Rematch of 2009 MLS final.
Real Salt Lake: RSL's offense continues to click, averaging two goals per game. The defense is also playing some good soccer - they have only allowed four shots on goal in their last two games. Alvaro Saborio appears to be rounding into form and could be poised to break out in the near future: Not only did he score a clutch game-winner in the 94th minute to salvage a draw with the Sounders, but he had several other good opportunities and looked dangerous during his entire stint last week.
Galaxy: It's week four and the Galaxy (3-0-0) is having the greatest start in years. So far we've seen the Brazilian Triple Threat (Alex Cazumba, Leonardo, and Juninho) get acclimated to their new setting, a superstar goal scorer (Landon Donovan) inherit a new role as playmaker, and the rise in skill and talent of L.A.'s only goal scorer (Edson Buddle). He's in such a hot streak right now that Galaxy owner Philip Anschutz should consider renaming the team to The Buddles, Buddle FC, or Buddle United. Any one of those could work.
Real Salt Lake: The midfield is a bit disjointed at the minute, allowing opponents too much space when defending and missing too many passes on the attack. The fact that half the starting midfield (Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy) will miss the LA game with injuries will not help in that area.
Galaxy: In the past three matches the Galaxy have exhibited flaws in their passing and execution of plays; but with each game they have shown improvement. However, what is a concern is that goaltender Donovan Ricketts has yet to be tested. With three games gone, he's only made three saves, one of which he fumbled straight to Maicon Santos of the Goats, though he skyscrapered it over the net. The other positions on the Galaxy have been tested and passed; it's up to Ricketts to show everyone he belongs there.
Real Salt Lake: Nelson Gonzalez will likely fill in for Grabavoy in the midfield, but don't expect much of a dropoff in performance - Gonzalez has been playing very well as a substitute. The question will be how well does Andy Williams fill the void created by the injury to Morales? Williams still shows signs of brilliance, but he probably can't go 90 minutes. It will also be interesting to see how RSL try to deal with Edson Buddle - my guess is Jamison Olave will cover him most of the time. That should be a great matchup.
Galaxy: The team is trained to be fast and strong, followed by patience and mental prowess. In the past two matches L.A. has come out blazing and going for goal. After taking the lead they've played conservatively, biding their time, waiting for their opponents to make a mistake and then they attack like a rattlesnake surprising their prey. Therefore, expect a 4-3-3 formation as skipper Bruce Arena will start having other forwards get their feet wet and a bit of flirting with a 4-5-1 set up when they have the lead. In the back line we might see Omar Gonzales, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin, and AJ DeLaGarza. Dema Kovalenko, Mike Magee and Alex Cazumba could man the middle. As for the front line, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle and Tristan Bowen.
Real Salt Lake: Since this is a rematch of last year's MLS Cup Final, there should be a little extra motivation for RSL to prove it wasn't a fluke. And while the Home Depot Center hasn't been kind to Real historically, LA was one of their two road wins last season.
Galaxy: Although it's a new season L.A. still has a bone to pick with RSL, what with last years Cup final and all. The Galaxy has one message for them dictating they are not the same team they matched up against last Fall. Thanking to Arena, this Galaxy team is better, stronger, faster and with a three game victory momentum on their side they are going to display that come Saturday at the Home Depot Center.
Real Salt Lake: Real Salt Lake 0-2 LA Galaxy (Buddle, Donovan) - LA will have more motivation to win this game after losing to RSL in MLS Cup, and they are currently the hottest team in MLS right now. The losses of Morales and Grabavoy will end up being too much for RSL to overcome. RSL will do a decent job containing Buddle, yet he will still score one. And with all their attention focused on Buddle, Donovan will have more freedom and will open his 2010 account.
Galaxy: It's going to be an emotional match, but with the Riot Squad, Angel City Brigade and the rest of the Los Angeles faithful in the bleachers cheering them on, don't expect the Galaxy to lose. L.A. takes it 3-1. And what the hell... Buddle nets all three.
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