The Los Angeles Galaxy are a group of in-form footballers that have been chosen to accept a new mission this Saturday. On the Northwest Leg of the Revenge Tour (cue the corny strains of "Also Sprach Zarathustra"), they are on a quest to conquer Qwest Field in an afternoon battle with the Seattle Sounders Football Club.
With 19 points and a 6-0-1 record to start the year, Bruce Arena's men look to consolidate their hold on the 2010 Major League Soccer Western Conference and overall MLS standings against a Sounders side sitting fifth and sixth in the West and the league respectively.
Last year, Los Angeles managed a 1-1 draw with Seattle before suffering a 2-0 at the Home Depot Center later in the season. Sigi Schmid's club will have a tall task in stopping two threats: 1. Edson Buddle, and 2. anyone NOT NAMED Edson Buddle.
While Buddle leads the league with nine goals, other players like A.J. De La Garza and Alan Gordon have also rose to the challenge of taking the slack for the Galaxy's No. 14. A good deal of the credit goes to Landon Donovan. Leading the league in assists with six, LA's captain has embraced his role calling the shots rather than making them.
Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant was quick to point out the team's tenacity.
“It speaks to our professionalism,” Dunivant said in an interview with MLSSoccer.com earlier this week. “That’s kind of what these games are all about.
"We had a short turnaround and playing on the road, and it comes down to your mentality and whether the guys are ready. We have a lot of confidence right now.”
Zakuani leads the Sounders with three goals, while Montero's reliability has resulted in two goals and three assists on 23 shots thus far in the campaign.
Goalkeeper Kasey Keller has made 15 saves on a 1.08 goals against average and will face his sternest test yet. Look for Tyrone Marshall and Osvaldo Alonso to play a huge role this match.
The last couples of matches I was right on the money with the winning margin, but not the final score. Peculiar little factoid. Today, I expect the Sounders to give the Galaxy a test.
Watch for Los Angeles to score another breakthrough win and hush the masses clad in Rave Green. Montero and Zakuani will get at least one, but so will Buddle. Still waiting for Landon to open his account with a spot kick...
Los Angeles Galaxy 3, Seattle Sounders FC 2
Ins and Outs
Sueño MLS 2010. Who's Next?
Fifteen young, promising footballers became finalists in the 2010 edition of Sueño MLS, the quest for the next major professional soccer player. It's a search for a diamond in the rough among these young men.
“We take into consideration that this is not a team,” said Alfonso Modelo, the league technical director and a former MLS coach. “They are meeting each other for the first time. Plus, most of them are not playing at a top level or a top club. Some of them are not used to hard training sessions. So this is all new.
“But they have talent. Now they must try to make the right decisions. Do they anticipate? Do they read the game well? Will they improve? That’s what we’re looking for.
“I haven’t seen anyone stand out yet. But they are young. They all have good feet. And the talent level is pretty good.”
It is, and it's only a matter of time before the diamond in the rough is revealed. These are the finalists competing to follow in the footsteps of Chivas USA's Jorge Flores and River Plate regular Gabriel Funes.
Nelson Castro, defender, 14 – Houston, TX
Juan Contreras, midfielder, 16 – Dickinson, TX
Eric Martinez, forward, 15 – Houston, TX
Marco Ortiz, midfielder, 15 – Crowley, TX
Lorenzo Salazar, midfielder, 15 – Houston, TX
Oscar Barraza, midfielder, 16 – Elgin, IL
Juan Celleri, forward, 15 – Chicago, IL
Vicente Jaramillo, forward, 16 – Detroit, MI
Erick Jimenez, defender, 15 – Chicago, IL
Miguel Moncada, forward, 18 – Jackson, TN
Denis Alvarado, midfielder, 16 – Fairfield, CA
Javier Castro, forward, 18 – Pomona, CA
Victor Jimenez, forward, 16 – Anaheim, CA
Jonathan Navas, midfielder, 18 – Los Angeles, CA
Oscar Velazquez, defender, 14 – Las Vegas, NV
Not only will the finalists go through training sessions this week, but they will take on the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA U-16 sides and attend the match between Chivas USA and Houston Dynamo. Good luck, gentlemen.