Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. Columbus Crew
Venue: StubHub Center – Saturday, September 3 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)
Match Odds: LA Galaxy 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Columbus Crew 100/30
The Galaxy are in a poor run of form, going winless through their last six games. They’ve drawn five of those, playing out a 0-0 draw with Vancouver last Saturday.
Bruce Arena has lost Gyasi Zardes for the season and won’t be able to call upon the services of Robbie Keane or Steven Gerrard this weekend, so squad depth is really being tested.
LA are eight points behind FC Dallas at the top of the West but do have a game in hand, so a win this weekend would give them a real boost.
Columbus have had a terrible season to this point. It’s incredible to think that virtually the same group of players reached the MLS Cup final last term.
The Crew do come into this one on a high after ended their seven-game home winless streak with a 2-0 win over San Jose last weekend. Justin Meram scored one and assisted the other in that victory but he is away on international duty this week.
Columbus are six points off the playoff places in the East and need to rally if they are to make the postseason. But they have the second-worst away form in MLS this term, so taking anything away from StubHub on Saturday would have to be seen as a great result.
Last season’s only meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in Columbus. LA Galaxy have won five of the last eight meetings between the teams, with two draws. The only win for the Black and Yellow in that time came two years ago.
LA Galaxy will be without defender Jelle Van Damme as he is sidelined with a knee sprain, while Gyasi Zardes is out for the season with a broken metatarsal. Steven Gerrard is also sidelined as he is struggling with a hamstring problem. Robbie Keane played his final Republic of Ireland friendly on Wednesday and is unlikely to be back in time to play on Saturday night.
Columbus Crew have a long injury list to worry about with Matt Pacifici and Ben Swanson both ruled out, while Gaston Sauro, Waylon Francis, Wil Trapp and Conor Casey are all doubts. On top of that, Tony Tchani, Harrison Afful, Justin Meram and Rodrigo Saravia are all away on international duty.
LA Galaxy’s last five: D/D/L/D/D
Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/W/L/W
Key Stat: LA Galaxy is unbeaten in five-straight home games against Columbus. The Crew have not won away at Saturday’s opponents since June 2007.
Key Player: Giovani Dos Santos – LA have a number of key men out so the pressure will be on Giovani Dos Santos to deliver for the home side here. He only has two goals in his last ten MLS games so he needs to start producing more regularly if LA are to make a surge for the Western Conference title over the final few weeks.
LA Galaxy 1-1 Columbus Crew – Both sides are very far from being full strength as a result of injuries and international call-ups so this is a tough one to call. LA Galaxy are strong at home and still haven’t lost at home all season. That’s unlikely to change against a Crew side that has only won one of their 11 away games this term. Score draw.