The LA Galaxy take on league leaders Real Salt Lake on Saturday, needing a victory to keep the Supporter's Shield within reach. RSL Soapbox sent over three questions for yours truly, and here's how I felt about LA's chances:
1. Who might be vital against Real Salt Lake on Saturday? Is it so simple as pointing at Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan and shouting "goals!"? How might they fit into the tactical picture?
1. How about instead of "goals!" we'll yell something like "nice form on that aerial challenge" or "way to prevent Salt Lake from getting high percentage shots off inside the penalty area". Yes, with Omar Gonzalez being named the Galaxy's third Designated Player yesterday, I have a feeling all eyes will be on the defense. Especially after the renowned Galaxy defense gave up three goals last weekend spoiling Donovan's hat trick. As Dunivant told reporters at practice, even if they're offside they still stayed on the tally. They'll feel like they have something to prove out there Saturday night. A clean sheet will be the goal.
2. Is there a fear that, despite your strengths, LA Galaxy might miss out on the playoffs? What sort of response would that receive? Is that a sure failure of a season?
Probably negative, it's been awhile since the Galaxy missed the playoffs.
It would certainly be a failure. We're only five years removed from the season where the Galaxy played bad enough under a foreign coach that Bruce Arena was able to draft Generation adidas prospect Omar Gonzalez. Since drafting Gonzalez the Galaxy have taken 62.7% of the available points in matches he started. Given that he'll become tied for tenth all time for Galaxy starts this weekend, that's a consistent turn around under Arena. LA fans expect victory, from Kobe and the Lakers to Puig and the Dodgers to the Stanley Cup winning Kings.
This is the greatest sports city in the world. THE WORLD!
3. With these matches, does form ever really matter? I suppose not, right? So let's not worry about how you've been performing. What do you see as LA Galaxy's biggest opportunity against Real Salt Lake on Saturday?
The biggest opportunity they have is making up ground on the Supporter's Shield leaders. The race is still pretty tight for that big shinny round shield, but it's late enough in the year that Salt Lake can start putting themselves out of reach fast. Must win is a bit too premature, but it's the type of match which champions will step up and win.