BY ADAM SERRANO
It's a battle for the top spot of the table tonight as the Columbus Crew take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in one of the biggest games of the season. (7:30pm PST, MLS Direct Kick)
The Los Angeles Galaxy had been running away with MLS, but a dip in form has brought the Galaxy back to the pack. If LA fails to get a result over Columbus, the Galaxy may be knocked out off the top of the table for the first time all season. With the added importance, Landon Donovan described the match as a "championship game for us" earlier n the week. As the Galaxy have faded, the Crew have steadily marched up the table. Columbus is currently amidst a three game unbeaten streak.
Tonight may signal the return of David Beckham who was activated from the disabled list earlier this week and is optimistic that he will be able to play 10-20 minutes against Columbus.
I will be providing commentary throughout the match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):
FINAL – That's all for me tonight. This is Adam Serrano. Check back for more coverage later tonight.
FINAL – Los Angeles dominates throughout in a comprehensive victory over the Eastern Conference leaders. After three months of uneven play, The Galaxy return life with goals by Edson Buddle, Dema Kovalenko and Jovan Kirovski. Beckham returns to action showing signs of his three month layoff. It will be all smiles in LA tonight as the Galaxy defeat Columbus 3-0.
92nd Minute – The whistle blows. LA returns to life with a dominating 3-1 victory over Columbus in David Beckham's return to action.
90th Minute – Two minutes of stoppage.
89th Minute – Beckham takes a short corner and gets the ball back from Donovan. He sends in a cross that goes wildly awry. Might be the rust there.
86th Minute – Iro sends in a pass that LA Galaxy defender Leonardo passes back to the keeper. The pass is weak and allows Andres Mendoza to score his first MLS goal in his first MLS appearance.
85th Minute – CREW GOAL! Mendoza!
83rd Minute – The Crew are going to be regretting this one. So far in two games at HDC this year, they have conceded six goals.
79th Minute – Cazumba goes down after a challenge from a Crew defender. Looked like he may have gotten hit in the groin. Ouch.
76th Minute – Had been thinking that Beckham should not come in to a physical game like this one, but after that challenge, its clear that Becks is not afraid. Expect for him to get some rough treatment from the Crew.
75th Minute – YELLOW CARD to Beckham for a challenge with Ekpo. Beckham raised his knee and brins down the Nigerian. Clear foul there.
74th Minute – Beckham leads a Galaxy break and sends in a bit of an arrant ball to Donovan. Galaxy called for offsides moments later. He'll have to clean those up as the season goes on.
70th minute – Beckham enters for Juninho. He's looked very nice in training and lets see how he does lined up against Ekpo.
69th Minute – Beckham about to enter the match. Fans on their feet at the HDC.
67th Minute – Ekpo coming in for Dilly Duka.
66th Minute – The poll did not work so the question goes to you the readers. Should David Beckham go into the match.
64th Minute – GBS and Lenhart come out for the Crew as Mendoza and Renteria enter. Looks like the Crew are waving the white flag.
60th Minute – Galaxy sub: Mike Magee comes in for Jovan Kirovski. One sub left for LA.
59th Minute – Nice build up by the Crew, but Hejduk fires in a shot that does not make it on frame.
56th Minute – Cazumba plays a fantastic ball off a free kick and Kirovski out jumps Francis and buries it for the Galaxy's third goal. The rout is officially on.
55th Minute – GOAL!!! LA GALAXY! KIROVSKI!
54th Minute – Edson Buddle left with precautionary leg cramps.
49th Minute – Leonardo goes down holding his right side. He will return to action though, good for the Galaxy because they have no pure centerbacks in reserve.
47th Minute – Donovan will slide up top while Birchall oes to the wing. We did hear before the game that Buddle was an injury question mark and with the game (seemingly) in hand, Arena will sub off his scorer.
45th Minute – Back underway here in Carson. One Sub at Halftime. Edson Buddle is subbed off for Chris Birchall.
HALFTIME – The whistle is blown and the Galaxy go into the half up 2-0. Perhaps the best half that the Galaxy have played in two months. The fluid passing of Juninho, Kovalenko and Donovan is creating a great deal of space for the Galaxy to operate. The Crew will need to provide more pressuer up top if they are going to get back in this game.
45th Minute – EXTREMELY fluid passing by Los Angeles, Cazumba plays a quick ball into Donovan who passes to Buddle. Edson forces Hesmer to make a big save to prevent the Galaxy from going up 3-0.
45th Minute – One minute of stoppage.
44th Minute – The Crew are providing way too much space for the Galaxy to operate and LA is clearly looking as energized as I have seen them play in some time. Its a sight to see. Columbus will need to close down on the Galaxy and force them to make plays under pressure to get back in this one.
