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Saturday, April 2, 2011
GALAXY: Better effort needed vs. Union

By Scott French

The Galaxy will want to show their home supporters they've put last week's disaster at Real Salt Lake behind them, and David Beckham believes they will when they take on surprise Eastern Conference leader Philadelphia on Saturday night at Home Depot Center.


L.A. (1-1-1) is coming off a 4-1 defeat at RSL that could have, and probably should have, been far worse. L.A. was down, 2-0, by the 10th minute, had surrendered a third before halftime and never provided any real competition for their Western Conference rival. Beckham called it “humiliating” and “kind of embarrassing.”

“It was a bad game for us,” he said. “I don't think there's an huge separation between our two teams. Obviously, Salt Lake, they're a very good soccer team. They play the ball around well, they work well together, they've got that unity. And we've got all those attributes, but on the day we just didn't perform.

“We turned up and it was a little bit windy, little bit cold, and we wasn't ready to just go at it. That's one of the things we can't have happen. If you're not ready for a fight, not ready to play, you're going to get walked over. And we did. Simple as that.”

The Galaxy hopes to be closer to full strength against the Union. Landon Donovan is back from U.S. national team duty, and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and center back Omar Gonzalez have been participating more fully in training and might be considered for starting roles.

More important for the Galaxy is to start the game with better concentration. They gave up a goal to New England just 2 minutes, 32 seconds into their home opener, a 1-1 draw; RSL needed only 1:15 to score.

“Obviously, the players are well aware in the last two games, obviously, that we can't concede early and we have to be smart at the beginning of games, and it wasn't accomplished,” head coach Bruce Arena said. “But it will get accomplished this week. I'm pretty sure of that.”

Arena said it's been a good week in training “in terms of getting some things corrected. Beckham agreed.

“The first couple of days [in training this week] were about getting our heads right and getting ourselves back in the game, because I think there were many things that were wrong, wrong in that Salt Lake game,” Beckham said. “The biggest things were our attitudes and our start of the game. That can only be changed on game day, but the work rate this week has been important.

“We've worked hard, we've been at each other. We know we have to pick it up. If we don't, we're going to end up losing a lot more games like that.”

INJURY LIST: Forward Adam Cristman (knee surgery) is on the disabled list, and defender Gregg Berhalter (sprained knee) also is out. No. 1 goalkeeper Ricketts (hamstring strain) remains questionable, and Gonzalez (sprained shoulder) is again listed as probable, but we'll see.

PHILADELPHIA UNION

Head coach

Three key players

Current form/prospects

Local connections

Missing

At Home Depot Center (Carson), 7:30 p.m. PT
TV:
Fox Sports West
Radio: K-Talk (KTLK/1150) and ESPN Deportes (KWKW/1330, Spanish)
Referee: Paul Ward