Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
It's time for the Los Angeles Galaxy to make some creative decisions.
With David Beckham and Juninho suspended, it is likely that head coach Bruce Arena will need to inject some fresh blood in the central midfield when the Galaxy face the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Sunday. It is likely that Chris Birchall will return to the center of park playing the defensive midfield role for the Galaxy, while either Michael Stephens or Paolo Cardozo could play in an advanced linking role in the midfield.
Los Angeles is hoping to have Landon Donovan back in the lineup after the Galaxy captain missed the matches against D.C. United and Toronto FC with knee inflammation. Donovan announced on his Twitter account that he is "hopeful" that he will be able to play a role this weekend against the Fire.
Here is a look at more news from around the Western Conference:
Ze Roberto rumors have resurfaced with the Hamburg midfielder being linked to Chivas USA after being linked extensively to the New York Red Bulls for the past two seasons. In practice on Thursday, head coach Robin Fraser admitted that on some stage, negotiations had taken place.
Chivas USA trialist Jason Banton has returned to Liverpool after his week long trial, in which he scored a goal for the Rojiblancos in a reserve match on Sunday. The club is still in negotiations with the 18-year-old to bring him to the team.
The Rapids fell in their first Rocky Mountain clash of the season, but head coach Gary Smith was pleased with the effort that the team showed in the 1-0 loss; however, he saved his judgement for the fatful Fabian Espindola goal, which he believed was offside.
FC Dallas has been searching for a replacement for Dax McCarty and it appears that he may just have found one in Andrew Jacobsen. Hyndman admits that Jacobsen may very well be the connector in midfield that the club has lacked since losing McCarty to the expansion draft.
Preparations are coming to a close as the Portland Timbers will play their first match against the Chicago Fire on Thursday night (11 p.m., ESPN2) at the newly renovated JELD-WEN Field. The club has undergone a number of preparations to get ready for this date including: protecting a feral cat colony that lives within the stadium to setting up an extensive pyrotechnical display.
Tune in a little early to the broadcast to see the Timbers Army sing the Star Spangled Banner before kick off of the inaugural match.
REAL SALT LAKE
These are heady times in Salt Lake right now after the club qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League final and defeated their archrival all in the span of 10 days. Despite all the victories, that doesn't mean that the team is without holes in the line up. One potential depth question is at left back behind starter Chris Wingert.
To rectify this, RSL has brought in former New England Revolution defender Seth Sinovic on trial. Sinovic played the last season with New England after being drafted in 2010 out of Creighton. Sinovic was also a college teammate of RSL defender Chris Schluer.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
At the start of the preseason, the Earthquakes knew that they needed to find a second legitimate scoring option to Chris Wondolowski. It appears that Tottenham Hotspur product Simon Dawkins just may be that option. Dawkins has scored two goals in 2011, which is level with Wondolowski's total for this year.
One of the most contentious issues surrounding the Sounders has been the turf playing surface at Qwest Field. The turf has been a source of great criticism for the last two and a half years, and this has led the Sounders to evaluate whether a grass field will be a viable option for the stadium.
The Whitecaps might not have gotten the result they hoped for in Sunday's loss to the Houston Dynamo, but three of the team's younger players made their MLS debuts in the match. Omar Salgado, Jeb Brovsky and Mouloud Akloul stepped onto the pitch for the first time in league play, with Brovsky starting and going the full 90 minutes and Salgado and Akloul each coming on as second-half substitutes.