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Know Your Opponent: LA Galaxy

This week the Union (4-9-3) head out to sunny California to face off against the LA Galaxy (5-5-7).  The game is in the StubHub Center on Saturday June 20, with kickoff at 10:30 p.m.. The game will be broadcast on The Comcast Network.

What you need to know:

The Galaxy are one of the perennial powerhouses in the MLS and are coming off their fifth MLS Cup title and their third in four years. This year, however, they seem to have stumbled out of the starting blocks, totaling 22 points from 17 games.

The Galaxy are coached by former U.S. National Team head coach Bruce Arena, who has been with the team since 2008. Arena’s time with the Galaxy has seen the team find success behind superstars like David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.

One of Arena’s claims to fame is his penchant for finding young talent, especially young attacking talent. Players like Gyasi Zardes, Bradford Jamieson IV, Jose Villarreal and Sebastian Lletget have tallied six goals and three assists on the season, made even more remarkable by the fact they are all under the age of 24.

The team has struggled to find their best form this year due to injuries and international call-ups. Zardes, Keane, Jamieson, Edson Buddle, Robbie Roger and Dan Gargan have all either been injured, called away for international duty or both.

LA looks to boost their roster in the coming weeks with former England and Liverpool star Steven Gerrard joining the team after the international transfer window opens on July 8.

Players to watch out for:

Robbie Keane, Forward: The captain and the main strike force for the Galaxy since coming over from Tottenham in 2011. Keane has scored 55 goals in 91 games, a strike rate of 0.6 goals per game. Keane has dealt with injury problems this season but managed to play June 6 in a 1-0 loss against Vancouver before being called away for international duty with the Republic of Ireland.

Gyasi Zardes, Forward: Zardes introduced himself to the world last year when he scored 16 goals for the Galaxy as a 22 year-old. Since then, he has been called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team seven times, even getting his first senior international goal on June 5 agaisnt the Netherlands. So far this season, Zardes has played in fifteen games, notching three goals.

Jaime Penedo, Goalkeeper: The goalkeeping position is one of the areas where the Galaxy have struggled this year. Penedo has done a good job when he plays but he has only gotten the nod in 13 games, posting a record of 4-3-6. His goals against average is 1.15 which is good for a goalkeeper, but since the Galaxy have struggled to score at times this season, allowing over a goal a game can be costly.

Probable line-up:

Goalkeeper: Jaime Penedo
Defenders (left to right): Robbie Rogers, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Dan Gargan
Midfielders (left to right): Ignacio Maganto, Baggio Husidic, Juninho, Stefan Ishizaki
Forwards: Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes

Facts and Figures:

The Union are 1-5-1 against the Galaxy, with a 1-3-0 record against them at the StubHub Center. In their last matchup on May 25, 2014, the Galaxy won 4-1 at home in a game where Donovan scored twice and Robbie Keane had a goal and two assists. Maurice Edu scored the lone goal for the Union on a penalty kick in the 88th minute. This game is the Union’s lone away game in the month of June.

The Union are coming off a 2-1 loss at home versus NYCFC on June 6, while the Galaxy are coming off a 1-1 draw against Columbus Crew SC this past Saturday.


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