Confident Galaxy prepared for New York challenge in quest for MLS Cup

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By ADAM SERRANO

The Los Angeles Galaxy have succeeded in every goal that they've set out for themselves this season thus far. Supporters' Shield? Check. Advancing to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League? Check. 

On Sunday against the New York Red Bulls, the Galaxy begin their assault on the last item of their list, an MLS Cup title. 

The Red Bulls won the season series with the Galaxy with a 1-0-1 record and are one of the league's in-form teams, having knocked out FC Dallas on Wednesday in their wild card matchup. With the Red Bulls boasting one of the league's most talented lineups, the Galaxy understand that they're in for a real battle.  

"Going in there is going to be a real challenge," Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. "I think they've done a good job of figuring out their weaknesses and addressing them. I think middle part of the year, defensively, they were all over the place, and now they seem to have done a really good job defending. They're hard to break down, they're hard to score against, and then when you have the talented players they have going forward, it makes it really difficult." 

Ahead of their matchup at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, the Galaxy's hopes were lifted as Robbie Keane trained with the first team during practice on Thursday and appeared sharp during an intra-squad scrimmage.

Keane was partnered alongside forward Chad Barrett, who admitted that Keane appeared like his old self despite training for only his second time since picking up an adductor injury while on international duty more than three weeks ago.

The initial injury timetable suggested that Keane would be out at least four weeks, but he may be ready to play a role off the bench on Sunday.

"Players like Robbie really don't lose their touch when they come back on the field," Barrett said. "They get their fitness back, and their touch is always there, which is nice."

Keane was not the only member of the Galaxy's triage unit that appeared fresh on Thursday, as Sean Franklin and Donovan both admitted that they are ready for action on Sunday. Franklin, who missed several weeks due to knee inflammation, has been training for two weeks and went 45 minutes in the Galaxy's defeat to the Houston Dynamo last Sunday. 

Donovan has been suffering with a strained quadriceps that caused him to miss Los Angeles' last three league matches and limited him to just 29 minutes in the Galaxy's Champions League fixture against Motagua last week. With the playoffs on the horizon, Donovan believes that he is fit and ready to go. 

"I feel great, actually," Donovan said. "My body feels as good as it has since probably the first day of preseason. Sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise. As painful as it is to have to watch, I'm eager to play, my fitness is good and hopefully I'll be able to play a part on Sunday."

The Galaxy head off to New York on Friday for the first leg of their playoff matchup against a team that has been labelled one of the most talented in MLS. Although Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream and the rest of New York's star-studded lineup will provide a significant challenge, the Galaxy enter the conference semifinal with supreme confidence.

"We've proven we're the team to beat, and we are," Barrett said. "Is it tough to go to New York? Of course it is. Do they have a great team? Of course they do. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. We're not going in there expecting to lose at all. We're going in, we're looking to put it to them, and we're going to give them the toughest test they've had all year, for sure.” 

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17 Responses to Confident Galaxy prepared for New York challenge in quest for MLS Cup

  1. spencer says:

    One question, is LA ready for the cold and snow?

  2. bryan says:

    I was going to ask that too. Snow storm projected for the I-95 corridor tomorrow. Heavy, wet snow. Could have an affect on LA, the game in general and attendance.

  3. bryan says:

    UGH, effect.

  4. Jeff says:

    Affect (verb) To influence something without causing it to happen.

    Effect (noun) Is the result that was accomplished or to directly cause something.

    I think you can argue the use of either word in this case. It changes the meaning slightly, but it certainly is not patently wrong.

  5. bryan says:

    haha yeah…in the end, people get the point. but i believe the word “an” before means the use of “effect” is needed. i could say, “The heavy/wet snow may affect LA, the game in general and attendance.”

    damn english.

  6. Camjam says:

    Well reasoned.

  7. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    I’m hoping The Galaxy with this matchup, and win the whole thing, because I think it will give MLS and Landon Donovan all the more reason to leave MLS and head off to Europe, which is where I really want to see him playing

  8. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Actually, the “have” does more work (as a verb), since “an” is just an article that must agree.

  9. Patrick says:

    I believe Bruce Arena said he wanted to win the Open Cup as well, so that’s a goal they didn’t meet.

  10. Mockatu says:

    “Supporters Shield” is downright moronic, sounds like an award for having the highest home field attendance. It should be “League Champion”.

  11. Greg G says:

    The title speaks volumes about its lack of importance or relevancy. Sounds cheap, like the “viewer’s choice award” versus an “Academy Award”. Dont get me wrong, I’m very impressed with the actual accomplishment; it’s much harder to achieve than a cup, but the shield winner really gets nothing out of it.

  12. tommcy says:

    I love that Serrano says Henry, Marquez, and REAM. Why mention Ream? Is he some superstar? No, he’s supposedly the next American superstar, who has regularly looked positively ordinary. Why not mention players who actually have a positive impact, like Richards or Lindpere? Don’t they deserve recognition for being the team no one wants to play? Just an observation, but worth considering…

  13. Lil' Zeke says:

    I’m glad we had this talk

  14. Supsam says:

    winners of the supporters shield get homefield advantage during most of the playoffs and an automatic berth to the group stages of champions league (hardly nothing). Besides prize money, what more does a MLS Cup winner get compared to the supporters shield winner?

  15. Gerald says:

    It was created by the supporters before the league started recognizing it

  16. georg says:

    Not much if any home field advantage for L.A. going into N.Y. for this match, so I see a N.Y. victory in this series. RSL knocks of Seattle in the other western conferance semi and we will see a repeat of the 08 western conferance final where RSL dispite controling the match could not find the goal.