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Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Game time: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

TV: The Comcast Network

Peter Nowak (and David Beckham) won’t show up for Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Will Carlos Ruiz?

The Union manager will be in Poland playing in an exhibition match, and with a mid-week match sandwiched between two weekenders, you could see some regulars rested. Ruiz has started every game this season, but so too have a few others. Sebastien Le Toux, Sheanon Williams and Carlos Valdes have combined played all but 17 minutes between them this season, so don’t be surprised to see one get some pine time. With the offense’s struggles and the defense’s stalwartness, it’s your guess as to who John Hackworth (Nowak’s proxy) will put into the lineup.

The Union (4-2-1) have scored just five goals in seven games and are ranked dead last in the league in nearly every offensive category. While Ruiz leads the team with two goals scored, he has drawn criticism (particularly here at PSP) for his lack of movement and hustle in the middle of the field, which some say has contributed to the marginalization of Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga up top. Neither has scored in the run of play this season after combining for 21 goals in 2010. The lone bright spot on the attack this season has been Keon Daniel, who will probably return to the lineup after getting Friday off against Portland.

Meanwhile, the defense has been so good that goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon has only had to make 12 saves through seven games. Starters Danny Califf and Jordan Harvey should be back after missing the Portland game, and the Farfan twins have shown the Union have a lot more defensive depth than originally thought.

The Galaxy (4-2-4) come into town fresh off a well-played draw against the New York Red Bulls. They sit atop the table in the Western Conference, but they’ve played four more games than Real Salt Lake, so that’s probably just temporary. David Beckham, who hasn’t made the trip to Philadelphia because, in the words of Landon Donovan, “you can’t expect someone his age to play three games in a week,” has played well since being moved to a central position, where his vision has helped him assist on five goals this season. The midfield will lean more heavily on Donovan, who has four goals in six games. Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Angel has struggled with just one goal through 10 matches. The real unsung figure on this team is Juninho, the playmaker in the center who makes things happen for the Galaxy. Behind him, the defense is three-quarters solid, anchored by Omar Gonzalez in the center, but they don’t have a legitimate second center back in Gregg Berhalter’s absence. A.J. DeLaGarza is a good fullback who’s simply too small for the center, but with the Union lacking a big aerial presence at striker, that weakness may be negated. The Galaxy have won all three previous matches, including their meeting earlier this year in Carson, Cal.

Probable starters


Goalkeeper: Faryd Mondragon

Defenders: Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams

Midfielders: Keon Daniel, Amobi Okugo, Brian Carroll

Forwards: Carlos Ruiz, Danny Mwanga, Sebastien Le Toux

Los Angeles

Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts

Defenders: Todd Dunivant, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Sean Franklin

Midfielders: Mike Magee, Juninho, Chris Birchall, Landon Donovan

Forwards: Juan Pablo Angel, Chad Barrett

Injuries and suspensions

Philadelphia: OUT: GK Thorne Holder (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain).

Los Angeles: OUT: DF Sean Alvarado (R knee ACL tear), DF Leonardo (Rknee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee MCL sprain);FW Adam Cristman (L knee surgery); MF Miguel Lopez (L knee contusion)


The Galaxy win 1-0. Without changes in the attack, the Union simply don’t offer much going forward. The Galaxy at least know how to find the net. If Ruiz sits, you can revise this prediction.


  1. C’mon the U!!! That being said. The Galaxy are more lethal without Beckham. 2-0 Galaxay, goal each half, one late while U chase game. I hope Im wrong. I’ll see y’all there!!!
    Williams Valdez Califf Harvey
    Daniel Carroll Migs Le Toux
    Mwanga Ruiz

  2. Hate to say it but I’m hoping for a 0-0 draw. Beckham’s absence should prove helpful in defending set pieces as his service there has proven lethal against the Union. Unless Hackworth has some radical changes in store while Nowak is away, I just don’t see where the Union will generate any pressure moving forward.

  3. Union’s lack of offense is a product of their on-field attitude. The players on the pitch have to think more aggressively if they want to score goals. They haven’t learned how to balance defensive responsibility with offensive explosiveness. I hope tonight is a step in the right direction.

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