Galaxy 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.