Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy ran out of gas last Saturday in their scoreless draw with D.C. United. This Saturday, they have to put up with another team that they have been unable to produce goals against: Toronto FC.
For the past three straight matches, Toronto and Los Angeles have played to scoreless draw. At some point in this series, there has to be a ball that goes past the end line.
277 minutes without a goal. Whew. That is an eternity readers. With a capital E. The Home Depot Center, which will be a few days removed from the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup party van stopping by, is due for some scoring.
One man that can get this job done for Los Angeles is the interim captain for the month of June: the one, the only...David Beckham.
Beckham leads the team with seven assists and will be calling upon the power of the set piece slot machine to look for the payout in the form of potential scorers like former TFC forward Chad Barrett, who has three goals this season, and Juninho, who has two goals to his name.
Other players like Miguel Lopez, Mike Magee and Omar Gonzalez could pay a role in capitalizing off the deliveries. Lopez, Magee and Gonzalez have all recorded a goal each this season.
Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. Passing, defending, creating chances in the attacking third and marking are the facets of the game that will stop Toronto FC, as well as consistent goalkeeping from Josh Saunders.
Saunders currently has a 2-1-2 record, a 73.7 percent save percentage and a 1.20 goals against average.
The back line of Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin and Todd Dunivant have been successful at breaking up opposing teams' possessions and have secured a string of shutouts. Don't be surprised if there is another one on the cards come Saturday.
Toronto FC has one capable producer itching for a breakout performance: Maicon Santos, who has five goals this season.
Other important scorers include Alan Gordon, Javier Martina and Joao Plata, who have recorded two goals each.
Plata, in particular, is a player for Toronto that Los Angeles needs to neutralize. In addition to his two goals, he is tied with Danleigh Borman and Nick Soolsma in assists with two. This is TFC's star of the future, and it will be interesting to see what the Ecuadorian international does with the ball at his feet.
Defender Adrian Cann tore his ACL last week during training, meaning that the likes of Borman and Nana Attakora will need to be ready to neutralize Beckham directing the Galaxy offense.
Stefan Frei has done his part frustrating the opposition, and is a goalkeeper looking to earning another shutout against Los Angeles. The Swiss international owns, however, a dismal 2-5-7 record to go with a 68.9 percent save percentage and a 1.64 GAA.
It's up to Barrett to find space and slip one past Frei because he has not hit his stride the past few matches. Beckham will be picking out Barrett and Lopez when delivering the long ball forward.
We've seen scoreless draws from Toronto and Los Angeles, and the fans are not going to be happy when they leave the Home Depot Center. Could be worse, but it will be another scoreless draw because Frei and the defenders have carried the visitors to the finish line.
Los Angeles Galaxy 0, Toronto FC 0
Kickoff is scheduled for June 11 at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
INS AND OUTS:
Youth Academy Update
The Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy Under-16s and Under-18s wrapped up their home campaigns this past weekend.
On Saturday, the Galaxy Academy took on Nomads SC of San Diego at the Home Depot Center. The Under-18s lost, 3-2. Goal scorers for the Under-18s match were not available as this article went to press.
The Under-16s were more fortunate, as they destroyed Nomads 4-0. William Raygoza scored in the 24th minute, Drew Murphy made it 2-0 in the 31st, Sebastian Velasquez made it 3-0 ion the 40th and Joseph Barakat wrapped up the scoring in the 80th minute of play.
On Sunday, the Galaxy Under-16s and Under-18s took on the San Diego Surf. Results were not available as this article went to press but will be available on the next update.
The Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy closes out its 2010-11 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season with a pair of road contests.
On Saturday, June 11, the LA Galaxy Academy take on Real So Cal at Calabasas High School in Calabasas, California. Kickoff for the Under-18s is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT/6:00 p.m. ET while the Under-16s kickoff at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET.
The Young G's ride off into the sunset (pending qualification for playoffs) when they take on the New York Cosmos Academy West at Pasadena High School in Pasadena, CA on Sunday, June 12. Kickoff for the Under-18s is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET while the Under-16s kickoff at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET.