T-180 minutes to kickoff: So, when the bloody heck will this Los Angeles Galaxy side kick the nasty, amateurish habit of letting their opponents score first? Will it be somewhere down the road for the remainder of the season? Will it be today at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois against Carlos De Los Cobos's Chicago Fire? Can Bruce Arena save his skins after a pathetic two months of play? Can Los Angeles' Landon Donovan play his key role at the main provider well?
T-150: Brian McBride will be calling it quits this season. One less has-been to worry about by season's end.
I originally wanted to go to the races at Del Mar to watch a ZZ Top concert. I'm sacrificing that because of this game. Personally, I'm none too enthused about this, but a Galaxy beat writer's gotta do what a Galaxy beat writer's gotta do, I guess.
T-120: Two hours to kickoff. There are some other games going on here in the wild and wacky world of Major League Soccer. Philadelphia Union takes on Kansas City Wizards, D.C. United and the Columbus Crew clash heads, New England Revolution takes on Seattle, FC Dallas faces Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake has a pivotal contest on hand against the New York Red Bulls.
T-90: In other action, Morelia defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 to win the SuperLiga. Way to go, guys...in an international friendly, the Union downed Chivas Guadalajara (the REAL Chivas) 1-0, while the more inferior American offshoots known as Chivas USA fell to Seattle 3-1 earlier this.
Tomorrow, the Houston Dynamo take on the San Jose Earthquakes.
Manager: Bruce Arena
Formation: 4-4-2 Diamond
Colors: White tops with blue accents, white shorts, white socks
1 Donovan Ricketts
28 Sean Franklin ---- 4 Omar Gonzalez ---- 22 Leonardo ---- 2 Todd Dunivant
22 Dema Kovalenko
17 Tristan Bowen ---- 88 Alex Cazumba
9 Jovan Kirovski
10 Landon Donovan (C) ---- 14 Edson Buddle
12 Josh Saunders GK
20 A.J. De La Garza DEF
27 Bryan Jordan DEF
6 Eddie Lewis MID
7 Chris Klein MID
8 Dema Kovalenko MI
26 Michael Stephens MID
Manager: Carlos De Los Cobos
Colors: Red tops with white accents and horizontal stripe, red shorts, red socks
25 Sean Johnson
28 Steven Kinney ---- 2 C.J. Brown ---- 22 Wilman Conde ---- 31 Gonzalo Segares
14 Patrick Nyarko ---- 11 John Thorrington ---- 12 Logan Pause ---- 10 Mike Banner ---- 10 Nery Castillo
20 Brian McBride (C)
40 Andrew Dykstra GK
4 Kwame Watson-Siriboe DEF
23 Krzysztof Krol DEF
19 Corben Bone MID
3 Calen Carr FWD
9 Baggio Husidic FWD
15 Collins John FWD
FIRST HALF START: 1:06 P.M. PT
1' - We're underway. Will the funk end, or will the slump continue? Stay tuned.
Chicago retreats, and here is Donovan Ricketts, setting up the next sequence. Our match official today is Mark Geiger.
2' - Nery Castillo gets his first look at the Galaxy. Will he deliver for the home side?
Corner for the Fire. Take two. Both are cleared
3' - I am impressed early by the Fire's possession. What is with these extra balls on the pitch?
4' - Oh, those are just balloons. John THorrington with the mark. Tristan Bowen with the look.
5' - Todd Dunivant, marked by Patrick Nyarko. Excellent pace.
6' - Goalkeeper Sean Johnson is only 21, but he is playing like a veteran.
7' - Alex Cazumba's shot misses wide left. Landon Donovan providing.
8' - Next week, Juninho will be available against the Columbus Crew. Scoreless early, and here come the Fire.
9' - Good save from Donovan Ricketts. First big one of the afternoon from the Big Cat from Montego Bay.
10' - Geiger running a tight ship. Offsides LA.
11' - Three fouls to Chicago's one already...hmmm. Defensive mentality and the counter...a sound game plan.
