In their first game since the terrible passing of midfielder Kirk Urso, the Columbus Crew take on the Los Angeles Galaxy Wednesday (7:00 ET) in what is sure to be a night to remember. This will be the only time the two teams face off during the 2012 MLS regular season.
Columbus’ last game against D.C. United on August 4th ended in a 1-0 defeat. The team was scheduled to play Toronto FC this past Saturday, but MLS postponed the match until the 22nd so they could attend Urso’s funeral that same day. The Crew are currently out of the playoffs, sitting in seventh in the East with 28 points (8-8-4).
L.A. has been on both sides of 4-0 results in recent weeks. The Galaxy lost in Seattle on August 5th and beat Chivas USA on Sunday by that scoreline. Landon Donovan assisted on all four of Los Angeles’ goals against Chivas but won’t be available for tomorrow’s game. The Galaxy are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 36 points (11-11-3).
The Crew’s defense, consisting of Sebastian Miranda, Carlos Mendes, Chad Marshall, and Josh Williams, should stay the same against Los Angeles.
With midfielder Cole Grossman’s return from a red-card suspension, coach Robert Warzycha has a few options. He could play Grossman and Chris Birchall in the holding midfielder positions, moving Milovan Mirosevic to a more advanced role. Or, Birchall and Mirosevic could start as they did in the previous game, leaving Eddie Gaven, Dilly Duka, and Justin Meram to interchange in the attacking midfielder positions as they have in recent weeks.
Jairo Arrieta is almost guaranteed to start as the lone forward. Federico Higuain, Columbus’ recent Designated Player signing, will be unavailable tomorrow night. He is still in Argentina for the time being as he waits for permissions to travel.
Los Angeles will be missing talismans Donovan and David Beckham. Donovan, leading MLS with eleven assists (while also chipping in nine goals), will be in Mexico playing for the U.S. national team in a friendly match. Beckham missed the game against Chivas USA to be at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics and didn’t travel with the team to Columbus. Beckham has six goals and nine assists this season. The Galaxy’s third Designated Player, Robbie Keane, will play. Keane has a team-high ten goals.
Prediction: Crew 2-1 Galaxy
The Galaxy’s attack produces an early goal, but the Crew band together and fight back to earn three points in Kirk’s honor.