Keep An Eye On: LA vs. PHI

This Memorial Day weekend the LA Galaxy go head-to-head with the Philadelphia Union. The Galaxy have finally started to pull themselves out of the rut that they’ve been in with a win against FC Dallas on Wednesday. LA may be shuffling the line-up — because although Omar Gonzalez is still out on national team duty, it appears Landon Donovan may be back just in time.

At sixth place in the Western Conference, the Galaxy are 3-3-3 with 12 points. Their opponents are fresh off a loss to the New England Revolution and sit at ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The most interesting part about this game is that two players who fans assumed would be out training for the World Cup are back — Maurice Edu, midfielder, will give Philadelphia a much-needed boost.

For their part the Union will need to keep an eye on Captain America — Landon Donovan, who shockingly missed the national team’s final roster, should be back in time for the starting line-up. That could mean a return to the diamond formation Bruce Arena favored earlier in the season, with Donovan at right mid. Landon is still on the hunt for his 135th goal, the goal that will clinch the record for most regular-season goals. After the World Cup snub, it’s hard to tell which version of Donovan we’ll be getting. He may come in fiercer than ever, dead-set on breaking records. He may be angry. Or he may just be disappointed.

Both LA and Philly have players missing. Philadelphia’s midfielder Cristian Maidana is ineligible due to a red card in the last game, midfielder Michael Lahoud is out with the Sierra Leone National Team, and Brian Carroll is sidelined with a groin strain. Last season the LA won 4-1 at Philadelphia and hold a 4-1-1 series advantage over the brotherly city’s team. Still, the Galaxy can’t overlook Philly — the Union have a firm goal-scoring edge at 15-10.

Los Angeles are also missing a few players like defenders James Riley and Todd Dunivant, who’s been out for several weeks because of an abdominal strain. Wednesday’s win against Dallas is the first in a month and partly thanks to Gyasi Zardes’ first goal in the season, but does it signal a turn for the better? Robbie Keane said:

“It has been a long few weeks away from home so it was certainly nice to be in your back garden. I think the way we played was very good … Considering the last few weeks, how difficult it was for the team.”
—Robbie Keane

One thing is for certain: for LA to stay strong, they have to start strong. In the last game they scored early and won; the previous match they lost hold early and Houston walked away with three points. On Sunday the Galaxy need to find their footing quick — and hopefully work their way up the Western Conference ladder.