Scouting report: A breakdown of what to expect from the Los Angeles Galaxy
The defending champs return to Philadelphia for the first time since 2011.
You might not realize this, but the Union are currently on a two game unbeaten streak against the Galaxy. Philadelphia upset Los Angeles at the Home Depot Center last year, which was the only meeting between the teams in 2012. In the 2011 playoff season, the Union lost 1-0 on the road, but drew with Los Angeles, 1-1 in return trip to PPL Park.
Bruce Arena's club is tied for fifth place in the Western Conference with 14 points and a 4-3-2 record. They've only played nine games this year, while each team above them in the standings has played at least 11. The schedule was a bit skewed for LA due to their participation in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Los Angeles is dealing with some injury issues as the team continues a three game road trip. They are coming off back to back losses against Houston and Vancouver.
Star striker Robbie Keane missed three straight games with an ankle injury, but he looks set to make his PPL Park debut on Wednesday. Keane only has one goal this season, but led the Galaxy with 16 last year en route to a second straight championship.
Mike Magee is enjoying an excellent spell of form to start this season. The MLS veteran has six goals this year and is currently battling with Union forward Jack McInerney for the top spot in the entire league. He's a guy who reads the game so well, putting himself in good positions and finding clutch goals in critical moments.
Landon Donovan is back in the lineup after a brief hiatus from soccer. The American international returned to the field rusty last month, but we all know what he's capable of when he's on form. Look for him to lineup either as a striker or a right midfielder.
The rest of the Galaxy offense has been left to youngsters in these last few games. Rookie Gyasi Zardes scored his first professional goal in the 3-1 loss at Vancouver. Jose Villarreal has one goal and one assist in six total appearances this season. Jack McBean has a goal and two assists in seven appearances.
Rookie Charlie Rugg has also seen some minutes this season. Former Union striker Chandler Hoffman is another attacking option but has yet to make his Galaxy debut.
There's some wide talent too, with Michael Stephens, Hector Jimenez, and Colin Clark all playing roles this season. Stephens and Jimenez were steady contributors last season, while Clark was acquired in the offseason re-entry draft.
We'll put Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas in this category, even through they're both capable two-way midfielders. The Brazilian duo became Arena's central midfield pair following the offseason departure of David Beckham.
Sarvas has decent qualities going forward and covers a large amount of ground to boot. Juninho is the total package, with defensive skills, a long range shot, set piece capability, and top-notch stamina. Both players have started every single game.
Veteran left back Todd Dunivant could also make a return to the starting XI on Wednesday. Missing recent action with a left leg strain, he was replaced by rookie Reading United product Greg Cochrane.
Centrally, you'll likely see Omar Gonzalez with A.J. Delagarza or the Brazilian Leonardo. Gonzalez has been a rock on the LA backline for several years now, winning a pair of titles and earning himself a starting job with the American national team. Delagarza can play right back or center back, and brings a lot of mobility to the Galaxy defense.
Leonardo, or even Tommy Meyer, might be an option depending on how Arena approaches this road trip. Sean Franklin is a staple on the right side of the formation, playing both right back and right midfield in his tenure with Los Angeles.
There's also a new face in net for the Galaxy. Former Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini joined up with Los Angeles following the offseason departure of Josh Saunders.
Possible Starting XI: Cudicini (GK), Franklin, Delagarza, Gonzalez, Cochrane, Magee, Sarvas, Juninho, Donovan, Keane, Villarreal
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at firstname.lastname@example.org