THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
May 30, 2009 (WEEK 11) / MLS Game #81
7:30 p.m. PT (FSN-PT; MetroSports)
Having played to draws in seven of their last eight games, the Los Angeles Galaxy return home on Saturday night to take on the Kansas City Wizards. The Galaxy have still lost just once on the campaign; their eight draws this year are nearing a club record with two-thirds of the season still to be played. The Wizards have won just once in their last five contests, salvaging a point at home against MLS overall leader Chivas USA last weekend despite having two players sent off.
REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Baldomero Toledo MLS Career: 108 games; FC/gm: 29.1; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 34; pens: 31
INJURY REPORT: LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: DF Sean Franklin (R hamstring surgery); DF Yohance Marshall (R MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Edson Buddle (L quad tightness); DF Todd Dunivant (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: GK Donovan Ricketts (R adductor tightness) ... KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: FW Adam Cristman (fifth metatarsal fracture); GK Eric Kronberg (shoulder surgery); DF Chance Myers (fifth metatarsal fracture)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: KC: Santiago Hirsig (through May 31); Josh Wolff (through May 31)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Jack Jewsbury
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Eddie Lewis, Stefani Miglioranzi ... KC: Matt Besler; Roger Espinoza, Herculez Gomez
ALL-TIME (44 meetings): Galaxy 21 wins (0 shootout), 70 goals ... Wizards 16 wins (2 shootout), 53 goals ... Ties 7 AT LOS ANGELES (22 meetings): Galaxy 13 wins (0 shootout), 39 goals ... Wizards 4 wins (1 shootout), 21 goals ... Ties 5 RETURN MATCH: 7/25: Los Angeles Galaxy at Kansas City Wizards, 7:30 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/24: LA 3, KC 1 (Donovan 54; Buddle 74; Beckham 90 - Lopez 40) 9/13: KC 2, LA 0 (Wolff 67; Arnaud 69)
When the Wizards claimed a 2-0 victory at Arrowhead Stadium in the second meeting last season, it was their first victory against the Galaxy since since Oct. 16, 2004, a 2-1 victory at Arrowhead Stadium. In the six matches in between, the Galaxy won four, with two draws.
Kansas City's last win at The Home Depot Center came in the first meeting of the 2004 series, a 2-1 win. The Galaxy have won three of the five visits by the Wizards since, with two draws.
The teams met four times in the first nine years of league history in the MLS Cup Playoffs, each team advancing on two occasions.
Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. KC: P14 W5 L7 D2 ... Curt Onalfo v LA: P4 W1 L2 D1
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy played to a draw for the fourth consecutive match - and eighth time in 10 games on the year - held to a 1-1 tie by a 10-man FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Pizza Hut Park. The Galaxy have 11 points from 10 games, sitting in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake, entering the week 13 points in back of MLS overall leader Chivas USA.
The Galaxy hadn't lost in seven games, though six of those were draws, while FC Dallas put an end to a three-game losing streak with a home draw against Seattle the week before.
The Galaxy jumped ahead after just three minutes. Mike Magee freed Eddie Lewis on the right, and his curling cross into the six was swept home by Landon Donovan with his back to goal just in front of goalkeeper Ray Burse.
The home side then went a man down in the 26th minute when Marcelo Saragosa was sent off with a straight red card.
But five minutes later, it was FCD that pulled even. Dave van den Bergh drove in a corner from the right and Drew Moor flashed across goal to head home from the heart of the area for his second of the season.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Columbus at home the weekend before. A.J. DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant came into the back four and Josh Tudela returned to central midfield with Sean Franklin injured and Stefani Miglioranzi and Bryan Jordan going to the substitutes' bench.
Here's Arena's team (4-4-1-1): Donovan Ricketts - A.J. DeLaGarza, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant - Mike Magee, Josh Tudela (Chris Klein 74), Dema Kovalenko, Eddie Lewis (Bryan Jordan 78) - Landon Donovan - Alan Gordon (Edson Buddle 67). Substitutes Not Used: Jovan Kirovski, Stefani Miglioranzi, Tony Sanneh, Josh Saunders
"We certainly didn't take advantage of our opportunities," Arena said. "We didn't finish off the plays to get three points. It's really that simple. It's not a hard game to analyze."
While LA finished the night with 20 total shots on the night (a season-high), only seven of those came in the final 45 minutes, much to Arena's chagrin. Nine of those were on target, also a Galaxy season-high.
"In the second half, I thought we were technically slow in getting the ball off our feet, creating advantages, getting shots off quicker and making the right pass," he said. "Technically, it wasn't a good performance."
After going a goal up and having a man advantage, the Galaxy could not capitalize and ended with their third consecutive 1-1 draw and their sixth among their eight draws on the season.
