By ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif. — The Los Angeles Galaxy face a stern test this weekend when they hit the road for the first time to take on currently undefeated Sporting Kansas City. Making matters even more difficult is that the Galaxy may have to do so without Landon Donovan or David Beckham.
During practice on Thursday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that the team "haven't made a decision" yet on whether or not Beckham would make the trip to Livestrong Sporting Park. Beckham did not take part in the club's on the field training on Thursday, with Arena choosing to allow him to complete a fitness regiment in the gym.
“David has an assortment of nagging injuries,” Arena said. “Just been smart about getting him the right kind of rest and working him in the gym.”
Meanwhile, Donovan, who took part in training on Thursday, admitted that while he is feeling better, he wasn't sure of his status for Saturday's clash against Kansas City.
“You never know how injuries go,” Donovan said on Thursday. “It's literally day to day, and you just see how it goes. There's a fine line. You want to make sure you're not putting any players in harm's way. You have to be smart how you approach things, and Bruce is very good about that with me.”
More notes from the Western Conference are after the jump:
The Rojiblancos made a splash on Monday by signing 16-year-old midfielder Marco "Marky" Delgado to a Homegrown contract.
The 16-year-old defensive midfielder spent time last week with the United States Under-18 national team and has become a staple with the Chivas reserve team. Although Delgado will be ineligible to appear on the first team until August, Chivas have high hopes for the young midfielder.
“He’s a great signing for us,” Chivas USA general manager Jose Domene told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s a great player, he still has a lot to learn, but we’re happy to have him in.”
One supposed benefit of MLS' new unbalanced schedule was the increase in regional rivalries, which promised far more matches against their top rivals.
With the Rocky Mountain Cup set to kick off this Saturday when Real Salt Lake host the Colorado Rapids, the Denver Post feels that it may not be a benefit for Colorado as two of the three matches will be played at RSL's Rio Tinto Stadium.
FC Dallas will be forced to shuffle their backline on Thursday night when they take on the New England Revolution.
FCD will be without fullback Jair Benitez after the defender was suspended on Wednesday for swinging an elbow on DC United's Danny Cruz last week. Without Benitez in the starting lineup, centerback George John will be asked to step up while Hernán Pertúz is an option to slide to Benitez's left back spot.
"This is definitely going to affect our lineup. For him to get a suspension is going to shift the lineup," FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. "We'll make the decision on who's going to start just around game time. We were disappointed. When I looked at the video, it was the right call. It is what it is, and we're going to move forward."
Used exclusively as a substitute this season, midfielder Franck Songo'o has shown flashes of the dynamic player that took the Portland Timbers by storm this preseason, and now the Cameroonian is angling for his first start.
The former FC Barcelona product is still approaching full fitness, however, after suffering a right knee injury in February. Although Songo'o has impressed, head coach John Spencer has admitted that Songo'o will likely continue to be used in a substitute role for the near future despite the player believing that he's ready to crack the starting XI.
"I think I'm ready for 90 minutes," Songo'o told the Oregonian. "It is the coach's decision if he wants me for 90 (minutes), for 60 or for 30. I'm ready for whatever."
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake just can't escape the injury bug.
During the club's 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday, both Ned Grabavoy and Javier Morales picked up injuries in the incredibly physical contest. Grabavoy suffered a dislocated left rib while Morales left during the 90th minute of play with a right hamstring strain that will rule him out for 2-to-3 weeks. According to the Deseret News, the injuries are just another setback for a team that was thought to be approaching full fitness.
"We had a very set plan on who was going to start Saturday night, and now it looks like a couple of those guys were injured," said RSL coach Jason Kreis after Wednesday's match.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Jason Hernandez has been a fixture in the San Jose Earthquakes back four over the past four seasons, but this year, the one-time Earthquakes captain has found playing time hard to come by.
After straining his calf in training camp, Hernandez has had to be an observer while Victor Bernardez and Justin Morrow have formed an effective centerback partnership. With the Earthquakes' defense having conceded just one goal in four matches — on a penalty kick — Hernandez has had to look for opportunities off the bench. One finally came on Saturday as Hernandez was used as a substitute after Ramiro Corrales went down with an injury just before halftime of San Jose's 1-0 victory over Seattle.
“I haven’t [come off the bench] in quite some time, so for me personally, it was kind of a challenge mentally,” Hernandez told MLSsoccer.com. “It was a very difficult situation, especially with the momentum shifting their way in the second half, with them really pushing to get an equalizer. It’s just a credit to my teammates just talking to me and making things easy on me. It was a very exciting 45 minutes, I guess.”
The Seattle Sounders travel to the nation's capital this weekend to take on D.C. United in a match that has been circled on the calendar of Seattle defender Marc Burch for some time.
Burch spent the last five seasons playing for D.C., but he was let go during the offseason as United chose not to renew the veteran defender's contract. This cleared the way for Burch to join the Sounders, who selected the left back during the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
Now, after a messy offseason departure from D.C., the defender has settled into the Sounders starting XI and is eager to show his former club that they made the wrong decision by letting him go.
"They had the opportunity to keep me and they didn't," said the 27-year-old to the Seattle Times. "It's time to go back and prove that I don't believe their left back is better than I am. If that's what they think, then that's what they think. It's time to go back there and prove that we have a much better team here."
The Vancouver Whitecaps defense has been unstoppable this season.
In four matches this season, Vancouver's opposition has yet to register a goal, and now the Whitecaps are just an hour away from the league shutout record — currently held by the 2007 New York Red Bulls, who held opponents scoreless for 421 minutes – to begin the season. But don't tell this to seasoned veteran and Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who believes that the record is of little of concern.
“You can’t rest on your laurels in this league and I don’t think any of us are thinking about a streak or anything because the fact of the matter is we’re going into a hostile environment and we need to get points any way we can," Cannon told The Province. “The challenge is really to start creating some offense and seeing our big-time players step it up a little bit.”