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GALAXY: Fired-up Barrett, absent Donovan

4/13/2011

The Galaxy head to Toronto still hot about the errant penalty-kick call that cost them a win at D.C. United last weekend and needing three points to keep pace with Real Salt Lake or Colorado -- or leapfrog both to the top of the Western Conference.

It's a homecoming of sorts for forward Chad Barrett, whose reputation for not scoring goals has reared itself again with L.A. and, for the time being, at least, cost him a starting job with his new team. Barrett missed as many as he scored in Toronto, which he described, when he joined the Galaxy in January, as a place “where everybody sits in traffic, it's cold, bitter, it's understandable why people are so pissed.”

But Toronto, and its Reds (1-1-2), won't be on his mind in Wednesday's clash at BMO Field. Barrett needs to take care of things at home first.

“I'm more to the point where I have to prove myself more in [Galaxy coach] Bruce Arena's eyes and in my teammates' eyes than to come back and have some personal vendetta ...,” he told Major League Soccer's website this week. “I wish I could have taken TFC to the playoffs when I was here, but for some reason or another it didn’t happen. I feel like the stability of the team from the top down was always a problem, but we definitely had the players here throughout that should have been able to get the job done and take TFC to their first postseason.

"They are a good club, they have great support, fans who will show up 20,000 strong every game and deserve to see their team in the playoffs.”

The Galaxy (2-1-2) are thinking well beyond the playoffs. They'd like another Supporters' Shield and are trying to keep up with Western leader Real Salt Lake (3-0-0) and defending MLS Cup champion Colorado (3-1-0), which have a one-point lead over L.A. RSL and Colorado also tangle Wednesday in a Rocky Mountain Cup encounter, and if they draw, the Galaxy would climb past them with a victory.

They'll have to try to do so without Landon Donovan.

The club confirms that its captain, left behind on the three-goal road swing with “knee inflammation,” did not travel to Toronto and will not play against the Reds. He might be brought in for Sunday's game at Chicago, but that decision won't be made until Thursday or Friday.

WORTH NOTING: Both of last year's meetings were 0-0 draws. ... The Galaxy is 8-7-3 all-time against TFC (8-7 on goals) and 1-1-2 at BMO (2-3 on goals).

INJURY LIST: Donovan is still at home, and so are forward Adam Cristman (knee surgery), defender Gregg Berhalter (sprained knee) and rookie midfielder Hector Jimenez (wrist surgery).

THE OPPONENT

TORONTO FC

Head coach

  • Aron Winter was a top central midfielder for the Dutch national team (84 caps, two World Cups, three European Championships) and for clubs in Holland (Ajax Amsterdam, Sparta Rotterdam) and in Italy (Lazio, Inter Milan). He joined Toronto FC after serving as an assistant coach at Ajax.

Three key players

  • Netherlands Antilles-born wing-forward Javier Martina, who scored twice in TFC's Week 2 victory over Portland, played for Winter and assistant coach Bob de Klerk at Ajax.

  • Brazilian attacker Maicon Santos was a hit-and-miss forward for Chivas USA who has become a team leader with the Reds -- he's the captain now that Dwayne De Rosario is gone -- who plays a prominent role up front or behind the frontrunners.

  • Swiss-born, NorCal-raised, Cal-educated Stefan Frei, 24, is MLS's best young goalkeeper, has been since snaring a starting spot as a rookie in '09.

Current form/prospects

  • Winter and his staff are still figuring things out with TFC, and we probably aren't going to see the finished product this year. There's a lot of room to grow, but the Reds can't be unhappy with their results so far, bouncing back from the emotional opening-day loss at Vancouver with a victory over Portland and successive 1-1 draws with Chivas and at San Jose, which is a pretty good team. The hope is that Designated Player Julian de Guzman's return from knee surgery will provide a sizable boost, but the Canadian national-teamer hasn't lived up to his salary in MLS.

Local connections

  • Long Beach-born forward Alan Gordon was acquired from Chivas USA just before the start of the season. He was with the Goats for less than a year but spent the previous six years with the Galaxy. … Midfielder Nathan Sturgis started his pro career with the Galaxy in 2006-07, and defender Ty Harden was a rookie starter for L.A. in 2007. … Maicon Santos was with Chivas in 2009-10, and defender Dan Gargan spent two weeks with the Goats in 2008. … Team consultant Juergen Klinsmann lives in Huntington Beach.

Missing

  • Dutch midfielder Elbekay Bouchiba (sprained knee) is out.

THE GAME

At BMO Field (Toronto), 5 p.m. PT

TV:
MLS Direct Kick

Radio: ESPN Deportes (KWKW/1330, Spanish)

Referee: Terry Vaughn