THE HOME DEPOT CENTER
7 pm PT (UPN)
Once again the Los Angeles Galaxy are returning home after an extended road stretch, hoping their still new digs in Carson will reverse a long winless streak. The Galaxy didn't win in more than a month away from Victoria Street, drawing three times and losing once in league play, while also being dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup by second-division opposition. But they face a Columbus Crew team that hasn't lost since June, winning two and drawing four in their second-longest unbeaten run of the year (having earlier gone on a seven-match stretch).
REFEREE: Michael Kennedy. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Ramon Hernandez
MLS Career: 54 games; FC/gm: 33.4; Y/gm: 4.2; R: 9; pens: 22
Games involving Galaxy: P9 W7 L0 T2; FC/gm: 33.2; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 2; pens: 6
Games involving Crew: P10 W5 L2 T3; FC/gm: 32.8; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 2; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: LOS ANGELES GALAXY -QUESTIONABLE: DF Danny Califf (L torn meniscus); FW Joseph Ngwenya (L Achilles tendonitis); PROBABLE: MD Peter Vagenas (R groin strain) ... COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: DF Stephen Herdsman (L groin strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Erick Scott (Costa Rica Olympic team)
SUSPENDED: LA: Chris Albright (through Aug. 14); Ryan Suarez (through Aug. 14)
YELLOW PERIL: LA: Paul Broome (20 CP); Carlos Ruiz (20 CP); Marcelo Saragosa (20 CP)
ALL-TIME (21 meetings): Galaxy 8 wins (0 shootout), 28 goals ... Crew 9 wins (3 shootout), 28 goals ... 3 draws
IN LOS ANGELES (12 meetings): Galaxy 7 wins (0 shootout), 17 goals ... Crew 5 wins (2 shootout), 14 goals ... 0 draws
The teams meet on the second of three occasions this season, the second of two at The Home Depot Center. They'll then face each other in three weeks in their only meeting at Crew Stadium.
The Galaxy claimed a 2-0 victory on Victoria Street in their first meeting on April 24. Carlos Ruiz extended his goal-scoring streak to start the season to four games, hitting for both goals.
Ruiz put his side ahead in the 58th minute from the penalty spot after Eric Denton scythed down Joseph Ngwenya in the area, Ruiz coolly sending Crew 'keeper the wrong way for the first goal. He then finished off the match with aplomb eight minutes from time, neatly meeting a cross from Paul Broome from the left corner and sending it home with a first-time volley.
Here's Sigi Schmid's team on the night (4-4-1-1): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Danny Califf (Ryan Suarez 67), Tyrone Marshall, Paul Broome - Joseph Ngwenya (Arturo Torres 73), Ned Grabavoy, Marcelo Saragosa, Andreas Herzog (Alejandro Moreno 88) - Jovan Kirovski - Carlos Ruiz.
Here's the team Greg Andrulis ran out (4-1-3-2): Jon Busch - Steven Herdsman, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Eric Denton (Erick Scott 81) - Simon Elliott - Duncan Oughton (David Testo 88), Kyle Martino, Brian Maisonneuve (Ross Paule 81) - Jeff Cunningham, Edson Buddle.
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 7 goals (along with 1 assist), 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 (3 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: P11 W5 L3 D3 ... Greg Andrulis v LA: P8 W2 L4 T2
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy saw their winless skein run to four games - though losing for the first time in that run - in a 3-0 loss to the MetroStars last Sunday at the Meadowlands. Still, the Galaxy remained in first place in the Western Conference and in the MLS overall table, with 33 points from 21 matches, one ahead of both the Kansas City Wizards and MetroStars.
It was the second 3-0 victory of the season for Metro against the Galaxy. Earlier in the year, the Metros had knocked off the Galaxy 3-0 at The Home Depot Center four days after a 2-1 victory at The Meadowlands.
Amado Guevara moved into a tie for the MLS goalscoring lead when he converted from the penalty spot for the sixth time in six tries this season (36), after John Wolyniec was bundled over deep in the box by Tyrone Marshall. The goal extended Guevara's point-scoring streak to nine matches and firmly entrenched him atop the Budweiser Scoring Leaders.
In the second half, Metro put away the match with two goals in four minutes. A wonderful pass from Mike Magee sent Eddie Gaven through alone on goal and the teenager coolly slotted it past Kevin Hartman (61).
