It doesn't get any easier for fans of the Blue and White. After a disheartening loss of form over the last few weeks that included back to back defeats against Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle and Portland, it looks like it will take a miracle to get the boys back on track. Fortunately, I'm in the 95th percentile of 'Caps fans who has found our play admirable enough for the most part (minus the first half in Portland, of course). So, it goes without saying (even though I am saying it anyways) that I don't see the need for panic but instead the need for a bit of luck to go our way. Luck of the good variety is something that seems to be deperately short if you count the continued suspensions from MLS and the poor refereeing we've had to endure.
With seven games remaining, Martin Rennie needs to regroup those that aren't suspended (an admittedly thinning number) and win a few games, which should include an important away match to our nearest contenders for that fifth and final playoff spot in the West - FC Dallas. We sit five points ahead with a game in hand, so it's all to play for.
Uncertain for Match
DF: David Junior Lopes, MF: Kyle Nakazawa, FW: Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan
The Galaxy are up against it with the tough task of playing three days after a Champions League win over the Puerto Rico Islanders of the NASL, brushing them aside 4-0 with most of their reserves doing the business. The 'Caps are on the short end of the stick though with the top trio of Beckham (sick), Donovan (injured) and Keane (suspended) all receiving a rest for the CCL match against Puerto Rico. The Galaxy are also continuing their thrust towards the top of the table as they trail second placed Seattle by three points and table toppers San Jose by ten. Then again the Quakes look to have run away with the Supporters Shield as they have a game in hand on most and an exceptional goal difference to boot (not to mention a much better "Disciplinary Points" record than Vancouver). LA are also on a four-game unbeaten run since their implosion in the Pacific North West to a Mauro Rosales inspired Sounders.
Players to Watch
MF: Surprised we chose Goldenballs? It is based on merit, not just his smouldering good looks (sigh...). David Beckham, looks to be hitting back at Stuart Pearce's decision to omit him from the Team GB squad after hitting two past Portland and another back in the 4-3 loss to San Jose. At the same time he has been showing his petulant side as he has accumulated 7 yellows and in the same loss to San Jose he managed to receive an extra match ban for stoking a melee and even berating the mascot.
FW: Landon Donovan, the winger slash forward seems to have been around for ages and still has the speed (and the height) of an 18 year old. He has grabbed 9 goals and 11 assists as the season begins to come to a close. Donovan has proven he is capable of the highest level after spending two Xmas' at Goodison Park and dominating Premier League defenders whilst receiving nation wide acclaim for his performances in such a short span of time.
FW: Robbie Keane, set up the game winning goal for Donovan in last season's MLS Cup Final after arriving from Tottenham Hotspur of the EPL and proving an instant hit. The Captain of Ireland has scored goals at every level throughout a distinguished career that has seen him play at Inter Milan in the Serie A, Celtic of the SPL, and playing for 7 different sides in England. Scored 7 in 11 European Qualifiers to take the Republic of Ireland to their first major Championship in 10 years at Euro 2012. He looks to be pushing for the golden boot with 11 and 7 assists but trails the irrepressible 'Wondo'.
Most of their starters received a rest with the Galaxy fielding their reserves against Puerto Rico.
LA Galaxy can boast three organized supporter groups; the LA Riot Squad, the Angel City Brigade, and the Galaxians.