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The Los Angeles Galaxy have been pouring goals in recently, and while they haven’t taken every point on the table in recent matches, they’ve still maintained their league-leading record overall. They returned home from a split two-game road trip for a 3-1 victory against the Dallas Burn last weekend – and now play host to a Kansas City Wizards side coming in on short rest and short fuses. The visitors haven’t taken a point – or scored – on the road, and lost 3-2 at midweek to the depleted New England Revolution when they allowed two goals in the final five minutes.
REFEREE: Ricardo Valenzuela. SAR (bench): Robert Fereday; JAR (opposite): Kermit Quisenberry; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 54 games; FC/gm: 35.2; Y/gm: 4.8; R: 22 pens: 16
Games involving Galaxy: P12 W6 L2 T4; FC/gm: 33.7; Y/gm: 4.8; R: 3; pens: 2
Games involving Wizards: P8 W5 L3 T0; FC/gm: 28.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 3; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: LOS ANGELES GALAXY – OUT: FW Carlos Ruiz (R ankle sprain); MF Peter Vagenas (groin strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Tyrone Marshall (L MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Danny Califf (R MCL sprain); MF Ned Grabavoy (L foot contusion) ... KANSAS CITY WIZARDS – OUT: MD Preki (L fractured fibula/L dislocated ankle); FW Igor Simutenkov (L torn Achilles tendon)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
YELLOW PERIL: LA: Peter Vagenas (10 CP in 2 gms)
HEAD-TO-HEADALL-TIME (32 meetings): Galaxy 16 wins (0 shootout), 52 goals .., Wizards 13 wins (1 shootout), 38 goals ... 3 draws
AT LOS ANGELES (16 meetings): Galaxy 10 wins (0 shootout), 28 goals ... Wizards 3 wins (1 shootout), 13 goals ... 3 draws
This is the first of four meetings between the two teams this season, the first of two at The Home Depot Center. They won’t face each other again until July 24 (in Kansas City), then they play twice over the final three weeks of the season, on Victoria Street on Oct. 2, and at Arrowhead Stadium in Oct. 16.
Last year, the Wizards won three of the four meetings between the two teams, the Galaxy winning the other. Kansas City won on May 24 at home in dramatic fashion (Simutenkov 21, Preki 89 – Ruiz 75), then the Galaxy returned the favor on June 14 at home (Jones 54, Ruiz 73 pen – Wolff 49).
Then the Wizards won the final two meetings, again both through late drama, first at the HDC on Sept. 27 through a Chris Klein double (Moreno 5 – Klein 40, 81), then on a controversial Igor Simutenkov golden goal at Arrowhead on Oct. 11 (Zavagnin 13, Simutenkov 95 – Ruiz 67 pen)
Before last season, the Galaxy had won the season series four of the previous five years.
Half of the Galaxy’s 52 goals in the series all-time have been scored after the 75th minute, including 14 in the final quarter-hour and three golden goal winners.
Cobi Jones leads current Galaxy players in the all-time scoring table against the Wizards, with 6 goals, 7 assists. Carlos Ruiz has 5 goals in 7 games – 3 coming last year. Only Sasha Victorine and Danny Califf have also hit for multiple goals v Kansas City (2 each).
Preki has 8 goals, 8 assists in his career (all with Kansas City) against the Galaxy, the Wizards all-time club leader, but Chris Klein has 7 goals, 5 assists. Igor Simutenkov has 2 goals, 3 assists, while Josh Wolff has 3 goals, 1 assist (just 1 goal while with Kansas City).
Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. KC: P20 W10 L7 D3 ... Bob Gansler v LA: P20 W7 L10 D3
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy were the only Western Conference team to win at the weekend, maintaining their league-best overall record with a 4-1 victory against the Dallas Burn at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy lead in the West jumped to six points with the win, now with 18 points from nine matches, three ahead of the San Jose Earthquakes.
Jovan Kirovski scored a pair of goals as the Los Angeles Galaxy maintained their best overall record in the league with a 4-1 victory against the Dallas Burn, who fell to their fourth consecutive loss after starting the season with a four-game unbeaten streak.
Sasha Victorine headed home a Cobi Jones cross from close range when the Galaxy took advantage of a defensive error after just nine minutes, then after the break, the Galaxy doubled their lead through an own goal after Steve Jolley headed a free kick past 'keeper Scott Garlick when battling Victorine in the area (65).
Ronnie O'Brien pulled a goal back for the Burn six minutes later when he finished off a long run through the heart of the Galaxy defense, hooking a shot home from inside the area while falling, but just a minute later the home side restored their margin to two when Kirovski headed home a Marcelo Saragosa cross that the luckless Jolley again helped over the line.
Kirovski then secured his double, converting a penalty kick four minutes deep into second-half stoppage time for his fifth goal of the campaign, tied for second in the league with teammate Alejandro Moreno and San Jose's Brian Ching, one behind still-injured Galaxy marksman Carlos Ruiz.
Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid made two changes to the team that lost 4-2 to the San Jose Earthquakes the weekend before. Ricky Lewis came in at left back for Paul Broome, while Jovan Kirovski returned from injury to partner Alejandro Moreno in attack.
Here’s Schmid’s team (4-3-1-2): Kevin Hartman – Chris Albright, Ryan Suarez, Hong Myung-Bo, Ricky Lewis – Cobi Jones (Guillermo Gonzalez 89), Marcelo Saragosa, Sasha Victorine – Andreas Herzog (Paul Broome 81) – Jovan Kirovski, Alejandro Moreno (Joseph Ngwenya 85).
For Victorine, his goal came in his 100th career MLS appearance. "It was nice on his 100th game to get a goal, and almost have two,' Schmid said of Victorine. "I thought he made a great run on the first goal.'
Since Carlos Ruiz has gone down to an ankle injury, the Galaxy have scored 10 goals in three matches. "I attribute that to the guys playing up top,' Victorine said. "They're moving off the ball well and holding it when it's being played forward. It's allowing us in the midfield to run underneath, get the ball back and it opens our game up from there.”
Unless Ruiz has returned to full training, he will not be allowed to join Guatemala for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers – even if called in. "We're firm on that posture. If we are evaluating him here, I see no reason for him to go to Guatemala," Schmid said.
On Wednesday, the Galaxy lost 1-0 in a friendly to Brazil’s Sao Paulo FC, as Anderson Lima scored an 85th-minute goal for the match-winner. The Galaxy started just three regular starters as Schmid used the opportunity to give a lot of reserves a chance against a Sao Paulo which was equally devoid of first-team players, though Hong Myung-Bo was sent off for a second bookable offense in the 42nd minute.
Here’s Schmid’s team: Dan Popik - Chris Albright (46: Scot Thompson), Chris Aloisi, Hong Myung-Bo, Paul Broome - Cobi Jones (46: Arturo Torres), Ned Grabavoy (46: Ricky Lewis), Marcelo Saragosa (60: Sasha Victorine), Josh Gardner (76: Andreas Herzog) - Jovan Kirovski (46: Guillermo Gonzalez), Joseph Ngwenya (60: Alejandro Moreno).
"For the most part, I'm pleased with the performance," Schmid said. "We played a lot of young people, and some of them gained a lot of points in my mind.
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The Kansas City Wizards lost for the first time in 2004 at Arrowhead Stadium, the league’s top defense allowing two goals in the final five minutes as the New England Revolution came from behind to claim a 3-2 victory at midweek. The Wizards remain in third place in the Western Conference with 11 points from nine matches, now seven points behind the West-leading Los Angeles Galaxy.
Pat Noonan brought the injury-racked Revolution back from the dead, scoring twice in the final five minutes to cap a hat trick in the victory. Noonan gave the Revs a 16th-minute lead when he headed home a Steve Ralston cross, but the Wizards scored goals four minutes apart to take the lead.
Josh Wolff's mis-hit shot from close range pulled the home side level on 33 minutes, then Davy Arnaud was quickest to an ill-advised back pass, looping it over New England 'keeper Matt Reis.
But Noonan stunningly struck back in the 86th minute for a Revolution side that added marksman Taylor Twellman to its injury ranks last week, finally pounding the ball home from a goalmouth scramble that saw no fewer than four attempts at goal.
Then just on the stroke of 90 minutes, Noonan powerfully turned home a Shalrie Joseph cross to give the Revolution the match-winner, just their second victory on the campaign and snapping the Wizards eight-match home league unbeaten streak.
“We gave one away,” Wizards coach Bob Gansler said. “Call them as they occurred. We're better than that. We've got to rise to the occasion and put those wins away. We came back well in the first half. We had the game under control. At halftime, we talked about getting that third goal. A lack of concentration in the last 5 minutes of the game cost us three points.”
Wizards coach Bob Gansler made one change to the team that lost 1-0 away to the MetroStars three days before. Diego Walsh returned to the starting lineup in place of Jack Jewsbury in central midfield.
Here’s Gansler’s team (4-4-2): Tony Meola – Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Jose Burciaga Jr. (Matt Taylor 89) – Chris Klein, Kerry Zavagnin, Diego Walsh (Jack Jewsbury 78), Diego Gutierrez – Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff.
“We still haven't learned the lesson that a game is 90-minutes long,” said Zavagnin. “Anytime you let a team hang around like that, you're playing with fire. Tonight, it burned us.”
The loss was especially disheartening for a Wizards that wanted the full three points with a five-match road swing ahead. The Wizards have yet to claim a point – or score a goal – on their travels this season.
“Our mind-set and the way we try to do things seems different when we play away as opposed to when we play at home,” said forward Josh Wolff. “At home, we're more of a go-get-'em team. I don't think we should change styles when we're away from home. The road isn't that big a deal in MLS.”