Well Fox Soccer Channel is back with Football Night in America and this edition will see the team set up camp at the Home Depot Center where the Los Angeles Galaxy will play host to DC United. LA is simply the hottest team in MLS right now with 4 straight wins, a 8-2-5 overall record and 4-0-2 at home. DC United has done well in recent weeks and have 4 straight results, a 4-4-3 overall record, and only LA has more road wins that DC United, last weekend DC became the first team to get a win at JELD-WEN Field.
For LA they have done exactly like they did last year, they schedule a ton of matches early in the year and perform well in them to establish a huge lead early in the year. This will be the 16th match that LA has played but their 29 points from their first 15 matches will mean that a win over DC will put them to a 2.0 points per match average (the only other team that can hit that point is RSL if they get a win on Saturday).
more after the jump:
LA survived a stretch without Landon Donovan earlier this year but he has clearly been the go to guy for them as his 8 goals leads all of MLS, so with him gone for USMNT duty this month, will the Galaxy be able to find other goal scorers to step up? Chad Barrett has been productive with 3 goals and 3 assists, but nobody has really stepped up to fill in for Edson Buddle, so Landon had to take the scoring duties over. I think it may be Miquel Lopez who steps up in June for the Galaxy, he has shown the potential to be a very creative player and no better opportunity will present itself, then there is the guy who I think saved LA last year while Landon was at the World Cup, Michael Stephens, could he find a way to get himself a larger role than his current 4 starts in 2011? Maybe the bigger question will be how will Josh Saunders do in goal with Donovan Ricketts gone for Gold Cup action.
DC United has been an interesting story so far this year, first it was the "no way is he our coach" to "hey guess what nobody else wants the job, so he is our coach", perhaps no story was bigger than Charlie Davies joining the Black and Red. He has made a difference for the team, while they still have one of, if not the worst defense in MLS at least this year they can score goals, which is huge for a team. I do worry a bit that 5 of their 16 goals have had to come from the PK spot, and I actually expected more from Dax McCarty's arrival with the team.
The injury bug has really been a big factor for DC United, I think the injuries to Branko Boskovic, Santino Quaranta, and Jed Zayner who have a combined 5 starts for the team this year. The team has in recent weeks shown a bit more of the toughness and determination that coach Ben Olsen used to bring to the pitch every match, if he can get more players to embrace that never say die and never stop working mentality there is enough talent on the team to make a real run at the playoffs this year.
These two teams fought to a 1-1 draw earlier in the year when they faced off at RFK, it was a late PK by Charlie Davies that countered an early goal by Mike Magee. There was no Landon Donovan in that match, but the Galaxy did get 3 saves from Donovan Ricketts, I am going to pick the upset of the weekend in a 2-1 DC United win at LA.
OFF MY SOAPBOX