For the Los Angeles Galaxy, the MLS postseason kicks off with a Knockout Round game against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Nov. 1 at the Home Depot Center. If they lose, they will be eliminated from the playoffs. If they win, they will have a shot at winning their second consecutive MLS Cup Championship. Here are my four questions for the match.
Are Beckham and Donovan Fit Enough?
David Beckham and Landon Donovan faced injuries in October. Becks was suffering from an ankle flare up from an injury he originally sustained against the Whitecaps on Sept. 1. Donovan suffered a knee bone bruise in the match against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 6. Despite missing the game against the Quakes, both players got minutes in the Galaxy's season finale against the Sounders on Oct. 28. Donovan was able to go the full 90 and Becks came out right after the one hour mark. The DP duo are both still listed as questionable on the Oct. 30 MLS injury report. Hopefully, both will be fit enough to go the distance against the 'Caps.
Will we Continue to Dominate the 'Caps?
The Galaxy are heavily favored to win the knockout stage match. Although Vancouver was No. 5 in the MLS Power rankings in Week 9, the 'Caps have won just one out of their last 10 games. The Galaxy have been victorious in six of their last ten regular season games. Furthermore, they have defeated the Whitecaps twice this season at home and recorded a draw with the Canadian team on the road. Since 2003, "LA have a 9-1-0 record in 10 all-time postseason matches played at the HDC." Even more convincing is the idea that the 'Caps have never scored on L.A. at the Home Depot Center. Yet, history isn't the only thing that matters. In order to win, the Galaxy will have to play smart and finish their scoring opportunities.
Will Robson and Miller Start on the Bench?
Barry Robson and Kenny Miller make a combined salary of $1.8 million a season. Yet, that didn't stop Martin Rennie from benching the two DPs against RSL. Robson came in for 19 minutes and Miller stepped on the field for 12. Yet, it didn't seem to matter who was on the field as the 'Caps battled to a scoreless draw. For the latter half of the season, it seems to be the same old story for Vancouver. In fact, they have only scored seven goals in the last ten matches. Still, perhaps these underdogs will come to the HDC with some fight left in them.
Can Meyer Handle It?
With A.J. DeLaGarza likely out for most of the postseason, some of the responsibility to keep the backline impermeable will fall on rookie Tommy Meyer. Meyer hasn't been perfect. However, he did go the full 90 against the Sounders when the Galaxy recorded their first clean sheet since mid-September.
After making a comeback in the 2012 season, it would be a huge disappointment if our playoff run ended in the Knockout Round.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.
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