The New England Revolution is back on the West Coast tonight, this time making the long trek to Carson, California to take on the LA Galaxy. The Revs should be full of confidence and vigor after putting away Portland 1-0 in last week's home opener, while the Galaxy are probably feeling rested and refreshed after having last weekend off.
Injuries: New England is nearly at full strength in defense, with Kevin Alston expected to play despite a broken nose and John Lozano close to a return but still doubtful with his hip flexor injury. Zak Boggs and Sainey Nyassi are still injured, and Benny Feilhaber remains out with a peroneal strain.
Interesting Storyline: The Revs haven't won a match in the Mountain or Western Time Zones since beating Seattle in Washington back in September 2009. That includes a 0-9-2 record against West Coast teams in that time span. Also, Jose Moreno has traveled with the squad and may feature against the Galaxy, although Jay Heaps has hinted that a cameo against Dallas on Thursday is more certain.
2011 Head-to-Head: The Galaxy took the season series 1-0-1 last year. The rivals opened MLS play in Carson last season with a 1-1 draw before the Galaxy pulled out a 1-0 result in Foxboro in late May.
Keys to the Game: New England needs to remain organized and patient in this match, because LA is going to dominate possession and dictate the tempo of the game no matter what the Revs do. The Galaxy are likely to be without Landon Donovan, which is a major bonus for New England, but even without the USA's all-time leading goalscorer, Los Angeles can create goals and pick apart a defense through David Beckham, Robbie Keane, Edson Buddle, Juninho, Mike Magee, and just about anyone else. If the Revs can stay compact and not get frustrated, the match could be prevented from becoming a bloodbath.
Los Angeles is also having defensive difficulties without last season's best defender, Omar Gonzalez. If New England has patience and leaves some pace in good positions up top, they have every chance of being able to catch the Galaxy on the break and score a goal or two. In fact, if the Revs can execute a counter game to anything approaching perfection, they might even be able to steal their first West Coast win in over two years.
Shalrie Joseph should move back into midfield with Stephen McCarthy and Darrius Barnes both available for selection in defense. Still, without Benny Feilhaber there remains a good chance that Jay Heaps will stick to the 4-4-2, but he may replace Kelyn Rowe and Blake Brettschneider after the two had rather lackluster performances against Portland. Ryan Guy and Fernando Cardenas would be best-guess replacements, respectively.
Broadcast Information: TV: 11:00 PM EST, NBC Sports Network; RADIO: 11:00 PM EST, 98.5 The Sports Hub.