The LA Galaxy are set to take on Toronto FC at 11:00am PDT, and the big story with the lineups is going to be the presence of Landon Donovan. That's right, after four days of training with the club, Donovan is on the bench and available for the Galaxy. Of course, he has as much chance of playing as a puppy has playing in the Super Bowl.
Also worth noting is that Omar Gonzalez starts after a grinding 180 minutes with the US national team, all at altitude and half of it in a snow storm. He's paired with Leonardo, with DeLaGarza going out wide and Sean Franklin stepping up into the midfield.
Michael Stephens gets another chance at starting, as Colin Clark has been demoted to the bench. We'll see if the Stephens side of things is as active as the Franklin side of things, though I think we'll see more overlapping runs from Todd Dunivant than we'll see Stephens mixing it up with McBean.
Yes, Jack McBean starts again, this time with Mike Magee up top with him for veteran guidance. Jose Villarreal is available off the bench, should McBean's "top of the Castrol Index" performance from last week not hold up in Toronto. However, if he moves off the ball as well with Magee getting the ball to him at the right time, it could pay off dividends.
LA Galaxy subs: Rowe, Meyer, Garcia, Jimenez, Clark, Villarreal & Donovan
Landon Donovan on the bench is a buzz getter, but I imagine it's more allowing him to bond with the bench guys and run some sprints. It's also a classic tactic in all forms of football, putting a not-yet-ready star on the bench so the opposing coach is thrown off a bit.
The rest of the bench is boilerplate, what we've come to expect.
Pregame has begun on Time Warner SportsNet and will run until kickoff at 11:00am.
Toronto FC Starting XI: Bendik; Russell, Califf, O'Dea, Eckersley; Bostock, Dunfield, Hall, Lambe; Ephraim, Earnshaw
Toronto FC Substitutes: Frei; Agbossoumonde, Morgan, Osorio, Silva, Wiedeman, Braun