Los Angeles Soccer: Logan Pause

GALAXY: Missing key players stings

April, 17, 2011

The Galaxy knew they'd be shorthanded when they embarked on an three-game trip east a week and a half ago, but they never could have expected this.

L.A. wraps its trek Sunday afternoon in Chicago missing not only Landon Donovan, who has spent the past two weeks recovering from a knee injury, but without David Beckham, too. And Juninho. And Jovan Kirovski. And, still, Gregg Berhalter.

That's four starters and a veteran off the bench, all injured or suspended as the Galaxy (2-1-3) looks for something more than two or three points from the swing from D.C. to Toronto to the Windy City.

Beckham is serving a one-game suspension after picking up five yellow cards, most in the league, in the first six games -- one for arguing, two for petulant fouls (and one of those should have drawn red).

Juninho was sent off with two yellow cards Wednesday in Toronto, and Kirovski's suspension for that postgame red card last weekend at D.C. United was bumped to two games. Berhalter, an assistant coach and the Galaxy's backline leader, is still recovering from a sprained knee sustained during preseason.

“Every time we step on the field, we’ve established an environment in L.A. where we play to win, we expect to win,” Mike Magee, who has stepped into Donovan's slot on the left flank, told MLS's web site this week. “It doesn’t matter if we’re missing David, Landon, Juninho. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to play to win.”

Beckham and Juninho have been the central tandem in midfield the past three games, but figure on coach Bruce Arena to stick Chris Birchall, who has started in the middle this year and last, with Uruguayan first-year Paolo Cardozo. Sean Franklin likely will remain on the right side of midfield, with A.J. DeLaGarza, L.A.'s most impressive defender the past two games, at right back.

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