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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting the Los Angeles Galaxy

LA are coming in off a bad loss at home last weekend to Seattle.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at LA Galaxy Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas returns home after a draw in Salt Lake City, meanwhile the Galaxy come to Frisco after a humiliating home defeat to the Sounders.

The Stakes

Tonight’s game is massive for both sides, a battle for the Supporter’s Shield. A win for Dallas or L.A. would give the winning team a massive advantage in the Shield race. Dallas comes in on a string of draws, while the Galaxy’s form has been spotty as well. A draw or loss for Dallas, blows the Shield race wide open, leaving the door open for several teams to win the Shield. This is easily the biggest game of the season for both teams, and the other Shield hopefuls.

Potential Lineup

Gyasi Zardes is out for the season, but the rest of the Galaxy are available for tonight’s match.

GK: Brian Rowe; LB: Ashley Cole; CB: Jelle Van Damme, Daniel Steres; RB: Robbie Rogers; CM: Jeff Larentowicz, Sebastian Lletget, Robbie Keane; RW: Baggio Husidic; LW: Emmanuel Boateng; FW: Giovani Dos Santos.

Key Matchup

Maxi Urruti vs. Jelle Van Damme. Jelle Van Damme is an experienced centerback, but last week’s thrashing by the Sounders will be a wake-up call for the veteran Galaxy defender. It is key that Urruti has a good game tomorrow. If he has a good shift, L.A. could be looking at another nightmare game. What Van Damme and the rest of the defense learned from Seattle could be the key to stopping Dallas attack.

Keys to Three Points

The Dallas Attack Shows Up

Last week Dallas had a dull game against RSL, with little to comment on either way. It is crucial that the Dallas offense shows up and holds L.A. back. A dominant, U.S. Open Cup Final performance is what Dallas needs to put on display tonight. Anything less will leave the Galaxy the opportunity to get themselves in the game. Offense is often the best defense.

Being Careful

The Galaxy will almost certainly have good spells throughout the game, possession, chances, maybe one off the post. It is imperative that Dallas weather these storms and stay collected. Don’t let the occasion, or drama in the last twenty minutes get to them. Stay calm, get into the game, and play smart. It all seems obvious, but it is just the sort of thing that could make or break this team, as it has done in the past.

Burying Chances

Finishing will be an issue for both sides, but Dallas has struggled a lot in their last few fixtures to bury easy chances. Akindele’s miss in NYC springs to mind. Those few good chances to win the game have to be taken. This is not a game Dallas can afford to lose.

Prediction

Dallas start slow, but grow, and ultimately smash L.A.

My Prediction: FC Dallas 4-1.