12' - More debris falling on to the pitch. Good work from the midfielders of Chicago. Too far for Gonzalo Segares.
13' - LA stretches the field in their next sequence. Tristan Bowen with the throw-in.
14' - Corner number one for Landon Donovan. Sean Franklin couldn't get to that one right. Goal kick, Sean Johnson.
15' - Edson Buddle's header just over the crossbar.
16' - Ha, at least they aren't getting blown apart early. Sixteen minutes in, and we are still scoreless.
17' - Good field stretching. Long ball to Edson Buddle leaves much to be desired.
18' - Donovan with the handball.
19' - Corner for the Chicago Fire. Nery Castillo to take. Side netting. Sloppiness inside the six-yard box.
20' - Frankling with the throw-in. Another one.
21' - Red card 31 Gonzalo Segares
Ouch. The Fire are on the make after Segares laid the elbow on Leonardo.
23' - Penalty time. Unbelievable. Sean Johnson saves it. Shot for Edson Buddle hits side netting. This has to be the lack of form that has been plaguing the Los Angeles Galaxy this year. Unacceptable.
24' - Johnson bails Segares out for now. Terrible, terrible penalty.
25' - 25 minutes in, and would you believe this: it's still scoreless.
26' - Attempt by the Fire's John Thorrington sails over the crossbar.
27' - Great ball movement from the G's.
28' - Well, someone's gonna have to provide.
29' - What were Donovan and Buddle doing? What stupidity! Fisticuffs now. And this is what frustrates me about this team. You gotta pull the trigger. This isn't a team of mummies you're facing, you know.
30' - Dema Kovalenko laying the law. The South Side of Chicago...always a tough part of town.
31' - Donovan Ricketts resets the sequence.
32' - Back come the Fire, but they are called back due to offsides.
33' - The midfielders for Chicago dispossessed that ball in textbook fashion, and here they go.
34' - Brian McBride whiffed at that shot. Goal kick Ricketts.
35' - Tristan Bowen had a small window to pass that ball to. Goal kick, Johnson.
36' - Terrible passing by Bowen to Kirovski. Tristan will need to work on his communication.
37' - He's gotta work on his touches. This is simply unacceptable touch from Bowen.
38' - Wilman Conde with the sweep for Chicago. LA needs to stop playing direct football. It's not going to work against this team.
39' - Donovan with the blown header from Alex Cazumba. And the show of horror continues. Wow. What's happened to this guy?
40' - 40 minutes in, and it's still scoreless. We should see better football in the second half.
41' - Goal kick, Ricketts.
42' - Sean Johnson with the save off the cross.
43' - Back come the Fire. And now it's Steven Kinney. Too long from Logan Pause. Goal kick, Donovan Ricketts.
44' - Alex Cazumba unable to keep the ball inbounds.
45' - We shall find out very soon how many minutes of stoppage time we will get. Wilman Conde with some excellent marking.
The fourth official calls for one minute. This should go by quickly.
45' + 1' - It's halftime.
Los Angeles Galaxy 0
Chicago Fire 0
SECOND HALF START: 2:08 P.M. PT
46' - Here comes the second half...
47' - Johnson with the goal kick. Now here's a free kick for Chicago.
48' - Wilman Conde could not get that to go through.
49' - Ball possession war, and Johnson provides for the next Fire offensive sequence.
50' - What was Dema Kovalenko thinking with that shot?
51' - Soft shot from Tristan Bowen to Sean Johnson. Easy save. Nobody pushing forward.
52' - These are some unimaginative shots from Los Angeles. Edson Buddle with the miss. Sooner or later, Chicago's gotta make them pay for this.
53' - Yellow card 22 Leonardo
Los Angeles Galaxy
Ricketts with a good save off the free kick. And here's a corner. Another save for the record.
54' - McBride's gonna rue that blown chance.
55' - Too long a pass for Buddle. Here's Mike Banner with the throw-in for Chicago. Mike Magee now warming up. Uh oh.
56' - Not a good shot from Steven Kinney. Goal kick Ricketts.
57' - Crowded house in the Galaxy attacking third equals no dice. Another goal kick for Sean Johnson.
