The Galaxy travel to the capitol for one of the more feisty matchups in MLS. Both teams can count on international stars again, after key absences last week.
D.C. United: United’s defense has conceded six goals in the last two games, but right back Chris Korb has excelled in his first two matches as a pro. Korb was thrown into the fire against New England, and looked comfortable at the right back position, moving up and down the flank to provide support in attack. He reproduced that form last week against Colorado, and added a wonderful assist for United’s goal to boot.
Los Angeles: David Beckham played surprisingly well in a different role last week for the Galaxy, manning the central section of the field. His passes created more opportunities for the wing players, and his excellent service led to the game's only goal. In a match that turned defensive early in the second half due to a red card, he ran hard for the entire time he was on the field.
United: Pat Onstad wasn’t culpable for any of the goals in United’s first two games, but his performance against Colorado had some calling for the ‘keeper’s head. With Bill Hamid back to fitness, and Steve Cronin quickly working his way back, Onstad will have to prove he can still help United, otherwise it will be back to the coach’s bench for the formerly retired ‘keeper.
Los Angeles: The Galaxy forwards still account for only a single goal this season - and that in a losing effort. The offense needs to pick it up. The pressure shouldn't be all on star Juan Pablo Angel, but with his experience and price tag, a lot is expected of him.
United: In three games this season, United has already accomplished a feat they only managed once last year – scoring in three straight league games. However, United still lack a threat through the middle of the attack, which was painfully evident against Colorado. Chris Pontius was used in that role against Colorado, but was missing from action until he was taken out of the game. The answer might actually lie with giving Andy Najar a shot there. Since joining the first team, he’s exclusively been used out wide in midfield, but the youngster has the abilities to create opportunities for teammates.
Los Angeles: Just to mess with D.C. a bit, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena could well return Beckham to a role on the wing, The Galaxy have kept their young sparkplugs, Paolo Cardozo and Miguel Lopez, mostly under wraps, though Lopez got a bit of a run out last week. With less to lose in an away game context, Arena may give out more opportunites.
United: After missing the past two games while being with the USA U20 side, Perry Kitchen might be rejoining the team following the USA’s game on Wednesday. His presence might be needed against Los Angeles, although there will be a question about how fit he will be, after traveling from Guatemala.
Los Angeles: Landon Donovan has been a bit subdued of late, not scoring yet in the season, and absent from a few team practices this week. Yet it seems he plays some of his best games versus D.C. The fans rile him up and that seems to provoke a good performance. If so, that may be what he needs to get on track.
Steven Streff: Neither team has looked overly impressive since their wins on the first matchday of the season. But there will be more pressure on United to get the job done at home after two losses. Neither team will want a loss, so it ends in a 1-1 draw.
Andrea Canales: I see a draw in this one, with Angel scoring a goal and Charlie Davies answering back.
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