Union Going Going, Back Back, to Cali Cali

Union Going Going, Back Back, to Cali Cali
April 4, 2011, 12:57 pm
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The Eastern Conference-leading Union (2-0)
face the LA Galaxy (1-1-1) tonight at the Home Depot Center (10:30PM/The
Comcast Network). The U enter the game with consecutive clean sheet
victories. Meanwhile, LA was throttled by Real Salt Lake, 4-1, last
week.

Galaxy captain Landon Donovan did not play in that game, as he was
away on national team duty. He'll be back in the lineup tonight
alongside David Beckham and Juan Pablo Angel. You'd be hard-pressed to
find a more dangerous group of offensive talent in MLS than the trio of
Donovan, Beckham, and Angel.

The Union will have their hands full if they hope to keep a third straight clean sheet.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena could have the luxury of penciling in two
2010 MLS Best XI players back into his lineup. Goalkeeper Donovan
Ricketts and center back Omar Gonzalez have worked their way back from
injury and may make their first appearances of the 2011 season tonight.

Peter Nowak likely will not make any changes to his lineup. Last week
we saw Nowak start the attacking trio of Carlos Ruiz, Danny Mwanga, and
Sebastien Le Toux. Ruiz and Le Toux combined for the Union's lone goal.
It's important that these three play together and develop some
chemistry.

Last week, the Union attack lacked creativity and play on the wings
early on. That all changed after Whitecaps forward Eric Hassli was sent
off following his second yellow card. Roger Torres came on and
completely changed the dynamic of the game. His quick, darting runs and
creativity provided a much-needed spark off the bench.

With Justin Mapp out again, Nowak may need Torres to reprise that
role tonight. Although I've advocated for Le Toux to play in the hole
behind Ruiz and Mwanga with Mapp out, it might make sense to play him on
the outside. His pace and willingness to go at people would be nice to
have on the flank.

It may be asking too much to have Jordan Harvey and Sheanon Williams
deal with Landon Donovan's play on the flanks and also get forward.
Galaxy midfielder Juninho has struck a couple of goals from distance
already this season. Stefani Miglioranzi and Brian Carroll will be
tasked with shutting down the diminutive Brazilian.

In all likelihood, Faryd Mondragon will see more shots tonight than
he has in the first two games. Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes will have
to be stout along the backline and continue to make the safe simple
play. Defending set pieces will be critical, as Beckham, aka Golden
Balls, still provides lethal service on dead balls.

Final Score Prediction: The Union earn an impressive road point with a 1-1 tie.

The Toni Stahl Memorial Union Player Most Likely To See Red: Sheanon Williams - his aggressive play may come back to haunt him as he tries to deal with Landon Donovan.

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