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  • LA v. TFC Preview: Against All Odds


    ccs-54-140264009627_thumb.jpgTo say Toronto FC are underdogs tonight in LA is a massive understatement.

    The Galaxy are riding high atop Major League Soccer this season, sitting on 30 points -- a full seventeen more than the Reds -- to lead the league. The Galaxy have lost just twice in 16 matches so far in 2011, an enviable record that TFC could only dream of.

    Plus, Toronto are on the road. We all know how awful they are on the road.

    So let's just give LA the three points and call it a night, yes?

    Not so fast.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

    If anything, this looks like the ultimate banana peel game for the Galaxy, one in which they should win easily over a much lesser opponent, but instead they play a stinker and the plucky visitors nick a point or three.

    Let's be clear here, Toronto will likely lose this game. But there are also many reasons that they could steal a result, and since we like to look at all possibilities here at CSN, let's delve into why the Galaxy need to be sharp when they face off with an awful TFC side tonight.

    First off, the absences. Both teams are missing players to the CONCACAF Gold Cup right now, but while Toronto's Julian de Guzman and Dicoy Williams are big losses, they don't compare to the impact that Landon Donovan's and Donovan Ricketts' (and Juninho's) absence have on the G's squad.

    Landycakes is who he is, perhaps the best MLS player ever. And he's leading the league in scoring right now, his absence leaving a giant hole up that the rest of his Galaxy teammates quite frankly cannot fill.

    Juninho is not, obviously, taking part in the Gold Cup, but the Brazilian will be missing the match to get married back in his home country. The midfielder is a big part of LA's attack, frequently launching bombs from 20-25 yards out that test opposing keepers. His absence eliminates a ton of creativity from a Galaxy offence that doesn't have much outside of Donovan and David Beckham.

    On the back end of the pitch, Ricketts is among the top goalkeepers in the league, and is certainly LA's clear number one. His replacement, Josh Saunders, is a steady, backup-calibre netminder who is prone to the occasional brainfart. There's a reason Saunders has never won a starting job for a winning team in MLS, despite being in the league for nearly nine seasons.

    The second reason LA needs to be on their game tonight in Carson is simply because they haven't lost a match in MLS since May 1, meaning that -- by the laws of Major League Soccer parity -- they are due for a crap result.

    Last week against visiting DC United, the Galaxy looked well on their way to that crap result, suffering from Donovan's absence and not having a clue what to do in the attacking third of the field. Luckily for them, DC had even less ideas on the attacking front, and a 0-0 draw was the final tall --, a below-par result for a soaring LA side that had won the previous four matches.

    LA's defence is never going to give teams many chances, and Toronto can only expect perhaps a couple of good scoring opportunities as Bruce Arena's side will try to lull them to sleep. But without Donovan Ricketts as the last line of defence, and without Landon Donovan sparking the attack, a couple of opportunities may be just what TFC needs to steal something out of this match.

    Or, Toronto plays like they usually do on the road and they set a new low for embarrassing away performance. It could go either way.

    Los Angeles Galaxy v. Toronto FC

    Saturday, June 11, 2011. 10:30pm EDT.

    Home Depot Center. Carson, CA.

    Watch: GolTV Canada, MLS MatchDay Live

    Listen: FAN 590, FAN590.com

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