Familiar opponents: It seems like that's the theme of the week. Including today's match, our past 10 games have seen us face LA Galaxy four times (quite a lot, if you ask me); of the three that have already taken place, we've won two and lost one.
This one, I think, should be fun. Maybe more fun than two of those three — the match of two weeks ago was a stress-filled occasion and one I'd like to not have nightmares about any longer; the first leg of the Western Conference semifinal against these folks was a dreadful and frightful occasion. But the big one was the thumping we gave them in the second leg of that match, where we were clearly and distinctly the better side.
I'd like very much if we could appear to be the better side again. That occasion was down in part to a magnificent performance from one Chris Schuler — he was brilliant on set pieces, towering in defense, strong in the tackle. We have missed him these first two games, but these matches have been about a lot more than just that.
What we saw last match was a midfield eager to drop into defensive positions and defend the lead. This is fine and good, but when it comes to the things we know how to do well, that's not particularly one of them. Not institutionally, at least — maybe it's something we're aiming to do more, shutting up shop. But if we do it in that sort of way, we'll be kicking ourselves come end of season.
So what do we expect here, now? It's the home opener, and we might have Chris Schuler back. Can we relax a bit, push the ball into advanced positions, and play our subtle, sometimes-purring brand of soccer? That is the natural hope. We might even have Javier Morales back, whose calm in possession glues our play together — an odd thing considering his attacking play pushes us forward.
A positive result will be the goal here, as it always is. LA Galaxy are an opponent we can face now and not have to fret about, because, well, history's on our side. Opportunities and whatnot.