The Los Angeles Galaxy will head to CommunityAmerica Ballpark with the same goal as their last four missions in the 2010 Major League Soccer season, do just enough to earn another trio of points.
But with Sean Franklin suffering a sprained left ankle in LA's 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake, the depth will be facing a stern test in the Kansas City Wizards.
Needless to say, head coach Bruce Arena was quite pleased with the depth of talent still fresh, healthy and at his disposal.
"In the last year-and-a-half or two years, this is the best group we've had," Arena said after the match. "Having the depth we have and the confidence in each other allowed us to perform well to date."
Landon Donovan also touted the power of the team's depth. "We pride ourselves on our depth," he said last Saturday. "We’ve had a lot of injuries—a lot of injuries to veteran players. So, we don’t have a lot of leadership on the field right now and guys are stepping in, kind of learning on the run, and doing a great job.”
One of those players stepping up is Bryan Jordan, who played at an unfamiliar position,right back, for his season debut.
"It wasn't too bad, actually," Jordan said during training on Tuesday. "It got my confidence up. I'm sad because my buddy Sean went down with an injury, but Bruce (Arena) has the confidence in me to get me in there at right back. I felt good out there."
Left back Todd Dunivant also knew the nature of the beast. "That's what you have to have on good teams," Dunivant said during training. "When guys go down somebody is able to step up. You've seen that already this year with us. Sean going down, Gregg (Berhalter) going down, Dema (Kovalenko) going down ...It's part of the game."
"There are going to be injuries and you've got to have guys that can step up for us. Bryan did a great job. That's another player Bruce has seen as being a versatile guy. He can play in midfield, up front or right back...He's that much more valuable to our team now."
Kansas City is second in the MLS Eastern Conference (2-1-0, 6 pts), and is led by Sierra Leone international Kei Kamara, who leads the team with two goals so far. Defensively, KC has also surrendered one goal three matches into their 2010 MLS campaign.
Peter Vermes's Wizards are on a two-game losing streak, having crashed out of the US Open Cup to go with a 1-0 loss to Seattle.
A key player to watch out for on Saturday is midfielder Ryan Smith. A young veteran who has pleyed for English clubs such as Arsenal, Millwall, and Crystal Palace, Smith already has a goal and two assists under his belt, and will be a target for the Galaxy defense.
Striker Josh Wolff is dangerous at his new position in the middle of the Wizards' attacking front, and will be another player to watch for the home side on Saturday.
Edson Buddle's scoring form should culminate in at least one going through. The Wizards will be winning half the battle if they neutralize his touches and open space in their own third. Buddle squandered a number of chances to add to his brace, and this time, he may have a chance to get a hat trick if they don't get two or three defenders in the box to stop him. At some point, though, someone else will be opening his account. The only question is, who will it be?
Los Angeles Galaxy 3, Kansas City Wizards 1
Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised locally by Fox Sports West and KCWE 29 in Kansas City.