Recovering Union look to slow Galaxy offense
The road grind continues for the Union and the opponent doesn’t get any easier.
Just days after dropping a heartbreaking road loss to the Houston Dynamo on a questionable and late penalty kick call, the Union flew directly to California to face the always-tricky LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday.
But instead of focus on the red-hot competition, coach John Hackworth is just trying to stay fresh.
“It first starts with making sure we utilize every possibility to regeneration and recovery from the past game,” said Hackworth, who is 1-2-0 in MLS play since taking over for Peter Nowak. “That has been done well on our part. We also have to make sure every single guy is dealt with individually. We’ll have to manage our roster and make sure as a team the guys we put out there are 100-percent ready to go. It’s a huge challenge during a long stretch of games, nine games in 27 days. We don’t have any choice and the guys understand that.”
Being able to compete at a high level is paramount for the Union against a defending MLS Champion Galaxy team that is 3-1 in its last four games, despite a 6-9-2 record.
Led by well-known players like Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Robbie Keane, David Beckham and Mike McGee, the Galaxy have scored 10 goals in their last four games and found the net at least three times in their last three games.
“[The key is] to not let them score three goals again us,” joked Hackworth. “Our defense has been pretty good, we have a challenge for sure, and we’re not happy we give up one legitimate goal and one questionable goal against Houston but our defense is playing well. If we correct some things we did on Saturday night, we’ll get a good result against LA.”
The Galaxy will be without Beckham on Wednesday as the star received a yellow card after kicking a ball at San Jose Earthquakes player Sam Cronin, who was on the ground. Beckham’s yellow-card accumulation means he is suspended against the Union. But that doesn’t mean Hackworth’s club is taking the Galaxy lightly.
“Anytime you have to deal with Donovan and Keane at the same time, you will have your hands full,” said Hackworth. “Two of the best international players at the top of their game right now, that will be a handful. But you also have McGee, who is has been fantastic offensively and a number of guys who can hurt you. Beckham won’t be on the field so that changes some things for us and for them.”
The Union will welcome back scorching striker Jack McInerney, who missed the Dynamo game with a stomach virus. McInerney has two goals in his last two MLS games.
“He is good, he’s over the stomach bug he had,” said Hackworth, who played Jorge Perlaza in his place on Saturday. “It’s unfortunate that it happened but it gave an opportunity to Perlaza, who was going to play in one of those two games. We expect Jack on Wednesday night.”