FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy, Saturday 4/13/10 4:30pm PDT, FC Dallas Stadium. NBC Sports.
Photo Credit: Brandon Wade / Getty Images
By B Von Wolfe
With no time to lick their wounds after Wednesday’s defeat at the hands of C.F. Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals, the LA Galaxy take the short plane ride north to face Western Conference leaders FC Dallas on Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium.
With such a quick turnaround between games, it’s hard not imagine that we’ll see some rotation in the starting lineup for Saturday’s match. As is often the case for MLS teams competing in the CCL, the bench plays an important role during compacted weeks like this, and starters logging heavy minutes will likely be rested.
Although it’s difficult to speculate on what specific changes will be made – as Bruce Arena typically plays his cards close to his chest when it comes to the starting lineup, injuries and such – it’s safe to assume some starters logging heavy minutes will be rested.
Landon Donovan, who played his first full 90 for the first time this season against Monterrey on Wednesday will likely return to sub duty as he is brought along to full fitness.
Key starters Robbie Keane, Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas all went the full 90 on Wednesday as well and are all possible candidates to start Saturday’s game on the bench.
However, the Galaxy have not been afforded the luxury this season of having a deep bench in the central midfield, so options in that area of the formation are limited.
Clean That Plate
Finishing chances. It’s been a issue this season as the Galaxy have failed to convert chances in both league play and in recent CCL games. On the bright side, FC Dallas has struggled to stop conceding goals, typically late in matches. FC Dallas has held opponents scoreless through six games in the first 45 minutes. However, they’ve allowed seven second-half goals through those same six games, and all but one has came after the 75th minute.
If the Galaxy frontline can shake off the weary legs and put some shots on frame, they may able to get their scoring groove back and take advantage of an FC Dallas team that is struggling to close out games.
Nuts and Bolts
Like most MLS games, the battle is often decided in the central midfield. Saturday’s match is no different, as David Ferreira and Andrew Jacobson have proven to be a formidable pair in the central midfield for FC Dallas this year.
It is no secret that Colombian Ferreira is tricky and can provide a telling pass or fire off a dangerous shot at any given moment, but it is Jacobson that has provided a two-way presence and is the backbone of the FC Dallas midfield.
FC Dallas also boasts a pair of dangerous and big strikers in Blas Perez and Kenny Cooper. Although the partnership between the two has not yet began to click, they still can cause enough problems individually for the Galaxy defense.
Keys, Keys, Keys
Finishing Early and Late Chances – Whether it will be Jack McBean and Jose Villareal or Keane and Donovan, scoring chances need to begin finding the back of the net sooner rather than later. The point is driven home when taking into account that Mike Magee, the team’s leading goal scorer (5) is battling injuries as of late and no other player on the roster has scored more than one goal this season.
Jacobson & Ferreira V. Juninho & Sarvas – Whether the Brazilian duo will get the starting nod again remains to be seen, but controlling Jacobson and Ferreira will be no easy task. Especially considering the fact that both Juninho & Sarvas will have only seen two days rest between Wednesday and Saturday.