Preview: New England Revolution at Los Angeles Galaxy
By Sean Donahue
Both the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New England Revolution
have built up solid teams and are considered contenders for winning their
divisions. Los Angeles has made up for the loss of playmaker Mauricio
Cienfuegos with the addition of Austrian Andreas Herzog, while also adding U.S.
International forward Jovan Kirovski to pair up front with Carlos Ruiz. New
England has kept their starting 11 that lead them to their first winning record,
while adding some depth in the forms of Irish midfielder Richie Baker and
versatile rookie Clint Dempsey.
Los Angeles failed to win a single game on the road last
season and finished a disappointing 9-12-9 last year, after winning MLS Cup in
2002. The Galaxy did not lose any key players going into 2002, so many blamed
the poor record on the Galaxy’s 8 road games to start the season. Carlos Ruiz
has proven himself to be a dangerous goal scorer for the Galaxy, but has had
too much of the scoring burden put on him without an adequate partner up front.
The Galaxy will be hoping Jovan Kirovski can take some of the burden off Ruiz
and make their offense less predictable this season. If the Galaxy can get off
to a good start this season and find ways to win on the road, they should be
able to challenge San Jose for first place in the West. The Galaxy may have
some problems with injury as they face the Revolution with stars Cobi Jones,
Carlos Ruiz and Hong Myung-Bo all potentially missing the Galaxy’s first game.
New England finished 2003 with a 12-9-9 record, the first
winning record in team history. The Revs made it to the MLS Cup in 2002 and
expectations were high for the Revs in 2003, but injuries to Taylor Twellman,
Joe-Max Moore, Joe Franchino and other key players led them to exit the
play-offs in the semifinals at the hands of Chicago Fire. With 2002 and 2003
Revolution leading scorer Taylor Twellman healthy, along with the Revolution’s
all-time leading scorer Joe-Max Moore set to pair up with him in the front, the
Revs offense looks to be very dangerous. The Revs midfield will be led by
playmaker Jose Cancela, who is quickly earning a reputation as the best
playmaker in the league. Steve Ralston will once again provide great crosses
from the right wing, while Shalrie Joseph will look to build off of an amazing
rookie season at the central defensive midfield spot. Richie Baker and Pat
Noonan will challenge Brian Kamler for his spot on the left side of the
midfield. Speed and composure in the Revs back-line is their one major concern.
None of the Revs defenders are exceptionally fast and all have earned
reputations as being hotheaded. Rusty Pierce and Carlos Llamosa are both injury
prone and no new defenders were brought in to add depth. With key losses to last
year’s Eastern Conference Champions, the Chicago Fire, the Revs are favored to
win the East this year. The Revs will have some injury trouble against LA with
Carlos Llamosa, Richie Baker, Brian Kamler and Shalrie Joseph all possibly
missing the Revs’ season opener.
Both teams should have great seasons and make it far into
the playoffs, but key injuries in the Galaxy’s line-up could give the Revs an
advantage. The game can be seen live on FSW at 7PM PT, 10PM ET.
Prediction: 3-1, Revs put away their chances and win in a