The LA Galaxy take on New York City FC this weekend at the StubHub Center in a marquee match-up of star power and high payrolls.
Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos, Andrea Pirlo, David Villa, (possibly) Frank Lampard, Gyasi Zardes, Mix Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez, Sebastian Lletget, Juninho, and Kwadwo Poku will all be on display at the same time in the same match. Wow. What a league, you guys.
For LA, a healthy and gelling attacking corps should provide the squad with a view toward dismantling a NYCFC side whose defending has been pedestrian at best during large parts of their inaugural season.
Los Angeles is undefeated since the beginning of August, scoring 18 goals and conceeding just four across five matches in MLS and CCL play.
In MLS, the Galaxy have scored more than any other team (44), whereas NYCFC are tied for the third highest number of goals conceded (39).
Bruce Arena may have an interesting tactical decision to make regarding where on the field he plays Giovani dos Santos. So far, we've seen him up top, underneath the two strikers, and on the right. He's been paired with different forwards and midfielders in just about every one of his outings in a Galaxy jersey, but Sunday's match will most likely provide us with some insight as to where Bruce sees him in a playoff lineup.
Of course, the fates of dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes go hand in hand this weekend. If one is played up top, the other will be on the wing. It's highly unlikely (read: not happening) that Robbie Keane will be anywhere but in his usual position as a forward paired with either of these two, so don't expect a Zardes-dos Santos front line.
NYCFC's attacking corps is no slouch either, though their lineup decisions may be a little less mysterious. David Villa will undoubtedly retain his spot up top, while the surprisingly consistent contributor Tommy McNamara and the surprisingly mediocre Mix Diskerud will be out wide.
Underneath these three will be the positively electrifying Kwadwo Poku. Poku has taken the league by storm lately, and has scored three goals in his last two matches. In just five MLS starts, Poku has tallied seven assists and four goals, giving him Sebastian Lletget-esque production-per-ninety numbers.
Sunday's spotlight will fall on the Galaxy's attack, and it will be important to watch how effective they are against an NYCFC team fighting to save their season. Believe it or not, the expansion side are tied on points for the final spot in the Eastern Conference, and they'll be doing everything they can to make up ground.
If LA comes out at anything less than full throttle, the energy of the afternoon could quickly shift in New York's favor.
One more fun thing to watch will be the match up of two midfield maestros in Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo. Battles in MLS midfields between two undisputed legends don't come around too often, so be sure to enjoy this one.
I'm excited. Are you excited? Get excited.