It's time for everybody's favorite segment; Cross-over! (I think that's what we're calling it, you know, we haven't really nailed down a name yet.) Today we're chatting with Josie Becker, blog manager of LA Confidential about history, Beckham and more history.
Q: These two teams last met in the playoffs, with LA coming out on top. How different is this Galaxy team from the one the Whitecaps last saw?
A: Honestly it's very much the same. The last time the Whitecaps faced the Galaxy, LA trotted out the following lineup: Josh Saunders; Todd Dunivant, Omar Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer, Hector Jimenez; Landon Donovan, Juninho, David Beckham, Mike Magee; Robbie Keane, Edson Buddle.
Buddle is gone, he's with Colorado now and there are three youngsters that rotate in the position he used to fill. One of them, Jack McBean, is out with a fractured collarbone and another, Gyasi Zardes, is still getting his season started after his preseason was delayed by foot surgery. Jose Villarreal has shown well. Beckham's spot is filled by Marcelo Sarvas, who's been with the team since last year. Sean Franklin and A.J. DeLaGarza eventually recovered from the injuries that kept them from that wild card tilt and Josh Saunders is now a backup keeper with Real Salt Lake and Carlo Cudicini starts for the Galaxy.
So the Galaxy let Buddle and Saunders go elsewhere to be backups, brought in an aging goalkeeper, and let lose a group of young forwards.
Q: David Beckham essentially sold out BC Place when he played that game here. How has the club handled losing him?
A: Attendance is still about where it was, though sellouts are proving elusive. Juninho, Landon Donovan, and Sarvas all try and make up for part of what Beckham gave to the club, but not a one of him is as pinpoint accurate as Beckham. So it doesn't quite work, and anyhow LA's best free kick target is a center back and he kind of sticks out so teams have gotten to marking him pretty well.
The team plays the ball on the ground much more now, but lacks players who can stretch wide so thus far the book on defeating LA has been to pack the middle of the pitch. It doesn't always work at the wide expanse of The Home Depot Center, but there are a few clubs out there with narrow pitches who are built to be clubs who do well on narrow pitches.
Q: Finally, LA certainly has had Vancouver's number since the Whitecaps entered MLS. What does LA do so well against the Whitecaps?
A: They score more goals.
Q: Can I get a prediction?
A: 2-1 LA Galaxy