The LA Galaxy are all set to take on the New England Revolution on Saturday. With not much to discuss re: the bye weekend (other than any vacations taken during), we turn our eyes directly to the match ahead. With the Galaxy showing improvement in the match against DC United, this seems to be a must win situation to keep the momentum going.
Luckily the Galaxy have been given an opponent that hasn't won in the Pacific or Mountain time zone since 2009. I'm going to mention that statistic as often as I can because it amuses me so much. If the Revs have to set their watches back more than an hour, they implode and turn into a team prepared to play foursquare and surprised to find a soccer match.
To help us preview the match, we've asked some questions of SB Nation's New England Revolution blogger Steve Stoehr who lives over at The Bent Musket (not literally, this isn't Tron). So let's see what he has to say about his club. To check out my answers about the Galaxy, you'll have to head over to The Bent Musket later today:
1) The Revs haven't won west of the Mississippi since 2009. Given that other East coast teams face the same travel constraints, and New England hasn't been a total bottom dweller over the last two seasons, how do you explain that stat? Do you think this might be the year y'all finally win one out where the rivers flow to the Pacific?
1.) Honestly, I think you're a little off when you say the Revs haven't been bottom-dwellers since their last West Coast win. In 2009, a stingy defense allowed New England to overachieve; in 2010 they weren't good at all. Last year, the Revs were downright atrocious. Meanwhile, the Western Conference has been getting exponentially better when compared to the East, so I think what we're seeing is a decaying franchise in a weak conference getting bullied and beaten by newer or more progressive franchises who blood themselves weekly against the best in the league. I don't know why the Revs haven't been able to at least squeak out one win since then, but hopefully this year will be the year that changes. I have to think it will be - they're due, right?
2) Lee Nguyen was this offseason's big signing. He's got two story lines: former national teamer on the one hand, and Vancouver Whitecaps reject on the other. Which player have you seen more of so far?
2.) I love that Lee is the offseason's big signing - he wasn't even supposed to be here at all. The Nguyen we've seen has definitely been the US International Lee Nguyen, the kid who tore up Vietnam and looked poised to make waves in the Eredivisie years ago. It's eerie how the ball looks like it just sticks to his feet, and he put on quite a show more than once against Portland last weekend. Lovel Palmer resorted to thuggery just to try and slow Lee down, and it didn't work. At this point, it seems like it's only a matter of time before Nguyen starts racking up goals and assists.
3) Who should Galaxy fans know more about, but don't?
3.) This answer might surprise you. He's not a newcomer - in fact he's been an MLS stalwart for years. But I'm willing to be that not a lot of Galaxy fans are aware of Clyde Simms, and it's to your detriment if you're among them. Clyde does nothing flashy - he generally sits about 4 yards in front of the back four and sweeps laterally, providing defensive cover. But his work rate, positioning, and game intelligence is second to none. Clyde plays that simple game in midfield, winning the ball or showing for it in good positions, and then playing that easy pass to a creator that gets attacks rolling. He's been one of the best and most consistent performers for the Revs so far in 2012, and his ability to deal with the threats of Juninho, Beckham, and Donovan will be a huge factor in whether or not New England has success this weekend.
4) Outside of the DPs, who dost thou most covet on the Galaxy roster?
4.) Where do I start? Edson Buddle, probably. The Revs haven't had a true goalscorer since Taylor Twellman got hurt, and Buddle is nothing if not a true goalscorer. If not him, then I'd easily love to see Juninho in a Revs jersey, or even guys like AJ DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin. Perhaps second only to Buddle in my eyes, though, would be Todd Dunivant. Todd is one of the best all-around fullbacks in the league, and he plays on the left. The Revs haven't had a good left back in forever (Seth Sinovic notwithstanding), and Dunivant isn't just good - he's the best in the league. So either Buddle or Dunivant. But, frankly, you can send us just about anyone. We'll be happy with that.
5) Give me your starting XI for New England and a scoreline prediction.
5.) Matt Reis; Kevin Alston, Stephen McCarthy, A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney; Kelyn Rowe, Shalrie Joseph, Clyde Simms, Lee Nguyen; Blake Brettschneider, Saer Sene. There's a distinct possibility, however, that Darrius Barnes could play in place of McCarthy, or maybe that Rowe will be benched in favor of Ryan Guy. Also, it isn't out of the realm of plausibility that Fernando Cardenas would get a shot up top with Sene instead of Brettschneider, who has been uninspiring this season.
As for a score prediction, I'm going 2-1 Galaxy. LA's defense has been suspect, but so has the Revs' offense, and they just can't seem to win in the West.