With Real Salt Lake reclaiming the Rocky Mountain Cup a week and a half ago, the Claret and Cobalt are finding a good vein of form.
The star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy on the other hand are trying their best to right a sinking ship. With news of Gyasi Zardes being out for the year, the soccer gods have done the Galaxy a further disservice with Steven Gerrard and Jelle Van Damme suffering niggling injuries as well. Nigel de Jong even had his contract terminated in the meantime. But this Galaxy team still doesn’t lack for fire power, as they showed Saturday night against Columbus Crew.
Brian Rowe will be the man in between the posts for the Galaxy. The former UCLA Bruin ranks 4th league wide in saves with 94 only five behind the league leader. Rowe stands alone as the only goalkeeper in the league to give up less than a goal a game with at least 20 starts notched. The 27 year old is turning a corner this season and solidifying himself as LA’s number one.
A key cog in the Galaxy defense could be missing in Jelle Van Damme. Although Los Angeles is still loaded with experienced talent along the backline. A.J. DeLaGarza has been a mainstay for the Galaxy nearly earning 200 appearances for the club, he will likely slot in for van Damme in central defense. Robbie Rogers and Ashley Cole are favorites to play in the full back positions while Daniel Steres partners DeLaGarza in the middle.
Most clubs in MLS would not be able to replace the quality of a Steven Gerrard and Nigel de Jong without a crash and burn effect, however the Galaxy are a team that has a great amount of depth. The Galaxy will likely pack the midfield with five men. Jeff Larentowicz and Baggio Husidic will look to take over the De Jong/Gerrard positions while giving 2013 MLS MVP Mike Magee a free role to roam in front. The wingers have plenty of pace and will likely be provided by Emmanuel Boateng and Sebastian Lletget. RSL had a hard time containing Emmanuel Boateng in the previous matchup and will hope to improve on their marking of him this time around.
The man leading the line for Los Angeles is typically Robbie Keane, however, Keane was a part of his last ever match for the Ireland national team and may miss out on the fixture. Giovani dos Santos will likely take over the sole striker role in Keane’s absence. Although dos Santos may not have the goal tally in MLS that some people may have expected, he is always a threat to create a goal out of nothing, whether it be for himself or his teammates. The Galaxy won’t hesitate to throw on 6’3” Alan Gordon to partner if they find themselves chasing a goal in the latter stages.