With David Beckham, and his wife Posh Spice, set to take part in the Olympic closing ceremonies tomorrow, the Galaxy have to find a replacement for him. Complicating things is Landon Donovan starting up top with Robbie Keane with Edson Buddle's continued presence on the injured list. While Donovan starting up top has led to a surge of goals, it does result in a hole in the middle when Beckham goes away.
When David Beckham and Landon Donovan both had to miss the Galaxy's match against FC Dallas two weeks ago, Mike Magee started up top with Robbie Keane, while Hector Jimenez and Sean Franklin started at the outside midfielder spots. Sean Franklin not being very good at outside midfielder offensively turned that match into a defensive battle.
What will be interesting to see is if Bruce Arena continues with Landon Donovan up top, or if he pulls Donovan back to the midfield. Chivas isn't going to win in a shootout, so certainly one plan is just to throw the kitchen sink at them. However, if Chivas can shut down the Galaxy attack as they did in the first SuperClasico, or as Seattle did last Sunday, a Galaxy midfield without Beckham or Donovan is much more vulnerable.
It's likely Keane will start up top with Donovan, and that the central midfield will be patrolled by Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas. If that's the case, Sarvas is going to have to register an impact on the match. The MLS press guide predicts Sean Franklin starting at outside midfielder again and Michael Stephens getting in the mix.
Of course, that would mean another week without last year's backline of Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant, and Franklin. After going 90 minutes in the reserve match on Tuesday, Todd Dunivant is expected to start on Sunday, but for whatever reason David Junior Lopes has yet to play himself out of a role.
There are a lot of factors to consider, but I lean toward putting out the heavily offensive minded lineup and trying to punch Chivas early and often. Getting into a defensive battle, while facing MLS' top goalkeeper, is a mistake, because one Chivas goal can then be the deciding goal.
What would your starting XI be? And say if you think your lineup skews toward offensive production or defensive protection.