41st Minute – The Galaxy earn a break, but Cazumba fires an audacious strike that oes no where near the net. Youthful exuberance for Cazumba.
40th Minute – The Galaxy's passing has been much improved than the last few weeks. The presence of Juninho and Kovalenko in the center of the park is paying major dividends for LA. In case you were wondering, Dema Kovalenko's last goal came on May 31st, 2008 against RSL.
37th Minute – Donovan passes in a great ball to Kovalenko who is all alone and easily beats Hesmer. The Crew earn a corner on the other end but it's cleared away. Columbus is clearly going to go all out now.
35th Minute – GOAL!!! DEMA KOVALENKO!!
33rd Minute – The Crew earn a free kick, but GBS' ball is wasted with a poor effort towards goal. The ball goes out for a Ricketts goal kick.
32nd Minute – Schelotto with a high tackle on Donovan. He gets his knee up mighty high, but once more there is no call.
31st Minute – If you are following along, please let me here from you and where you are from.
30th Minute – The Crew have come back from a deficit once this season. Against the Revolution in early May.
29th Minute – A lot of hullyballoo on the kick and the effort by the Crew goes out for a goal kick.
27th Minute – The Crew earn a free kick to the right of the box.
26th Minute – David Beckham up and stretching. A tad early?
23rd Minute – The Brazilian/Argentine rivalry has been brought to Carson as Juninho tangles with Schelotto. The pair have been battling throughout the night providing the other with harsh tackles.
19th Minute – Galaxy clear, but Duka plays a great ball into Lehart who beats Gonzalez. Lenhart marches up and forces Ricketts to make a big time save. Leonardo clears the rebound for a corner that is also cleared.
18th Minute – The Crew are trying to turn on the heat right now. They earn a corner which GBS will take.
16th Minute – Franklin plays in a fantastic ball into Buddle who is left all alone as Cazumba does a great job of bringing the Crew defense with him. LA is 13-0 when scoring first.
13 Minute – GOAL!! EDSON BUDDLE!!!
10th Minute – HARSH challenge by Moffat on Juninho, but Alex Prus swallows his whistle.
8th Minute – Howler by Cazumba who makes a nice move around Hejduk and tries to chip it over Hesmer. However, the ball sails over the net.
6th Minute – LA controlling the possession right now. We're experiencing a far bit of hard challenges as well. Expect a few cards tonight.
4th Minute – OFFSIDE. Buddle sends a shot in from 12 yards out that forces Hesmer to make a finger tip save. Its reneged for Offsides however.
2nd Minute – Juninho plays a nice ball over to the Kirovski who fires a shot into the Angel City Brigade.
1st Minute – And we're underway!
PREGAME: The Galaxy are going for the gusto tonight offensively, no real defensive subs as they will look to overwhelm the Crew earlier. Remember, when LA scores the first goal, they are 13-0-0 and 0-5-2 when surrendering first.
PRE-GAME: Here are the line ups:
BENCH: Gruenebaum, Brunner, Brunner, Burns, Ekpo, Garey, Mendoza, Renteria
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
BENCH: Saunders, Beckham, Birchalll, Lewis, Stephens, Bowen, Magee
Yes. He should. Get him some minutes ASAFP so he can get in to game shape for the stretch run.
As a Galaxy fan, I sure hopes this marks the end of the swoon. When at their best, they play as beautifully as any club in CONCACAF…
…if only they played their best when they play any club in CONCACAF.
Adam? His cramps were precautionary? For WHAT? I’d HATE to have leg cramps as a precursor to something else.
oh yeah, gulfport MS here
Normally in section 136 but a procedure requires me to be in my living room this game….
Its weird to watch the game with zero audio commentary on DirectKick! Kinda spooky!
They’re showing Beckham on camera more than the actual game LOL
ives, you’re the man for putting this up. My connection is too slow for streaming…
Following from OC, where the game is on tape delay, so thanks for the commentary.
Following from KY…that seems an odd line up for the Crew…
Following from Fresno…where we don’t get to watch live, because of Virginia vs. USC football. Occupying the Fox sports regional feed.
Damn…but luckily our favorite streaming network still works.
Galaxy season ticket holder in DC for weekend. Following along.
following from NC
In Nashville but from Austin
One of the reasons (among many) for the poor run of form for the Galaxy, is the absence of Gregg Berhalter.
His experience and calming influence in the back line is really important. Dunivant who was also missed for a few games is now back. Hope the Galaxy can get him back for the stretch run.
The Galaxy have only one road game left, in Philly, so they have some advantage. They will have to face the Red Bulls and Dallas though at home.
Duka starting, really?