Tuesday’s column: Galaxy gameday & more

i-001254dd0f7d4491f87033b522d21279-arenaportrait.jpgGalaxy guy: Coach Bruce Arena has rebuilt the Galaxy – but can the team win MLS Cup this year ? We’ll begin to find out tonight as the MLS season opens in Seattle with the Sounders playing LA (AP Photo).

*Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN for the 16th MLS season featuring the earliest start date in league history.

*Fan group the LA Riot Squad will host a viewing party at Cheapshot’s, 941 E. 4th St.,
Long Beach. Free pulled pork sandwiches for attendees, apparently, as well as $3 Guinness pints and 15% of sales donated to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

*Fan group Angel City Brigade will congregate at the Off-Campus Pub in Carson opposite Home Depot Center.

*Other viewing spots that have come across my radar: Dillon’s Irish Pub at Hollywood & Vine with $3 pints and Gallagher’s Pub & Grill. 2751 E. Broadway, Long Beach with $3 domestic pints, 2-for-1 burgers and Galaxy giveaways.

*Notable: A record six designated players could take the field tonight.

*Quotable: The key to tonight’s game, according to Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena – taking the incredible fan support Seattle enjoys at Qwest Field out of the game. A 33rd consecutive MLS sell-out with a crowd in excess of 36,000 expected –

“It’s a great venue to play in and certainly one that’s real positive for the Seattle team,” he said. “We have to battle the situation, not only on the field, but in the stands as well. So the way we come out on the field is going to help set the tone.”

*Reporter Phil Collin has the game preview.

*The Seattle Times has the Sounders perspective.

*In today’s column I focused on the man most responsible for the rebirth of the Galaxy following the hapless low the team reached as recently as 2008 – Coach Arena.

*Defender and now Assistant Coach Gregg Berhalter said he is gaining new insights into the way Arena operates as a result of his new role:

“It’s an opportunity for me to see how he works,” he said. “You get a sense of that as a player, but to be behind closed doors and to actually see how he operates is fascinating. He’s very organized, he’s thinking ahead. Sometimes as player you don’t really pick up on those things, but as a coach getting to see behind the scenes (you see) he’s really planning things out ahead of time and you can see some moves and some things that might happen really before they happen.

“You have to remain calm in certain situations because it’s a long year and I think he does that well,” Berhalter added. “He understands that. He just takes everything in stride. You see how he adjusts on the fly.”

*While the playing status of midfielder Brad Evans and striker Steve Zakuani are game time decisions for Seattle, the Galaxy has injury concerns of their own when it comes to goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, although I suspect he will play.

*If you missed the coverage here leading up the game check out:

A tactical break-down of the game from a Seattle perspective.

A team by team MLS preview.

A look at the state of the league in 2011.

An update from the final day of training camp in Carson – and a blast from the past.

Enjoy the game.

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  • Benny Dargle

    Allen Hopkins is reporting the Juan Pablo Angel and Omar Gonzalez are both OUT for tonight’s game against the Sounders, plus Ricketts is questionable. What the heck happend to JPA and Omar? Did Pete V take them out in a single swoop during his training in LA?

  • Studs Up

    Less than stellar reporting and analysis as usual. Everyone keeps stating the obvious when previewing the Galaxy. There are more concerns than who will be partering with JPA upfront. The main concern upfront is who can step in for Angel cause he’ll need a lot of relief for sure.

    The key team issue should be the defense. Everyone ASSumes it will be trouble free. Based on last year questions are: has Leonardo settled enough in MLS life to be able to partner consistantly and reliably with Omar? How about his communicattion skills in the center of that action? Has Franklin’s game peeked already? Has Omar’s reading of the game improved enough to not get cought out of position as much? Can Saunders be relied on to take over for the easily injured Ricketts? I don’t even want to think of Frankie Goes to Hollywood at this stage. With all the goals LA has given up to lowly preseason opponents, their defense will have to improve. And by the way, they’re playing on wet carpet tonite. Hold your collective breaths.

  • Thanks. Just retweeted that news from Mr. Hopkins. I was at practice Sunday and specifically asked if there were any injury concerns except for Ricketts and was told, no.

    Gonzalez participated in the entire training session and looked fine; Angel left a little early, but then so did a few other players.

    Go figure.

  • Studs Up

    Yikes, my earlier comments were made before the Benny heads-up was posted. I didn’t really want to find the answer to all my questions in the first game. I should have kept my thought to myself. I hope I didn’t jinx them.

    Go Galaxy, beat them Soundly anyways. Barrett is my new hero!