CARSON, CA - JULY 20: Sean Franklin #5 of the Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates his goal with David Beckham #23 against the Columbus Crew at The Home Depot Center on July 20, 2011 in Carson, California. The Galaxy won 1-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew meet as the top of their respective conferences. However, the Crew are tied with Colorado Rapids in the point column, tied for fifth in MLS. Hardly a top of the table clash. When the Galaxy and Crew square off at Crew Stadium, it'll stand as evidence of just how bad the East has been this year.
It's not the case that the Crew are hot now, either. Colombus is 1-1-3 in their last five matches, riding a four game winless streak. Sporting Kansas City has pulled even with the Crew in the Eastern Conference standings. Kansas City, who opened the year with ten straight road games and a nine match winless streak.
The Galaxy come in as the only team to secure a post-season spot, and with just three teams still mathematically in the Supporter's Shield rae. The team is coming off a 3-0 win at home against Vancouver. Meanwhile, Columbus is coming off a 1-0 loss in Philadelphia last week.
This is a must win game for the Galaxy, not because of any mathematics, but because it's a game the team should win. This is the kind of match where the Galaxy will have plenty of excuses if they don't get three points: no David Beckham, tired from all the travel, a loss at midweek. The last thing the Galaxy want to become, especially at this point in the season, is a team that makes excuses.
"We will be experiencing full weeks for a little bit now. I like the attitude of our players and hopefully we can try
to keep a couple of them fresh as we move forward." -Bruce Arena
In the first meeting between these two clubs this season, Sean Franklin scored the lone goal to give the Galaxy the win. When the Galaxy won 2-0 in May of last year, it was just their second win at Crew Stadium. The first didn't come until 2007, after losing not only regular season matches, but a US Open Cup final and a MLS Cup final.
Bottom line, the Galaxy are in a position to finish the season out as a very special team; one of the best in MLS history. After three years under Bruce Arena, the defensive line has become a dominate force, they've cultivated a true trio of stars, and the results have spoken for themselves. A win tonight, and the Galaxy will break 60 points. Outstanding.