Carson, CA – The Los Angeles Galaxy already have a spot reserved in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs, but it will be searching for a win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday to help solidify its bid for the MLS Supporters' Shield.
After defeating the Colorado Rapids 1-0 last weekend, Los Angeles became the first team this season to clinch a postseason berth. The Galaxy will now be looking to claim their fourth Supporters' Shield, which would tie them with D.C. United for the most in MLS history.
"We are in the playoffs and it would be nice to win the Supporters' Shield, that's the next objective for us," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "Win the Supporters' Shield and advance out of group play in the CONCACAF Champions League, which is going to be another big challenge for us. We have those objectives in the short term and certainly we want to go after the MLS Cup as well."
Los Angeles is looking like a force down the stretch, with several players firing on all cylinders.
Landon Donovan scored his 12th goal of the season in the victory over Colorado, tying him with Thierry Henry for the league lead. Youngster Paolo Cardozo made his third start of the season and impressed with his confidence, coming close with several strikes from distance. And Donovan Ricketts returned between the pipes, making his first appearance since fracturing his forearm on June 25.
The Galaxy sit in first place in the Western Conference with 55 points on the season, seven points ahead of second-place Seattle Sounders FC. They also hold the distinction of being the only MLS team who have still not lost at home this season, posting a 9-0-5 record at The Home Depot Center.
Vancouver, meanwhile, is in last place in all of Major League Soccer, bottoming the West with just 22 points from its 27 games. While the Galaxy have not lost at home, the Whitecaps have not won on the road, going 0-10-5 away from Empire Field.
In its most recent match, Vancouver played to a 1-1 draw at Red Bull New York. It was a disappointing result for the Whitecaps, who found themselves winning at halftime with a man advantage, following the sending off of Jan Gunnar Solli.
"It's just that if we were going to win one on the road, that was probably going to be our best opportunity [in New York]," Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon said. "We have two more [away] games, but you have to think that if you can't beat a team when you're up a man and up a goal, it's going to be a really big uphill battle when you go to places like Los Angeles and Dallas."
Cannon, who has split time in goal this year with Jay Nolly, could be in for a rough night if the previous meeting between these two clubs is any indication.
Los Angeles thrashed Vancouver 4-0 at Empire Field on July 30 behind a Donovan brace. Additional goals came from Sean Franklin and Adam Cristman.