"At halftime, it probably should have been an advantage for us," Arena said. "A mental lapse and they get a goal off a corner to their credit. It's silly that we're in on their goalkeeper two or three times on one-on-ones and we don't convert the opportunities."
Now with eight draws, the Galaxy are rapidly closing on the club record of 10 in a single season, set in 2004. The league record is 13 in one year, set three times previously, last by Houston and Chivas USA in 2006.
"I think you just have to play a little bit quicker and a little bit cleaner," Arena said. "We need to be more efficient with our passing. Our young players still at times, looked like young players on the ball. In those situations, time favors the defense. Every second you hold on the ball, it gives the defending team a split second to regroup and get in better position."
Donovan's goal, his sixth of the season, tied him with Chicago's Brian McBride and Kansas City's Josh Wolff for the league lead. It was the 16th time in his MLS career he has scored against FCD - eight with the Galaxy and eight during his time in San Jose.
"We're disappointed in the result," he said. "We're not disappointed necessarily in the way we played, but I think technically, if we were a little better, we win the game. I think that was a little frustrating."
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The Kansas City Wizards went two players down in the second half but were still able to hold out for a 1-1 draw with MLS overall leader Chivas USA on Saturday evening at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The Wizards have 15 points from 11 matches, sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points from 11 matches, three points behind division leaders Chicago Fire entering the week. LAST MATCH
Chivas USA had a three-game winning streak come to an end the week before when D.C. United scored twice late for a 2-2 draw, while the Wizards put an end to a three-game winless run with a 2-0 win at Real Salt Lake.
After a tight, cagey first half, the game burst into life after the break. The Wizards took the lead in the 56th minute when Claudio Lopez swung in a masterful free kick from the right side, inside the near post from some 25 yards, for his fourth goal on the season and second directly from a free kick in three weeks.
Chivas pulled level eight minutes later. A freekick wasn't completely cleared and Sasha Victorine stabbed it forward to Eduardo Lillingston on the edge of the 6-yard box, who turned and knocked it home. For Victorine, it was the second goal he's been involved in in as many games against his former club, while Lillingston scored for the second time in as many weeks and the third time on the campaign.
Four minutes later, Wizards forward Josh Wolff was sent off after a skirmish with Chivas USA defender Mariano Trujillo following a foul outside the Chivas area. The home side were left two players down for the final seven minutes when midfielder Santiago Hirsig was sent off for a second bookable offense, but Chivas could not capitalize.
Wizards head coach Curt Onalfo made no changes to the team that defeated Real Salt Lake 2-0 on the road the weekend before.
Here's Onalfo's team (4-1-3-2): Kevin Hartman - Lance Watson, Jimmy Conrad, Aaron Hohlbein, Matt Besler - Santiago Hirsig - Davy Arnaud (Michael Kraus 93+), Jack Jewsbury, Roger Espinoza (Herculez Gomez 71) - Claudio Lopez (Michael Harrington 84), Josh Wolff. Substitutes Not Used: Rauwshan McKenzie, Kurt Morsink, Boris Pardo, Abe Thompson
"We had a whole bunch of chances, and then obviously the game changed with the two red cards," Onalfo said. "You're playing with two less players. You have to find a way to scrap and get out of there with a point. So, credit to our guys in getting a point against what everybody says is the league's best team. We'll take the point. We're not happy with it, but we'll take it."
Lopez scored for the second time in three weeks directly from a free kick. Those are the only two set-piece goals for the Wizards among their 15 goals on the season (they did have one scored from the penalty spot). Lopez is the only player in the league this season with multiple goals directly from a free kick.
"We knew coming in that this wasn't going to be a very high scoring game. We told our guys to be patient, and we felt this would be a game that we could get a goal off of a set piece, and that's exactly how we scored the first goal," said Onalfo.
The last time the Wizards had played two men down was Sept. 27, 2007, when they played the last eight minutes with nine men in an eventual 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"I think we're a good enough team to have gotten a win here tonight. It's a little bit disappointing because once we went down to nine men we couldn't really push the game anymore," Hartman said. "We were just trying to escape with a point. I was proud of the guys for being able to do that, to battle and to go ahead and collect a point."
The Wizards have now tied back-to-back games at home against then-conference leaders, playing to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United the week before. After the trip to LA, the Wizards then have three consecutive home games wrapped around the club's initial foray into SuperLiga competition.
"For the most part, the game's kind of a wash. I think in the first half Chivas did a good job of breaking our rhythm. In the second half I thought we played much better. We game out of halftime with a bit more spirit, a bit more bite," Conrad said. "We got a goal, could have had another one, and then the red cards happened and we just had to try and salvage a result."