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Saturday, June 25, 2011
GALAXY: Ricketts back; not Beckham?

By Scott French

Donovan Ricketts ought to return to the Galaxy lineup Saturday afternoon in San Jose against the Earthquakes after missing three games, none of them losses, while leading Jamaica into the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals.

The achievement was more impressive than it sounds. The Reggae Boyz stomped the competition in Group B and headed to the knockout stage as one of two perfect sides, along with Mexico. But there they had to go against the U.S., and the big goalkeeper was the difference between the Americans' 2-0 victory and an eight- or nine-goal blowout.




His return certainly strengthens the Galaxy (9-2-7), but it's not as if goalkeeping was a problem while he was gone. Backup Josh Saunders has been solid in seven appearances, but Ricketts is the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and is atop the league with a 0.55 goals-against average.

“He's important for us,” forward Juan Pablo Angel said this week. “He's the best goalkeeper in the league, and it's good to have him back.”

Whether David Beckham will be available is another matter. The English midfielder missed last week's game at Colorado because of back spasms -- the Galaxy was fined $5,000 Friday for not including him on their injury report -- and he's listed as questionable this week.

The Galaxy don't announce their travel roster until just before game time, but coach Bruce Arena said Thursday it was likely Beckham was “going to be out this weekend.”

WORTH NOTING: The Galaxy is looking to extend their unbeaten streak to 10 games, which would be the longest in MLS this season. … L.A. has never won at Buck Shaw Stadium and are winless against the Quakes since summer 2008. … San Jose (5-5-4) has a three-game home winning streak, with victories over Houston, New England and Columbus. … The Galaxy leads the overall league series, 24-15-7, with a 4-1 advantage on the old shootout. (So 20-14-12 on the field.). … The Galaxy has three home games on the horizon: July 4 vs. Seattle, July 9 vs. Chicago and July 20 vs. Columbus. … San Jose visits Chivas USA on July 6. … The Galaxy extended defender A.J. DeLaGarza's contract, but did not say for how long. … L.A. captain Landon Donovan and former Galaxy forward Edson Buddle are up for the 2011 Espy Award for Best MLS Player. San Jose's Chris Wondolowski and FC Dallas' David Ferreira, the reigning league MVP, also are nominated. Donovan has won five Espys. This year's ceremonies are July 13 at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live.

MISSING: Donovan will be at the Rose Bowl, looking to lead the U.S. past Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final. … Forward Jack McBean is with the U.S. team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico. … Center backs Leonardo and Sean Alvarado are out for the year with torn knee ligaments. ... Defender Frankie Hejduk (ankle inflammation) joins Beckham as questionable.

THE OPPONENT

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Head coach

Three key players

Current form/prospects

Local connections

Missing

THE GAME

At Buck Shaw Stadium (Santa Clara), 3:30 p.m.
TV:
Fox Soccer Channel
Radio: K-Talk (KTLK-AM/1150) and ESPN Deportes (KWKU-AM/1220, Spanish)
Referee: Juan Guzman