Then in the 64th minute a long searching free kick from Guevara found Cornell Glen on the left side of the area, and his low cross was volleyed home by Wolyniec from the spot in a tremendous goal. The Galaxy were left a man down for the final quarter of the match after Chris Albright was sent off for a nasty challenge on Chris Leitch.
Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid made no changes to the team that he ran out in the club's last match, when they came back to claim a dramatic 2-2 draw against the Wizards in Kansas City before the All-Star break.
Here's Schmid's team (4-3-1-2): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Tyrone Marshall, Ryan Suarez (Hong Myung-Bo 75), Paul Broome (Peter Vagenas 70) - Cobi Jones, Marcelo Saragosa, Sasha Victorine - Andreas Herzog - Carlos Ruiz, Jovan Kirovski (Alejandro Moreno 70).
The Galaxy are playing their first home in more than a month - once again failing to win a game on an extended road trip. A year ago, the Galaxy didn't win in opening the season with eight consecutive road contests, eventually becoming the first team in league history not to win on their travels in a season.
"We haven't had a weekend at home since July 10, and no matter what you say, that wears on you a little bit,' said Schmid. "We're excited to be back at home, and we hope to extend our home winning streak (to three). We have two straight games here and we want to lock them up.'
Schmid will have some real selection issues - yet again - in his back line. Albright will be suspended after his red card, as will central defender Ryan Suarez through caution point accumulation. Danny Califf could be available after missing nearly two months with a torn meniscus.
Ruiz played the first half last Friday in Guatemala's 2-0 friendly victory against El Salvador in Washington, D.C. After the Crew match, he will re-join his country's team for their opening CONCACAF semifinal round World Cup qualifier against Canada, to be played in Vancouver on Aug. 18. He'll then return to the Galaxy for their Aug. 21 league match v Chicago.
Tyrone Marshall has been called into Jamaica's team for their CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against the USA in Kingston on Aug. 18.
The Columbus Crew extended their unbeaten run to six matches - though they've won just twice in that period - with a 2-2 draw away to New England Revolution last weekend in their first match after the All-Star break. The Crew remain in second place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points from 18 matches, but now lead D.C. United by a single point and trail the MetroStars by seven - though they have two matches in hand over the entire conference.
The teams combined for their four goals in the first half - one each in stoppage time - before settling for a share of the spoils.
Kyle Martino pounced upon a poor Jay Heaps pass before cracking home a shot from the edge of the box to give the visitors the lead (20), before Steve Ralston calmly converted from the penalty spot nine minutes later after Crew 'keeper Jon Busch was adjudged to have knocked over Taylor Twellman when rushing out to punch away a bouncing ball.
Then after the clock had ticked over 45 minutes, Edson Buddle powered home a header off a free kick swung in from the left after he was completely unmarked in the heart of the box. But barely a minute later the Revs answered on a free kick of their own, swung in by Jose Cancela from the right where Pat Noonan met it with a glancing header at the near post, nestling it neatly inside Busch's right-hand post.
Crew head coach Greg Andrulis made no changes to the team that defeated the Dallas Burn 2-1 in their final match before the All-Star break.
Here's Andrulis's team (3-4-1-2): Jon Busch - Duncan Oughton, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall - Frankie Hejduk, Simon Elliott, Ross Paule (Danny Szetela 85), Chris Wingert (Jeff Cunningham 81) - Manny Lagos (Brian Maisonneuve 59) - Edson Buddle, Kyle Martino
It was a second consecutive match where Jeff Cunningham remained on the bench until late in the contest, and Andrulis says he is concerned about the pacy striker's hamstrings. "He never wants to come out, but the hamstrings obviously have bothered him. He's been playing with the problem for a while," Andrulis said. "When he's ready, we'll get him back in there. We're trying to limit his minutes for it to heal. We want him as close to 100 percent as possible for this time of the season." Yet, says Cunningham: "I'm not injured."
Buddle has now hit for three goals in two games, where he's operating as really the only out-and-out striker, Kyle Martino dropping more into midfield.
"We felt [Buddle] was warming up a couple of weeks ago," Andrulis said. "He's a streaky forward on a streak. ... Edson can play with anybody. Edson and Jeff are a great combination, one of the best in the league. With Kyle there, it's a deadly triangle."
Erick Scott played the full match in Costa Rica's scoreless draw with Morocco on Thursday to begin play in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.