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Opposition Report: Los Angeles Galaxy

Los Angeles should provide a stern test for our shaky expansion team.  The Galaxy have opened the season undefeated with 4 wins and a draw in their first 5 games.  After knocking off Salt Lake City, Houston, Chivas, and New England, the Galaxy were held to a goalless draw by Kansas City last weekend.  Widely regarded as the best team in the league, LA will look to control the game from the start and should see a lot of the ball.  Last year was a minor disappointment as LA lost in the MLS Cup to Real Salt Lake on PKs after winning the Western Conference in the regular season and finishing 2nd in the league by 1 point.  They are looking assured this campaign and seem to be on their way to a 3rd MLS Cup.

Players Brought In: The Galaxy’s biggest off season acquisition was bringing back Clint Mathis, who played with the team until 2000 before stints in New York, Salt Lake (twice), and Colorado, along with some time spent in Greece and Germany.   LA also grabbed three Brazilan youngsters on loan from São Paulo FC with defenders Alex Cazumba and Leonardo and midfielder Juninho.  The youngsters are playing well so far, but much is expected of the trio with São Paulo considered a top Brazilian side.

Players Departed: The Galaxy stayed largely intact after 2009.  Midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi was taken by Philadelphia in the expansion draft.  Miglioranzi played in 23 games last year and will look to put in a good performance against his former mates.  And while not departed (officially), LA does have some English bloke whose name I can’t recall out for the rest of the season through injury.

What to Look For and Who To Watch: Edson Buddle.  With 7 goals in 4 games to start the season, he is rumored to be in contention for a spot on the national team.  Buddle will be joined up top by heavily decorated American international Landon Donovan.  Look for Buddle to sit a little higher to allow Donovan space to make his trademark surging runs forward. Youngsters Michael Stephens and Juninho are creative in the midfield and will be joined by T&T international Chris Birchall and Mike Magee who should attack on the flanks.  Donovan Rickettes was a hero in the goalless draw with Kansas City and is stalwart in the net.  2009 Rookie of the Year Omar Gonzalez is solid in the center and Todd Dunivant, A.J. De La Garza, and Gregg Berhalter make up one of the best defenses in the league.  If there is a weakness in the Galaxy, it is the two young midfielders.  But they have both stepped into their rolls with ease early in the season.  Philadelphia must try to expose them with improved play from Fred and Roger Torres.  LA will want the ball and want to move it through the midfield and find Donovan and Buddle, who given their chances, will score goals.  If the team is not improved from Tuesday’s showing, it could be a long night against one of MLS’s top clubs.

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