LA Galaxy vs Chicago Fire
Sunday, March 3, 2013
The Home Depot Center
Kick-off: 2:00 p.m
The LA Galaxy started off 2012 as the defending MLS Cup Champions, and after such an extraordinary 2011 season many expected the team to continue dominating the league in the new campaign. To the surprise of many, the Galaxy started off 2012 on the wrong foot. Not only were the reigning MLS champions eliminated from the Champions League in quarterfinals, but in league play LA went 3-8-2 to start off the season. When things weren’t looking too good, the squad managed to make a spectacular second half turn-around and capture a playoff spot.
In playoffs the Galaxy went through the knockout round, eliminating the Whitecaps. The defending champions would also eliminate higher seeds San Jose and Seattle in the following rounds to advance to a second consecutive MLS Cup. In the MLS Cup the Galaxy faced Houston in a rematch of the 2011 final. Houston took a 1-0 lead before the half, and truly summarizing the 2012 season, a fantastic second half gave LA the victory. With goals from Omar Gonzalez, Landon Donovan, and Robbie Keane, the Galaxy would end up winning a second consecutive championship.
Now, the defending back-to-back champions will be looking to make history by becoming the first team to win the MLS Cup three years in a row. While the majority of the championship squad will be back, there will be some key players who will not be part of the 2013 team. As announced before the final, David Beckham has left Los Angeles. Other departures include Edson Buddle, Christian Wilhelmsson, Dan Keat, David Junior Lopes, and the starting goalkeeper in the previous two MLS Cup finals – Josh Saunders.
On other offseason news, the permanent transfer of Juninho from Sao Paolo was made official after the Brazilian spent the last three seasons in LA on loan. Carlo Cudicini will be starting in goal for the Galaxy, and also joining the team will be draft picks Charlie Rugg, Kofi Opare, Greg Cochrane and Andy Riemer. Homegrown players Oscar Sorto and Gyasi Zardes were also given contracts, and Mike Magee and Brian Perk will be returning after signing new contracts. Also joining the team will be Colin Clark, selected in the Re-Entry draft. After months of uncertainty about his status, it was finally announced that Landon Donovan will be returning to the club in late March, meaning he’ll miss the first month of the new season, which includes the quarterfinals of the Champions League against Herediano.
The Galaxy reported to preseason camp in late January, going through weeks of training and scrimmages. LA ended the preseason with a 2-1 victory over Colorado, going 5-1-1 in their seven games played.
The defending champions will begin the 2013 season at home against Chicago, who will be visiting the Home Depot Center to face LA for the first time since 2011. In their lone meeting last year, the Galaxy defeated the Fire with a brace from Robbie Keane. The Fire has failed to defeat the Galaxy in the four games the two sides have played since 2010.
A new season is right around the corner. The new season means new challenges, new players, new stories, yet one same goal: win another MLS Cup. Winning back-to-back MLS Cups was difficult, and going for a 3-peat won’t be any easier. It seems that the Galaxy definitely has what it takes to accomplish that feat, and the journey to another MLS Cup begins soon. Sunday, March 3rd marks the beginning of yet another long and triumphant season.
*March 3rd: Banner Unveiling & Ring Ceremony
THIS IS LA!