The LA Galaxy face the Portland Timbers for their final regular season home-game this Sunday at 4 p.m. at the StubHub Center.
Neither team is on a particular hot or cold streak, but given the lack of any clear momentum either way an LA Galaxy win is the most probably outcome. The Galaxy are undefeated in their last five meetings with the Timbers, with three wins and two draws. Further, the Galaxy have never lost to the Timbers in Carson, with six wins in seven matches there all-time. Which is not to say this is a slam dunk game – the Galaxy are fresh off a bye week and the last time the LA Galaxy came off a bye week they only achieved a tie at home (against Montreal on September 12).
The Galaxy will be limited in terms of line-up options given that Giovani dos Santos, Robbie Rogers, Todd Dunivant, and Baggio Husidic are all currently listed on the team sheet as injured. Of course, it is just as likely that Bruce Arena’s injury reports are intentionally leading us astray – the most recent press release listed Gio as being “day-to-day” which could very well mean he starts up top with Keano this weekend.
Look, everyone, puppies!
However, if the league is accurately reporting injuries, then we can expect to see Dave Romney slot in at left back, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez and AJ DeLaGarza round out our back four, and Sebastian Lletget, Juninho and Steven Gerrard in the midfield. Robbie Keane will play up top, which means Arena’s big question is where to play Gyasi Zardes, who has just returned from an arduous two games with the national team. The Galaxy could play Jose Villareal out wide on the left, move Lletget to the right flank and then play Zardes up top. Of course, knowing how Arena loves to toy with us (i.e., the opposition, the fans, and the media), any predictions on our part are sheer folly.
The Galaxy are currently second in the Western Conference, topped only by FC Dallas. If the season ended today, the Galaxy would have a bye through to the Western Conference Semi-Finals and face one of the teams that prevails in the knockout rounds (currently the teams in pole position for the 3rd through 6th slots in the West are the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers). If the Galaxy want to secure a bye past the knockout rounds, a win against Portland is imperative, since the only game remaining is an away fixture at SKC.
The LA Galaxy Foundation will be having a Food Drive during the game on Sunday. Please bring any canned foods to donate and help support the LA Regional Food Bank. For every five (5) items donated you will receive a $1 concession stand voucher to use at StubHub Center.