Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LA Galaxy defeat Montreal Impact on Kofi Opare winner

It's the LA Galaxy's earned three points from their match in hand on their Western Conference counterparts. Kofi Opare's goal puts LA within two points of first place in the Western Conference.

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LA Galaxy defeat Montreal Impact 1-0 on Opare goal

The LA Galaxy defeated the Montreal Impact Wednesday night 1-0 on Kofi Opare's first MLS goal in his fourth appearance. The defender simply cleaned up a ball left sitting in the penalty area, but Montreal being unable to clear the ball put LA in reach of securing a playoff spot this weekend. LA got a huge boost from Robbie Keane, after playing 90 minutes for the Irish team yesterday, coming in and playing thirty minutes of high energy soccer.

Leonardo made a headed attempt on Juninho's cross which was saved by Montreal's Evan Bush. Juninho attempted a shot that got deflected back by Gyasi Zardes and Opare was there to push the ball in. Zardes was credited with an assist, but really it was a mad scramble.

Evan Bush, a veteran with little MLS experience, got the start tonight and was called on to make seven saves. With two more shots hitting the crossbar, the Galaxy clearly were fine creating chances though finishing could have gone better.

Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal were called on to start in place of an injured Landon Donovan and a fatigued Robbie Keane. They took five shots before Keane came into the match with Zardes contributing three more. The offensive trio was productive but not efficient going up against a Montreal central defense that is also not the first choice.

Defensively LA performed well despite a new center back pairing in Kofi Opare and Leonaro pulling off the offside trap successfully (six on the day for Montreal). They kept Montreal's pass accuracy down and allowed the Galaxy's to control possession in their own half.

Bruce Arena said after the match that he expects both Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez to be available for selection Sunday, when there will be all to play for. Depending on what happens in the match between Portland and Real Salt Lake, LA can move into second or even a tie for first.

As it is, LA spent their match in hand to pull level with Seattle, whom they have the goals for tiebreaker over. The Galaxy can clinch a playoff spot by earning any points over San Jose Sunday. However, with first place in sight, it's time for some timely soccer.

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LA Galaxy vs. Montreal Impact: Starting Lineup

football formations

Tonight the LA Galaxy will be without the services of Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez, as well as the long accepted absences of A.J. DeLaGarza and Robbie Rogers. This plus Robbie Keane's recent international duty puts Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean into the starting forward positions, Michael Stephens starting in the midfield, and Kofi Opare starting next to Leonardo in central defense.

Omar Gonzalez visited with supporters groups before the game as his injury proves more significant than originally thought. Donovan's omission is a bit of a surprise after the way things went down in USMNT camp. Robbie Keane is on the bench but I'd only expect him in an extreme emergency as Keane went the full ninety just yesterday.

LA Galaxy subs: Perk, Meyer, Mastroeni, Courtois, Jimenez, Garcia, Keane

Montreal Impact: Bush; Tissot, Lefèvre, Camara, Ouimette; Pisanu, Warner, Bernardello, Nyassi; Wenger, Di Vaio

Evan Bush has made one appearance for Montreal this season, allowing three goals. The central defenders in front of him are not starters either.

Kickoff: 7:30

Television: Time Warner Cable Sportsnet

Weather: 72 and clear

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LA Galaxy vs. Montreal Impact: Prediction thread

It's the LA Galaxy's match in hand on their Western Conference counterparts, and the result will go a long way in determining if LA get to battle for a top three finish or are simply battling for a wildcard spot.

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