The two teams that have dominated MLS for the past three seasons meet on the first matchday of 2012 in a reprise of the 2011 Western Conference final.
LA Galaxy (4-4-2): Saunders; Dunivant, DeLaGarza, Meyer, Franklin; Magee, Beckham, Juninho, Donovan; Keane, Buddle.
OUT: FW Adam Cristman (concussion); DF Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery); MF Bryan Jordan (L hamstring strain); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); MF Kyle Nakazawa (tonsillectomy); MF Jose Villarreal (bilateral lower leg surgery)
|Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Rimando; Beltran, Olave, Schuler, Tanaka; Alvarez, Beckerman, Gil, Grabavoy; Espindola, Paulo Jr.||
OUT: MF Will Johnson (R adductor strain)
DOUBTFUL: DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain); DF Chris Wingert (facial laceration)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Javier Morales (R quadriceps strain); FW Álvaro Saborío (R knee internal injury); MF Jonny Steele (L knee internal injury)
||DID YOU KNOW?|
In 2011, these two teams met in the Western Conference final. In 2010 they finished with the most points in the MLS regular season. In 2009 they competed in the MLS Cup final.
- The last time they met, in the Western Conference final, LA won 2-1 en route to the MLS Cup. The sides split regular season games, each winning at home.
- LA's season has already started. Landon Donovan scored a late goal to secure a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
- Last year the Galaxy won the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup. This year the team re-signed David Beckham, re-acquired Edson Buddle and Juninho, and bought Marcelo Sarvas to improve. However, it lost Omar Gonzalez to a torn ACL, and the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year will miss the brunt of the season.
- RSL lost much of its depth this offseason, including Andy Williams (retired) and Robbie Russell (D.C. United). Experience was replaced with untested but athletic youth.
- RSL will miss the spine of the team for the first few games through injury, with several still recovering from offseason surgeries. However, Javi Morales (fractured leg) should play more than the 10 games he saw in 2010