Ryan Cordeiro, Francis Doe, Quavas Kirk
Here's Gullit's team (4-4-2): Steve Cronin - Chris Klein, Sean Franklin, Abel Xavier, Mike Randolph - David Beckham, Ely Allen (Josh Tudela 46+), Alvaro Pires (Alan Gordon 64), Ante Jazic (Joe Franchino 61) - Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan. Substitutes Not Used: Vito Higgins, Brandon McDonald, Troy Roberts, Greg Vanney
LOS ANGELES GALAXYThe Los Angeles Galaxy saw their club-record winless streak reach 12 games, the Kansas City Wizards scoring twice in three minutes in the second half for a 2-0 win Saturday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium. The Galaxy have 26 points from 24 matches, sitting alone in seventh place in the Western Conference, two points behind FC Dallas.
The Wizards were back home after seeing their overall winless streak stretched to four games with their fourth consecutive road loss in Houston the week before, while the Galaxy were still looking to give Bruce Arena his first win since taking over the club, their last win coming on June 14, though with ties in two consecutive games.
With the game moved to the home of the Kansas City Wizards because of the large crowd on hand, the Wizards finally broke through midway through the second half. In the 67th minute, Davy Arnaud was freed on the right and slammed a low cross into the goal area, where a little flick from Josh Wolff sent the ball inside the far post for his second goal since his return to MLS.
Then two minutes later, Arnaud sealed the victory with a stunning long-range strike from all of 35 yards away, smashing the ball into the upper left corner of Josh Wicks' goal for his fifth goal on the season, his third in as many games.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made four changes to the team that came back for a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake the previous weekend. All four internationals returned to the team - Ante Jazic, David Beckham, Eddie Lewis and Landon Donovan - in place of Mike Randolph, Eduardo Dominguez, Josh Tudela and Alan Gordon.
Here's Arena's team (4-4-2): Josh Wicks - Chris Klein, Sean Franklin, Troy Roberts, Ante Jazic - Bryan Jordan (Alan Gordon 69), David Beckham, Greg Vanney, Eddie Lewis - Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan. Substitutes Not Used: Alvaro Pires, Mike Randolph, Josh Saunders, Josh Tudela, Peter Vagenas, Julian Valentin
Without their four internationals, the Galaxy had come back for a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake. But Beckham, Donovan and Lewis had all seen action at midweek for their respective national teams - for Donovan, he had two full matches in four days, while Beckham came on as a substitute yet had a flight back to the USA from Croatia.
"The difference in the game was a 15-minute segment in the second half. I thought Kansas City brought more energy to the game in the second half than we did," Arena said. "We were suspicious going into the game that we were going to have some issues with fatigue and that showed. But give Kansas City credit. They deserved to win the game."
The Galaxy were able to put just two shots on target for the match, but after a Hartman save on Donovan in the 11th minute, the next didn't come until almost the halfway mark of the second half.
"It was a tough game for us again," Beckham said. "No one likes losing and we've gone a long time without winning a game. Today's another tough one to take. In the second half they just had a little bit more in them than we did."
While the Galaxy have scored two goals in five of their last eight games, they've been shutout in three. They've not recorded a defensive shutout since June 14, and have allowed as few as one goal in a game just twice in that period.
"For the most part, it was pretty even. They made two really good plays in the second half," said defender Chris Klein. "The first one was a good touch and that second was just a great goal by Davy (Arnaud). I think we were a little sluggish and we just didn't have enough."
Sitting four points out of the final playoff spot with six games to go, the rest of the way will not be easy for the Galaxy. They play both conference leaders, Houston and Columbus, both on the road, though four of their six games are against teams in the top eight entering the weekend.
"I think we realize it's going to be very tough, but it's possible. I think once we get that first win mentally it will be better," Beckham said. "Even today, you could see we were a little bit down. I'm not sure we had the belief that we could win this game. That's obviously part of the mental side of it. Once we get over that, once we get our first win I think it'll be all right."
D.C. UNITEDD.C. United saw their winless run reach three games, coming back from an early deficit but seeing FC Dallas score a late leveler as the teams played to a 2-2 draw Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United now have 32 points from 24 matches, now alone in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the New York Red Bulls but still three points clear for the final playoff spot in the wild card standings.
United were trying to get back to their winning ways, with just one win in their last four games and without back-to-back wins for more than two months. FC Dallas were on a four-game winless run, following back-to-back victories.
