LOS ANGELES vs. D.C. UNITED
Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET, TeleFutura, mlsnet.com
Not much has gone right so far for the Galaxy in what is supposed to be an historic season, yet against rival D.C. United in this SuperLiga semifinal on Wednesday, it has homefield advantage, and it may have David Beckham.
Beckham trained with the team Tuesday and after the training session said of his left ankle, "It's not perfect yet, but I think I can at least play half a game tomorrow. This is my first day of training, so it still feels unstable to a certain extent, but it feels stable enough to actually play in a game and see how far I can take it," he said to mlsnet.com.
Beckham has yet to take the field in the Galaxy's three SuperLiga matches and has played a total of about 40 minutes in a friendly against Chelsea and a league game against United last week. He accompanied the team on its three-game road trip during which it failed to score a goal, and garnered just one point via a 0-0 draw at Toronto.
Yet the Galaxy did pound FC Dallas, 6-5, without Beckham in its final SuperLiga match, so despite beating Los Angeles, 1-0, in their league encounter at RFK that drew a crowd of 46,686, United must be wary of Landon Donovan. Strikers Carlos Pavon, Alan Gordon and Edson Buddle have been misfiring recently, yet the Galaxy created several good opportunities and failed to snatch a tie only by its own ineptitude in front of goal.
Los Angeles started out with a three-forward alignment at RFK, but the attack seldom clicked until Pavon, Buddle and Beckham came on as subs in the second half. Donovan flubbed a point-blank volley and Pavon squandered a pair of good headers.
Luciano Emilio scored the only goal in the 27th minute as D.C. dominated for long stretches before relaxing in the final minutes. Christian Gomez sat out the game and Jaime Moreno came on as a sub at halftime.
Four players will miss this match because of suspension. D.C. left back Marc Burch is out, as are Galaxy left back Ante Jazic, midfielder Kelly Gray and Gordon.
Overtime and penalty kicks, if necessary, will follow regulation time if the score is tied. The winner will host Pachuca in the SuperLiga final Aug. 29.