[TV PREVIEW]He's mentioned in the headline. That's all on David Beckham, who should sit out Thursday's D.C. United-Los Angeles game (TV: ESPN2, 7 pm ET).
The Galaxy scraped out a 0-0 tie in Toronto Sunday despite being outshot, 14-2. It beat Pachuca, 2-1, in its SuperLiga opener July 24 despite being bombarded, 23-9. It jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first 20 minutes against FC Dallas last week in the SuperLiga and had to hang on for a 6-5 victory that pushed it into a semifinal against D.C. United next Wednesday at Home Depot Center.
With this game and a date in New England Sunday, the Galaxy (3-5-5, 14 points) will hit the halfway point of its season. It has barely more than one-half of the points of the team (Columbus, with 26) that would be the lowest-seeded playoff team. As June Carterand Johnny Cash sang so many years ago, "Time's a-wastin'."
Coach Frank Yallop has plenty of injury concerns beyond that of a gimpy English midfielder. Defenders Troy Roberts (ankle) and Chris Albright (hamstring) are out of this one, as is midfielder Cobi Jones (hip). Alan Gordon, after scoring three goals in the SuperLiga without having played a minute in MLS this season, struggled against TFC, and Carlos Pavon replaced him in the 64th minute.
Somebody needs to lead the line and carve open space for Landon Donovan and left back Ante Jazic to get into the attacking third. Yallop has designed a 4-3-3 system to accommodate the talents of Donovan and Beckham and the team started that way against Toronto but sputtered badly. Maybe using Gordon and Pavon together up top or one of them with Edson Buddle can kick-start the attack, and get Chris Klein more involved.
Yallop started the same 11 players against TFC that ran all over FC Dallas and they barely tested a team missing six starters with an on-loan keeper who'd been signed three days before the game. It's time to try something else.
United thumped New England, 3-0, at Gillette Stadium Sunday without Christian Gomez, who has since come off the injured list, and Fred, who was suspended. A pair of goals by Luciano Emilio, whose finishing has recently been augmented by some astutely timed runs, has moved him atop the scoring charts alongside Eddie Johnsonwith 12 goals.
Emilio's movement and timing will test Galaxy defender Abel Xavier, whose experience is helping rookie Ty Harden handle the pro game somewhat better. The D.C. midfield is also more attuned to supporting the attack and shielding the back line -- with four players rather than five -- than it was earlier in the season when head coach Tom Soehn elected to change the system to a four-man back line.
Left back Marc Burchhas adapted so well that Soehn moved Josh Gros to the right side, and Gros scored the first goal for the Revs. With Gomez and Fred available, as well as defender Greg Vanney, and Clyde Simms and Devon McTavish in good form, Soehn will have more players available than he has in quite a while.
Jaime Moreno wrenched his back against New England after coming on as a sub so he might start this one on the bench as well. Among ailing international midfielders he won't be alone.