Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy come into the Home Depot Center straggling on their hands and knees when they host the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. With a record of 3-4-1, the Galaxy are off the pace in the MLS Western Conference and need a positive result against a New York team that is near the top of the MLS Eastern Conference standings at 4-3-1.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Here are 10 bold predictions for this contest.
Despite Thierry Henry not starting, I am looking at someone along the likes of Kenny Cooper recording the first goal of the match. Cooper is turning out to be a fine score alongside Henry, with seven goals to his credit. He will make it eight on Saturday.
Now hear this: all Los Angeles Galaxy first-team players please report to the SS Galaxy immediately. This is not a drill. Once again, all Los Angeles Galaxy first-team players please report to the SS Galaxy immediately. Thank you.
Beckham and Keane were given the night off against the Seattle Sounders but will not have the night off against New York. It will be all hands on deck for the star power that fuels the Galaxy.
He's not going to be on your nearest Olympic roster. Nor is he going to score any goals on Saturday against the Red Bulls. But David Beckham is going to play with a very strong resolve and record a brace of assists.
Two assists for Becks, on tap.
You know, Robbie Keane is starting to turn into the Fernando Torres of the LA Galaxy—a high-profile athlete who is paid high amounts of money but not finishing his chances like he is supposed to. Keane ends his scoring drought on Saturday with two goals from Beckham.
Now, if only he can avoid flailing his arms and hoping for a call to come in his direction.
The Galaxy's team captain, Landon Donovan, was left playing with a ragtag team of virgin Boy Scouts on Wednesday night in the Pacific Northwest. This time, he gets to play with a more competent core of footballers.
I like Keane to deliver a good through ball to Donovan, allowing him to finish off the chance in his trademark style. No post, no crossbar, no miss. Just all net. He had it rough against FC Dallas. Not this time against New York.
Dane Richards has had a habit of scoring on the Galaxy, and I like Richards' chances of Jamaican the Galaxy back line crazy in the second half off a sequence orchestrated by Jan Gunnar Solli, Dax McCarty, Joel Lindpere and Cooper. The goal, however, will be consolation, as we will see later in this slideshow.
New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara and Los Angeles netminder Bill Gaudette aren't your high-profile shot-stoppers. This isn't Iker Casillas vs. Victor Valdes. But it is a test of goalkeeping ability that will be a focal point of the contest.
I am setting the over/under on saves made combined to 10, and I am taking the over. Mind the firing squads, both of you.
More chippiness and physical play are expected in a league like Major League Soccer. The midfielders are going to bear the brunt of the physicality, and both teams will draw over 25 fouls and three yellow cards combined. As with any match, a red card is a bonus.
The first 45 minutes of the contest will be tense, defensive, wide-open football on both ends. As mentioned before, Meara and Gaudette will be facing firing squads and will give up one shot each to make the score 1-1. Henry scores in the first 10 minutes, and LA equalizes late thanks to an unexpected source: Mike Magee.
I suppose Bruce Arena was saving his big guns for this important match, and that's understandable. Because of this, fans should look for the Galaxy to win in emphatic fashion over New York. It gives new meaning the the phrase "Save The Best For Last."
Los Angeles Galaxy 4, Red Bull New York 2