Galaxy-Crew Preview

A four-match winless streak has weakened the Columbus Crew’s

hold on one of the top three spots in the Eastern Conference.

A visit from the league-best Los Angeles Galaxy might not help

them regain their grip.

The Galaxy will try to extend their unbeaten run to six games by

adding to the Crew’s woes Saturday night.

A 1-0 loss at Philadelphia last Saturday left Columbus 0-3-1 in

its last four. The Crew (11-10-8) had given up 12 goals in their

previous three games.

Another loss this week could send the Crew tumbling down the

standings and put them in real danger of falling to fourth in the

East. The top three teams in each conference get automatic playoff

berths and avoid starting the postseason with a single-elimination

game.

“There’s always ups and downs in a season,” midfielder Robbie

Rogers said. “We just need to keep our heads up and focus on

changing the momentum.”

That might prove difficult against the Galaxy (16-3-10), who are

4-0-1 in their last five league games and coming off consecutive

shutouts.

Los Angeles has already clinched a playoff berth but is seeking

its second straight Supporters’ Shield. Columbus won that trophy in

2008 and 2009.

“I like the attitude of our players,” coach Bruce Arena said.

“Hopefully we can keep a couple of them fresh as we move

forward.”

Mike Magee scored twice during a 3-0 win over Vancouver last

Saturday and goalkeeper Josh Saunders helped his team post its 15th

clean sheet of the season, two shy of matching the MLS record set

by Kansas City in 2000.

“The whole group, they’ve been outstanding,” Arena said of his

defense.

Former English Premier League forward Robbie Keane added his

second goal since joining the team Aug. 15 and an assist.

“He’s doing great,” Magee said. “He gives us a great outlet and

he’s dangerous at all times. Even when our backs are up against the

wall, he poses a threat.”

Keane will try to help his club to its first win in three road

games and a series-best second in a row at Columbus. The Galaxy

prevailed 2-0 there in 2010 and earned their third straight victory

over the Crew on July 20. Sean Franklin scored the lone goal during

a 1-0 win at the Home Depot Center.

The Galaxy won three straight league games over Columbus from

July 30, 2003-April 24, 2004, but have never won four in a row.

The Crew are 8-3-4 all-time against Los Angeles at home.