A Toronto win in L.A. is a galaxy away
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TORONTO - It's been more than seven years since Toronto got the better of the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS play.
Toronto has gone 0-4-5 (including 0-3-2 at the StubHub Center) since defeating Los Angeles 2-0 on May 21, 2008, at BMO Field. Toronto swept the series that year, downing the hometown Galaxy 3-2 on April 13.
Last October, the last time Toronto played the Galaxy in L.A., the visitors were beaten 3-0.
If Toronto wants to end that winless run Saturday, it will have to do it on the road without at least four starters. The Gold Cup has claimed American stars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore as well as Canadians Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Osorio.
Influential French midfielder Benoit Cheyrou, who has been sidelined by a calf injury of late, did make the trip to the West Coast and could return after a two-game absence.
Los Angeles has lost Omar Gonzalez and Gyasi Zardes to the U.S. team while goalkeeper Jaime Penedo is with Panama for the CONCACAF championship.
Still Toronto coach Greg Vanney says his international call-ups are "amongst the most devastating of any of the teams in the league"
Vanney can shift Justin Morrow back to his normal left fullback slot in place of Morgan with Warren Creavalle or Nick Hagglund options at right back.
In midfield, Collen Warner is Bradley's usual deputy. Marky Delgado has impressed since returning from playing for the U.S. at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, with Canadian Jay Chapman and Brazil's Jackson also available.
England's Luke Moore is not with the team due to a death in the family. So Robbie Findley is likely to step in for Altidore up front.
"I think we have good depth," said Vanney. "We have good experience and we also have some good youth in the group that really are deserving of an opportunity at this point anyway."
"We have quality players who can get the job done," echoed Delgado.
The Galaxy (7-6-7) have had an up-and-down year but have been rock solid at home where they are 7-1-2 this season, outscoring the opposition 19-5.
"They've dismantled a couple of teams over the last few weeks at home especially," said Vanney, referring to recent wins of 5-0 over Portland, 5-1 over Philadelphia in league play and 6-1 over PSA Elite in U.S. Open Cup play.
"They've had some struggles on the road."
Los Angeles is 0-5-5 and has being outscored 18-8 in league play away from home.
Toronto (7-6-2) has been good on the road this season with a 4-4-1 record.
Vanney pointed to the big field at the StubHub Center, saying Los Angeles does a good job spreading out the opposition while using its experience to good measure.
"I think they're a team who especially at home knows very much who they are and how they go about getting results."
Former England captain Steven Gerrard will be unveiled Saturday by the Galaxy. Perhaps fortunately for Vanney's side, Gerrard's appearance will be limited to a halftime hello to the fans.
Gerrard, 35, is expected to make his Galaxy debut either July 11 against Club America or July 17 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
After Los Angeles, it's on to New York where fellow England star Frank Lampard is scheduled to play for New York City FC for the first time against Toronto at Yankee Stadium on June 20.
Toronto has taken just 12 out of a possible 39 points against Los Angeles in all-time MLS play with a record of 2-5-6 (1-4-2 in Carson).
Visiting Toronto did beat Los Angeles in a 2012 CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final match.
The L.A. game is a homecoming for Toronto's Findley, who started his MLS career with the Galaxy, and Delgado, whose Chivas USA shared the SubHub Center.
"I'll have quite a few family and friends (in the stands)," said Delgado.
The Galaxy, who already have three designated players in Robbie Keane, Gerrard and Gonzalez, are reportedly looking to add to their talent with Giovani Dos Santos. They would likely need some help from the league to accommodate the Mexican star.
For those wondering, Jeff Cunningham (with two), Julius James, Jarrod Smith and Danny Dichio scored for Toronto against the Galaxy in 2008. Dichio is now coach of Toronto FC's junior academy side.
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