It is safe to say that Landon Donovan and David Beckham of Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy will be rested for Saturday's friendly with Real Madrid CF as they take on the Seattle Sounders in the 2011 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.
Last year, the Galaxy lost to the Sounders at the Starfire Sports Complex 2-0 thanks to a Nate Jaqua brace in the 50th and 62nd minutes of play.
A whole 371 days after the first encounter in Tukwila, both teams return to Starfire, with the Galaxy hoping to exact some payback after their dismal exit from the tournament.
Both the Galaxy and Sounders advanced to the quarters after 2-1 victories over their respective opponents.
Seattle's Michael Fucito scored a brace in the 39th and 62nd minutes to pace the Sounders to a 2-1 victory over the Kitsap Pumas. Goals from Omar Gonzalez in the 75th minute and Mike Magee in the 81st minute of play propelled the Galaxy to a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Blues at Titan Stadium on the campus of California State University, Fullerton.
One major strength of the Galaxy side that could start on Wednesday is at goalkeeper. Brian Perk, the current backup goalkeeper to current starter Josh Saunders, was solid in the scoreless draw with Seattle in league play and will hope to reprise his efforts in Tukwila.
The health of players like Mike Magee and Omar Gonzalez will be critical to LA's chances at payback. Magee was unable to start on Saturday against the Chicago Fire due to injury, and Omar Gonzalez played through pain in the Galaxy's 2-1 win.
Paolo Cardozo started against Chicago on Saturday, while Adam Cristman, Michael Stephens and Miguel Lopez came off the bench. All four could be starting on Wednesday.
If this is the case, this Open Cup quarterfinal could be a golden opportunity to watch the chemistry of Cardozo and Lopez at work. Juninho needs to step up his game in the midfield if the Galaxy want to open up the match early in the first half.
With Fucito becoming a legit scoring threat, he will be a focus of the backline which could see Bryan Jordan fall in with Gregg Berhalter, Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant.
As with the third-round match with the LA Blues, Arena's choice of players will be crucial to the outcome. The Sounders are obviously not the Blues, and the reserves are admittingly capable of crushing the Blues first team.
Expect a blend of Galaxy reserves and starters coming out onto the Starfire pitch in what should be a wide-open quarterfinal against Seattle, with plenty of free flowing football and a high tempo.
These are the types of matches that can go 1-0 to either team. The Galaxy should be able to come into the Real Madrid friendly with a full head of confidence. They're due for payback.
Los Angeles Galaxy 1, Seattle Sounders 0
Kickoff is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13 at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET. An audio feed will be available on LAGalaxy.com and a video feed will be available on SoundersFC.com.
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