Columbus-LA: Breaking down the Battle of the Best

MLSsoccer.com looks at every aspect of the Columbus-LA match

 

Columbus


Los Angeles

Although he’s generally solid, William Hesmer is prone to the occasional error in judgment.

GK

EDGE:

The best goalkeeper in MLS is Jamaican. Donovan Ricketts is decisive, sure-handed and rarely caught by surprise.
The Crew back line is shorthanded. Frankie Hejduk and Danny O’Rourke are expected to be out and it is uncertain if Chad Marshall will start. The lack of speed from Andy Iro and left back Gino Padula leaves them susceptible to the counter, the Galaxy’s preferred weapon.

D

EDGE:

The Galaxy defensive unit is statistically the best in the league. How it maintains its shape while containing the Crew’s flank play will prove the biggest challenge for Omar Gonzalez & Co.

If the Galaxy have the best defense in MLS, the Crew have the most complete midfield, featuring ex-MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven on the wings are the keys to getting behind the Galaxy back line and breaking down LA.

M

EDGE:

The Los Angeles midfield is a hard working and busy bunch with the likes of Chris Birchall, Michael Stephens and possibly Sean Franklin. Juninho will be relied upon to spark quick counters.

Lenhart again can be expected to act as the lone forward, battling every ball like few do in MLS. The club’s list of subs at forward is unmatched in MLS with the likes of Emilio Renteria, Jason Garey and Sergio Herrera.

F

EDGE:

The breakaway speed of Tristan Bowen will determine how effective the LA attack will really be. All the other names (Clint Mathis, Jovan Kirovski, Mike Magee) will have a marginal impact compared to Bowen.

Columbus has a variety of weapons off the bench from Emmanuel Ekpo to a selection of three forwards with speed (Renteria) and quality (Herrera).

BENCH

EDGE:

The Galaxy have experience and quality in reserve which is good enough to kill off a game. But the personnel available are not game changers.

Robert Warzycha will not be afraid to be aggressive at home against a Galaxy team missing its stars. Columbus has been on the ropes several times this season but has always found a way to hold on or fight back.

COACH

EDGE:

Bruce Arena has built this team with his own hands and they have been dominant like few teams in the history of the league. That said, it would be a real test if the Galaxy had to chase the game for the first time in 2010.