58' - We are 58 minutes in, and it's still scoreless.
59' - Jovan Kirovski should have done better. Goal kick Johnson.
60' - Now it's Brian McBride. Patrick Nyarko whiffed at that one.
61' - I don't know what Alex Cazumba is doing. He needs to get more air in his volleys.
62' - Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 27 Bryan Jordan
OUT 17 Tristan Bowen
Free kick goes south. Goal kick, Donovan Ricketts.
63' - Yellow card 12 Logan Pause
And Dema Kovalenko is hurt. He gets back on his feet but is limping.
64' - Free kick, and Sean Johnson with the save. If you're gonna be brash, you'd better back it up. So far, Johnson is doing just that.
65' - There's another save from Johnson. It's the Sean Johnson Show, live from Toyota Park.
66' - Back come the Fire with the free kick. Stopped. Ricketts calls for the ball, and the G's reset.
68' - This Wilman Conde is a beast in defense. Now that was a touch by Johnson, but Mark Geiger chooses to play advantage and make that a goal kick. Do I smell bias here?
69' - This is the positional minute. Scoreless.
Substitution Chicago Fire
IN 3 Calen Carr
OUT 10 Nery Castillo
70' - Foul on Leonardo for the push. Free kick to the Fire. Conde will rue that missed chance. Goal kick Ricketts.
71' - So if the G's hold the Fire to a scoreless draw, I think September for LA will begin with the team relinquishing top-of-the-ladder honors
72' - Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 6 Eddie Lewis
OUT 88 Alex Cazumba
73' - Here is a corner for Donovan. Landon Donova, that is. Cleared for a throw-in. See, this side continues to lack imagination in their looks, This is too easy for Sean Johnson.
74' - This LA side needs to come up with something different, or else this will be a scoreless draw or a 1-0 loss. They have to do something unique.
75' - Geiger plays advantage, to the chagrin of the Chicago faithful.
76' - Goal kick for Johnson. Goal kick for Ricketts. This is end-to-end action.
77' - Mike Banner has done his part.
Substitution Chicago Fire
IN 23 Krzysztof Krol
OUT 20 Brian MCBride
78' - Another save for Chicago's Sean Johnson. The workhorse of the South Side.
79' - Why....M. C. A. Goal kick Johnson. Broken record?
80' - Edson Buddle with the foul.
81' - Banner again earning his stripes. This may end up becoming a draw until crunch time falls into place.
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 18 Mike Magee
OUT 2 Todd Dunivant
Substitution Chicago Fire
IN 15 Collins John
OUT 14 Patrick Nyarko
83' - There are some folks who made the trip from the City of Angels.
84' - We are 84 minutes into the contest. It's still scoreless. Kansas City and Philadelphia played to a 1-1 draw.
85' - Bryan Jordan is marked. Collins John meets his maker. And the Galaxy offense is still stagnant.
86' - I am aghast at Eddie Lewis's bad touch. Goal kick Johnson.
87' - Yellow card 4 Omar Gonzalez
Los Angeles Galaxy
Rash challenge on John Thorrington. Here is where Donovan Ricketts needs to prove himself. Sean Johnson has been doing much of the keeping so far.
GOAL! Chicago Fire 15 Collins John
The slump continues. Donovan Ricketts, I hate to say this but simply put...you are pathetic.
88' - Yellow card Collins John
Thanks for rubbing it in, sucker.
90' - Corner is cleared. Here is another. Three minutes of stoppage time.
90' + 1' - GOAL! Los Angeles Galaxy 4 Omar Gonzalez
Way to redeem yourself. Second of the season for Omar.
90' + 2' - Corner for the Galaxy. And Sean Franklin should have done better.
90' + 3' - At least our scoring drought is over. Bloody hell.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1
Omar Gonzalez 90 + 1'
CHICAGO FIRE 1
Collins John 87'
Ugh. What garbage is coming from this team? At least my prediction was right.
Now stay tuned for my take on this match on the View From Victoria Street and on Bleacher Report.