After a long break, the Los Angeles Galaxy will try to pick up a much-needed win against the Portland Timbers on June 17 at the Home Depot Center. With Josh Saunders recently cleared for action with the first team, the Galaxy should receive a vital boost.
Due to stress, Saunders was taking part in Major League Soccer's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health treatment program. The last game he played in was against the Colorado Rapids on April 21. Since then Bill Gaudette and Brian Perk have been taking turns in goal.
Josh Saunders has played the full 90 minutes in six regular season games this year. Interestingly enough, out of those six games the Galaxy posted three wins. Since he's been gone, we've had five losses and two draws. There seems to be a connection there. One of the 31-year-old's most memorable moments was his save against Omar Cummings' penalty kick attempt. The save preserved the Galaxy's 2-1 lead over the Colorado Rapids. It's inspiring victories like this that can motivate a team.
An Improved Outlook
During training Saunders has been smiling more. Perhaps this improved outlook will help him be successful in goal. Saunders has already helped our Reserve Team take home two recent wins. He played the full 90 in the Reserve League's 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps and a 2-1 victory over Portland.
Against Portland, the Galaxy will be missing suspended players Mike Magee, Michael Stephens and Hector Jimenez. Omar Gonzalez, Andrew Boyens, and Adam Cristman are all out with injuries. Dan Keat and Edson Buddle are recovering from knee surgeries. Bryan Gaul and Juninho are both questionable. Finally, Robbie Keane is still taking part in Euro 2012. With all of these absences, it will be hard to put together a strong lineup for the June 17 game. At least we will have plenty of keepers available.
Saunders our Best Bet
I hope Bruce Arena decides to start Saunders over Perk. Saunders has saved 64 percent of the on frame shots while Perk's save percentage is 54. Furthermore, Saunders has 1.67 goals against average while Perk has let in an average of 1.75 per game.
Considering we are riding a three-game losing streak in regular season matches, Saunders' availability is refreshing news indeed.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.
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