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Dynamo - Galaxy Preview
Friday, 09 April 2010
Does David Beckham play for the Galaxy? For the third time in four years, the Englishman wonít be making an appearance at Robertson. Beckhamís Achilles injury has not only caused him to miss yet another trip to Houston, but it will keep him out of this summerís World Cup. Nonetheless, the Galaxy come to town with an extremely strong team and one person can be thanked for that Ė and his name isnít Landon Donovan.

Bruce Arena. Those two words conjure a myriad of feelings for MLS and US National Team fans alike. Whether you like him or not, the man has experienced success as head coach of MLSí first dynasty; as the coach behind the US National Teamís best-ever World Cup performance; and now as the rebuilder of a franchise that was in dire straits when he took the reins in late 2008. After the Galaxy finished next to last in the league, Arena completely overhauled the team in 2009 and turned them into the Western Conference champions and winning Coach of the Year in the process.

Ricketts with a save

Changes to the first ďSuperclubĒ
While LA never lacked offensive power with players such as Donovan and Beckham at its disposal, the ďgalacticoĒ business plan didnít put much emphasis on defense. The additions of players like Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Donovan Ricketts and Dema Kovalenko has created one of the stingiest defenses in the league. That point wonít be lost on the Dynamo, who failed to score a single goal in 300 minutes of play against the Galaxy this past season.

Donovanís return
Landon Donovan is proving once again that he is the best player in MLS. Fresh off his confidence-boosting loan to Everton during the offseason, the US National Team star is in midseason form and already looks to wreak havoc on the league as the World Cup approaches. Make no mistake about it; the man is a game changer capable of creating offense in an instant. However, as previous failed Galaxy teams have proven, he canít do it alone. The Galaxy will also rely on Edson Buddle to finish chances and midfielders Eddie Lewis, Chris Klein and loan signing Juninho to create them. An organized defense and a speedy offense will aim for three points at Robertson.

Addition provides options
The Dynamo comes into the game still looking to their feet offensively. Of three goals scored in the first two games, two came from the penalty spot and one came from a left back Ė sources a team can not rely on for goals. Glimpses of opportunity appear from time to time but fans should expect growing pains as Geoff Cameron continues to adapt to his new midfield role. Having finally received his visa, Jamaican Lovel Palmer provides Kinnear with the option of moving Richard Mulrooney to right back or even allowing Cameron to move to the wing at the expense of Brian Mullan. That said, Kinnear typically eases new additions into the lineup so expect Palmer to come off the bench for this game.

With an offense that can best be termed as inconsistent, the loss of Brian Ching for 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury wonít help matters either. The forward plays a pivotal role in the offensive buildup both with his ability to come into midfield and provide another option in possession as well as his ability to provide an outlet for defenders in order to hold the ball up. Cam Weaver, who has recovered from his preseason injury, or Luis Angel Landin will get the start in his stead. Both are adequate replacements but neither is as accomplished as Ching.

Mike Chabala and Mike Magee La Naranja has yet to keep a clean sheet, but its defense has been strong nonetheless only giving up one goal in each of their first two games. The teamís speed will be tested by Donovanís so itís vital that all four defenders work as an organized unit.

Goals will be at a premium in this match as both teams emphasize defense. The Galaxy has yet to play a defense as good as the Dynamoís and itís struggled to possess the ball in midfield. Itíd be shocking to see either team score multiple goals but other than that, no result should come as surprise. No matter the outcome, expect a tough, physical game in which neither team is allowed much time on the ball and a set piece could prove to be the decider.

My Predictions The Men in Orange will seek revenge for last yearís playoff exit and will be looking to build on an uncharacteristically fast start to the season. But most importantly, my prediction streak is at risk. Unbelievably, even to me, Iíve been able to guess the exact scores in the Dynamoís first two games. To continue my prediction streak, I will predict that the lights will stay on for the duration of the game. 3 for 3 here I come!

Dynamo 0, Galaxy 0