Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy are closing in on what could be another solid performance in an MLS Cup Final on Dec. 1, 2012 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN, TSN/RDS and Telefutura.
A player that is approaching match fitness for this match is defender A.J. DeLaGarza, who sprained his medial collateral ligament in late September.
“It’s good, almost 100 [percent],” he said following Tuesday’s training session to MLSSoccer.com’s Scott French. “I’m not limited whatsoever. So no reason I can’t play if I’m needed. I’m confident. Just getting my rhythm back. This last week has really helped my confidence.”
This leads to a huge question that must be answered: does Arena start DeLaGarza in the back on Saturday afternoon, or does he bring in Tommy Meyer, who has proven himself to be a force in the back during the postseason?
“I try not to think about it at all,” Meyer said of the situation. “It’s up to Bruce and [how we do in] practice, and you just kind of go about the same way you prepare for every game. That’s what I’ve been doing the whole week, and I think that’s probably what A.J.’s been doing, too.”
As for Arena, he is thinking about comparing his work with the Los Angeles Galaxy to that of his time at D.C. United.
“It was a different era, so I don’t think you can make comparisons,” Arena told French on Tuesday. “My D.C. United team had some outstanding stars and some players that contributed and supported them. Then we had a nucleus of players who blended in well with our star power.
“I guess you could say we have that here at the Galaxy. Guys understand their roles and understand how to play with Robbie [Keane], Landon [Donovan] and David [Beckham], which end up being a team. That’s what this is about, developing good teams. So in that way those similarities are certainly there.”
A victory by the Galaxy on Saturday can affirm of the Galaxy’s status as a possible dynasty in their own right, given that they have won a few Supporters’ Shields and Western Conference titles along the way during Arena’s tenure as the club’s manager.
Arena also had some praise for Houston’s top guns, including defender Corey Ashe.
“Corey’s developed into one of the best left backs in Major League Soccer,” Arena told MLSSoccer.com’s Darrell Lovell. “He’s physically strong and physically set to deal with any issues in his space and he’s good going forward. What I’ve seen out of Corey over the last two to three years is that he is now a lot more consistent.”
“I’ve said, for me, he’s one of the better left backs in the league,” added Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear. “You look at his starts and minutes played and he’s played a ton. I thought we’ve had a good defense this year and he’s been a good part of that. He’s been consistently good.”