Galaxy-Red Bulls Preview
The Los Angeles Galaxy ended a brief losing streak with a convincing win but likely won't have it as easy against their next opponent.
The Galaxy have struggled in recent regular-season matchups with the New York Red Bulls, who will try to extend a five-game unbeaten run Sunday.
Los Angeles (5-3-2) blew out Philadelphia 4-1 on Wednesday as Landon Donovan had a goal and two assists in his 200th game with the club. Robbie Keane had a goal and an assist in his return from an ankle injury.
"Landon's due to get in a streak and start playing well, and, obviously, Robbie makes us a better team, there's no question about that," coach Bruce Arena told the league's website. "But we're not naive enough to believe that we've arrived, and we've got a lot of work to do."
The Galaxy's attempt to keep heading in the right direction will come against a New York team that's 4-0-1 since April 20. Despite a handful of key players sitting out, the Red Bulls (6-4-3) kept their unbeaten run going by responding quickly to a New England goal last Saturday.
After his team gave up a score in the 54th minute, Lloyd Sam found the net in the 55th. Heading into a three-game homestand, New York has outscored its past five opponents 10-4 after getting outscored 11-9 in its first eight games.
"I'm happy with the way we're going and the way we're progressing," midfielder Tim Cahill said. "The consistency and discipline on defense has been there. It's now on us to make sure we continue that against L.A."
Thierry Henry, Jamison Olave and Juninho could return after skipping last week's game because of fatigue.
"My concern is mostly about the amount of games that we've played and the amount of minutes that certain players have played," coach Mike Petke told the league's website. "My priority and loyalty is to the club first, so I'll do anything I can with the best team that we can on the field and no matter who it is will be the best situation that we can go with."
With their help, the Red Bulls will try to build on a 3-0-1 record in their last four regular-season games against Los Angeles. They won 1-0 in last season's only meeting May 5 in California.
The Galaxy beat New York twice during the 2011 playoffs en route to the first of their back-to-back league championships.
"They had a slow start but they seem to be picking it up. They're certainly a tough team," Keane said. "We obviously know the players they have and the threat they can cause us. This is, by no means, going to be an easy game. It's going to be a tough game."
Los Angeles is visiting Red Bull Arena for the first time since a 1-0 playoff victory Oct. 30, 2011. New York won 2-0 in the most recent regular-season matchup there Oct. 4, 2011.