The visitors took the lead after just nine minutes. A long ball forward deflected off a United defender, finding Kenny Cooper on the edge of the box. With his back to goal, he spun his defender and hammered a wicked blast that flew high into the goal for his 14th goal on the season, ending a four-game goalless skein.
United pulled level in the 26th minute. South African forward Thabiso Khumalo, signed just the day before, flighted in a soft cross from the right and Jaime Moreno rose up to head home for his 10th goal of the season and the 122nd of his remarkable MLS career.
The home side then pulled level in the 69th minute. Ivan Guerrero played in a cross from the left flank that sailed over the goalmouth and found Santino Quaranta, who gleefully thumped home a half-volley inside the near post for his fifth goal of the year.
But the Hoops hit for the equalizer just 10 minutes later. Eric Avila got to the byeline on the left and pulled back a rolling cross toward the penalty spot, where Andre Rocha stepped forward to stroke home his second goal on the season.
United head coach Tom Soehn made four changes to the team that lost 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes the previous weekend. Bryan Namoff returned from suspension, Jaime Moreno came back from international duty, Quavas Kirk came back into the team and Thabiso Khumalo made his MLS debut, as Rod Dyachenko and Francis Doe returned to the substitutes' bench and Mike Zaher dropped, while Marcelo Gallardo was ill.
Here's Soehn's team (4-3-1-2): Louis Crayton - Bryan Namoff, Marc Burch, Devon McTavish, Gonzalo Martinez - Quavas Kirk (Fred 46), Clyde Simms, Ivan Guerrero (Rod Dyachenko 72) - Santino Quaranta - Thabiso Khumalo (Luciano Emilio 68), Jaime Moreno. Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cordeiro, Francis Doe, Craig Thompson, Zach Wells
It's been hard on guys because I keep talking about the consistency and as you can see the lineups that we've had to put out there are far from consistent. And having to sub when you're told you're going to get 20 minutes out of him," Soehn said. " ... So it's difficult for them but defensively some of the guys who have done well, I thought we were too forced; we gave away balls and gave away counterattacks. We created chances [but] couldn't finish them."TEAM NEWS
It was a very disappointing result for United, who fell behind the New York Red Bulls into eighth place in the MLS overall table with the draw. If the playoffs began after Week 25, United would still make the postseason, but would crossover to take on the Houston Dynamo.
"We needed to get three points tonight. We just feel really let down. They were killing us. We still had chances but they had chances and they finished them off so you have to give them credit but it's unacceptable," said Santino Quaranta. "It's getting to the point now that we have to hold ourselves accountable. [There were] too many mistakes. It has to get better from everybody. We're not too happy."
But the continued injury situation left Soehn with few options down the stretch. Marcelo Gallardo was scratched with a bout of 'flu, then was ruled out for a few weeks at least, to see a specialist about recovering from his lingering groin injury. Gallardo has played just 105 minutes at all for United since the first meeting with the Galaxy.
"I wish I didn't put Luci [Emilio] in because I was worried about him getting hurt. And that's no way to go into a game, coaching-wise," Soehn said. "It's very difficult right now looking and knowing you have impact players sitting on the bench and having to wait to put them in. There are situations in a game when you want to be reactionary of the situation but you can't. So it's difficult right now and that's why I'm encouraged to get those guys in playing and hopefully we can push the minutes next time."
Then on Tuesday, United lost their CONCACAF Champions League Group A opener, falling 2-0 to Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa at RFK Stadium. Walter Centeno scored in the 32nd minute for Saprissa, then three minutes, United went a man down when Devon McTavish was sent off. Jairo Arrieta sealed the victory with his goal in the 52nd minute.
Here's Soehn's team: Zach Wells, Bryan Namoff, Marc Burch, Devon McTavish, Gonzalo Martinez, Boyzzz Khumalo, Santino Quaranta (Francis Doe 76), Clyde Simms, Craig Thompson, Ryan Cordeiro (Rod Dyachenko 65), Luciano Emilio (Fred 46). Substitutes Not Used: Louis Crayton, Greg Janicki, Quavas Kirk, Jaime Moreno
"We knew it was going to be tough," said Soehn. "I think the difficult part has been having to manage getting guys on the field. You're not having to coach too much, you're patching up things and it's pretty difficult. We fought through this. Jaime [Moreno] and Ivan [Guerrero] weren't available, so you deplete yourself a little bit more and when you're shorthanded, getting a red card really, really hurts. Any time you get a red card it hurts, but especially when you're shorthanded."