For the second week in a row, the Los Angeles Galaxy will be less than full strength on the back line. Jamaican international center back Tyrone Marshall will miss this weekend's showdown with the Kansas City Wizards, serving a suspension for caution point accumulation after surpassing the level two weeks ago in the home match against Kansas City.
Marshall would have served the suspension during last weekend's match against the Dallas Burn, but because of national team duty he missed the game anyway. In years past, missing a game for national team duty would have satisfied the suspension as well, but the rule was changed before the start of this season.
Last week's 2-0 victory against the Burn at The Home Depot Center saw the Galaxy without both of their regular central defenders, as Ryan Suarez also missed the match with a suspension due to caution points.
But the absence of those two players may have been a blessing in disguise. Danny Califf made just his second start over the latter half of the season, while Sasha Victorine played alongside in the center of the back four. The two were a key part of the shutout performance, and one or both will be needed again this weekend.
Califf began the season as a starter in central defense for Sigi Schmid, but a pair of injuries derailed his season. But Victorine -- who has also played in a number of midfield roles as well as both outside back positions -- provided a solid performance for the Galaxy.
Marshall's absence could not only affect the back line. His header off a corner kick provided the Galaxy's goal in the 1-1 draw with the Wizards on Oct. 2, when a late own goal off the boot of Victorine gave the visitors their equalizer.
Galaxy coach Steve Sampson said earlier this week that he expects Califf to remain in the lineup, along with Suarez in the center of defense. For Victorine, it will likely mean a return to the left side of the Los Angeles midfield, held down by Alejandro Moreno in the game last weekend.
"He's our Mr. Utility," said Sampson. "I think Sasha has done well for us, so I think that he has the best shot at starting at that position."
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Soccer or its clubs.