Rapids-Galaxy Preview

The Associated Press

Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is used to being short-handed, and now he'll have two more starters out this weekend.

The Galaxy will be without Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez on Saturday night when they host the winless Colorado Rapids.

Keane is with Ireland and Gonzalez with the United States on international duty, opening up two spots in Arena's lineup. He's already without star Landon Donovan, whose exact return date to the Galaxy (1-0-1) is not known.

"We're clearly making two changes," Arena told the league's official website. "However many more remains to be seen."

It's possible Jack McBean could get his first start of the year. The 18-year-old forward scored the Galaxy's goal in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Chivas USA.

"Jack's been finishing his chances," teammate Mike Magee said. "He's definitely a guy who needs some minutes, and we believe if he gets a chance, he'll score a goal."

Magee had a hat trick in a 4-0 rout of Chicago in the March 3 opener, with Keane getting the other tally. The Irishman led Los Angeles with 22 goals last season, including six in the postseason, and he's now the team captain in the absence of Donovan and David Beckham.

"It's going to be tough (without Keane)," midfielder Jose Villarreal said. "We're going to miss his leadership and his goal-scoring ability."

Los Angeles is 4-0-1 in its last five meetings with Colorado (0-2-1), one of five winless teams remaining in MLS.

The Rapids will be without goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who is out for at least three months after breaking his left forearm in last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake. Clint Irwin made his MLS debut in replacing Pickens in that match.

Coach Oscar Pareja will choose between Irwin and Steward Ceus, who started in place of an injured Pickens in a 1-0 loss at FC Dallas in the season opener.

Colorado is hoping captain Pablo Mastroeni will be available. Mastroeni missed the trip to Utah with a hamstring strain, but has returned to training this week.

"It's feeling a lot better," he told the Rapids' official website.

Saturday's match could finally mark the Colorado debut of Danny Mwanga, acquired Feb. 28 from Portland. Mwanga has been training and looks set to take the field.

"Danny has been the good news this week," Pareja said. "He had a very good two weeks of training. I think he's another young guy that can help."

Colorado is seeking to avoid its first four-game winless start to a season since beginning 0-5-1 in 2003.

Pareja believes how his midfield fares against the Galaxy's Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas will be one of the keys to this match whether he has Mastroeni or not.

"I think we need to control Juninho and Sarvas," Pareja said. "They are very active in the middle. Other than that, our team needs to keep pushing for a good performance, defend better, be more solid, take the options and put the game away."

Galaxy fans probably won't see a familiar face in Rapids newcomer Edson Buddle, who is doubtful with a groin injury. Buddle scored three goals for Los Angeles in 2012 before being dealt to Colorado.

What to Read Next