KEEP AN EYE ON: White vs Blue

Tomorrow’s match is a strange one. We’ll have familiar faces on both sides as the LA Galaxy take on “Los Dos,” the LA Galaxy II. No rivalries, no rankings — but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing on the line. It’s still preseason and there’s still a starting lineup to be determined. Let’s break this down. White vs Blue, here’s what to keep an eye on:

Robbie Keane
I’d be more than surprised if he goes a full 90 minutes, but expect to see the first team captain back in action tomorrow. I’ve heard he looked less than fit at the friendly against UCLA — and that’s to be expected, given what he’s recovering from — but tomorrow will be a good chance to show us just how close he is to a comeback.

Midfield in Motion
I’ve got Donovan and Ishizaki penciled in as starters on March 8th, with Juninho and Sarvas rounding out the middle. If those are the names that come out first thing tomorrow, I’ll go ahead and ink them in. Ishizaki’s the one to watch; he’s been steadily improving but he’ll need to continue that trend to hang on to his spot. Tomorrow the best thing he could possibly be is dangerous — do that, and he’s a lock.

James Riley
Our defense is anything but solid. DeLaGarza hasn’t yet found his confidence on the right. Omar was beaten as often as not against San Jose. The one person looking good back there is James Riley, who isn’t even officially part of the team. Unofficially, however, he’s a frontrunner for a starting position. LA signed a couple homegrown players yesterday, but haven’t yet picked up Riley. If he can hold it down at left back tomorrow, I think we’ve found ourselves a defender.

Pairings Up Front
Throughout the preseason, even as we watched interesting combinations play out up top, I believe the same thought was in the back of every fan’s mind: These guys might look good together, but when Keane gets back that won’t matter. But as the season inches closer, I think it’s fair to start figuring out what happens if Keane doesn’t make it back in time. Tomorrow we get another chance to see who works well together up front, and, maybe more importantly, who Bruce Arena thinks work well. Keep a close eye on those pairings — whether it’s Zardes and Friend, Samuel and Friend, or whoever — because there’s a chance LA will be relying on a tandem up top that doesn’t include Robbie Keane.

LA Galaxy II
Where to begin? There’s real potential on this team. Witness the recent signings of Mendiola and Jamieson IV (both to the senior team, but expected to play for LA II) if you don’t believe me. I’m excited to see their goalkeeper in action — Cody Laurendi singlehandedly kept “Los Dos” in the game against Fresno. And while it’d be cool to see Laurent Courtois play against the main team, it’ll be even cooler to see him coaching from the sidelines.

I’ll be the guy with the star-shaped sunglasses and a smile. Give me a shout if you see me! And enjoy this final breather before the season begins.