LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Everton fans show their support for the return of Landon Donovan to the club on loan from LA Galaxy with the stars and stipes during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Bolton Wanderers at Goodison Park on January 4, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Now that we've all had a chance to peruse the 2012 MLS schedule, it's time to take a deeper look at the LA Galaxy schedule and more specifically when the Galaxy might potentially be without players. The biggest concerns are Landon Donovan (and possibly Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza) with the US national team in World Cup qualifying, David Beckham on the English Olympic team, and Robbie Keane leaving for the 2012 Euro Tournament.
The four international match days next year are: 1-5 of June, 8-12 of June, 7-11 of September, and 12-16 of October. The Galaxy have no matches scheduled on those weekends, and the US National Team will be in World Cup Qualifying, third round action on three of those four weekends.
The Olympic Tournament for the men will run from the 26 of July to the 11 of August. The Galaxy have two matches scheduled in that time period, and one on the 12 of August, so it's likely they would be without David Beckham (if he re-signs), Michael Stephens, or both of them. Remember, Stephens got called up for the U-23 US team camp.
The 2012 Euro Tournament will take place from the 8th of June to 1st of July. So, cross out Robbie Keane from the entire month of June, a total of four matches. Losing Keane for a month is unfortunate, but there's not much the MLS schedule can do about a tournament outside USSF's territory.
The positive sign in this schedule is taking breaks for international dates. The LA Galaxy playing a game ending minutes before the Gold Cup final last year was just silly. As one of MLS's initial goals was to boost the US National Team, giving them a place to play at a high level domestically, accommodating FIFA four weekends out of the year should be a priority.
However, the flip side of this is MLS Cup won't be held until Dec 1st. If, say, Toronto FC were to finish with the top point total, that could present a problem. However, that bridge can be crossed when the time comes.
I said earlier, the Galaxy's longest road trip is from July 28th to August 15th, but that's actually terribly misleading. The third game of that "road trip" is at the Home Depot Center against Chivas USA. However, the Galaxy still have to travel to Columbus for a weekday game after that "road" game against Chivas, so by now means is that stretch of the schedule easy.
The Galaxy will not play a game in the original 13 colonies this year, as the New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, and Philadelphia Union all come to Los Angeles. They had two trips to the Rust Belt (Columbus, Chicago), two trips to Texas (Houston, Dallas), and two trips to Canada (Vancouver, Montreal).
The Galaxy have two road games to Chivas, but also make two trips to Colorado, San Jose, and Seattle. Kansas City is the only East city not yet mentioned the Galaxy will travel to, every West city not mentioned will host the Galaxy once (Portland, Salt Lake)
All in all, it's a fair schedule. The Galaxy don't visit a cold weather city until May, although that does mean Chicago in July with kickoff at noon. The Galaxy have five Sunday home dates, four which will kickoff at 4pm, and the season finale at 6pm. The two Wednesday matches kick off at 7:30.
The Galaxy only have one home match in August, with three in September and March - the March three as part of a three game homestand to begin the season. The three in September are part of a four game homestand that stretch back to the last week of August.