Galaxy cap difficult stretch
The MLS schedule makers didn't do the Los Angeles Galaxy any favors by lining up three games in eight days with cross-country travel involved. Capping that difficult stretch at home against league-worst Sporting Kansas City may be a welcome relief despite the teams' recent history.
Tired and jet-lagged, the Galaxy look to end a five-match winless streak against Kansas City on Saturday night.
Los Angeles (4-2-5) let a late lead slip away Wednesday in Philadelphia, allowing a goal in the 83rd minute in a 1-all draw. The match was a quick turnaround from last Saturday's 1-all tie at home against New York, and the Galaxy will have less rest for this match.
They're 0-2-3 in the last five meetings with Kansas City, last winning in the series May 24, 2008.
Landon Donovan has scored Los Angeles' last five goals, netting one in the 24th minute Wednesday. David Beckham did not play and remained in Los Angeles to rest for Saturday's match.
"Playing two games like this is hard, and then, when you throw in six hours of travel, it makes it very difficult," Donovan told the team's official website. "But our guys did a really good job finding the energy and now we have even shorter rest for Saturday and another flight home, so we have to be ready."
Allowing the late goal may be attributed to the Galaxy's tired legs, though coach Bruce Arena refused to make excuses. His team has allowed four goals in the final 10 minutes this season, with three of those scores costing the Galaxy points in the standings.
"The result is very disappointing," Arena said. "We should have won this game by two or three goals. We missed a bunch of chances, the referee missed a penalty on the goalkeeper. We had plenty of chances to get to 2-0."
Unlike Los Angeles, Kansas City is well-rested, not having played since April 30.
Kansas City (1-4-1) missed opportunities in that match as well, falling 1-0 to New York to extend its winless streak to five. Graham Zusi had a great chance in the 60th minute, but his point-blank shot sailed over the crossbar.
"We were right around the box and we got a couple of really good sniffs here or there," coach Peter Vermes said. "In the end, we didn't have the finish."
Vermes made a change to the defense and plans to stick with it against the Galaxy. Aurelien Collin and Julio Cesar replaced Jimmy Nielsen and Matt Besler, though Vermes said the change was not a reflection of poor play but rather a chance to try different combinations with his struggling squad.
"(It was) nothing earth shattering, just a decision to go that way," Vermes said. "I feel good that we now have a good contingency of central defenders so if someone does go down, we've got guys that can go in and play just as well."
Los Angeles is 2-0-2 at home this season, while Kansas City's only victory came on the road in their season opener March 19 at Chivas USA.