Carl's Keys to the Game vs. LA Galaxy
USA Today Sports Images

Carl's Keys to the Game vs. LA Galaxy

1. Have I mentioned playing a high tempo?

We’ll have a packed crowd on Saturday, hyped to see our ‘Caps “welcome” the defending champs to our house.

Manneh scores to finish 'Caps attack

We’ve seen how our fans can inspire the team, look no further than the last home match against FC Dallas. In this same fixture last year we had one of our best performances as we took the game to LA and them on their heels for most of the match.

If you give the Galaxy players time on the ball they will hurt you. If you give the ball away cheaply they will also hurt you. But they can be knocked off their stride.

As I have said almost every week this season, we are at our best when we play at a high tempo, with and without the ball. We pass the ball better and our pressure on the ball creates turnovers in dangerous areas.

2. Stop Donovan and Magee

You have to be wary of Landon Donovan (pictured) and Mike Magee at all times, as they are dangerous with and without the ball.

Donovan scores on LA counterattack

LA like to fast break using these two players, so on turnovers we have to slow them down and make sure they are not running at our midfield and defenders.

They are also good at popping up late in the box and scoring big goals for their team. Both players tend to adopt a wide position in a 4-4-2 formation, but are not orthodox wingers. They will float around and will be hard to mark.

It will be up to all our players to be aware of where they are at all times and help out the first defender that confronts them.

3. Set plays

Like the first point, I know I have used this in most of my “Keys to the Game”, but it needs to continue to be emphasized.

Magee heads in free kick

A significant number of goals in this sport are scored on set plays. It can be demoralizing when you have time to organize and mark up during set plays, but then you fall asleep for just a moment with a mental breakdown to allow the other team to score.

We have been playing well in a number of matches but have had our positive momentum halted by conceding on set plays.

There is no need to give a good team like LA any gifts, so I expect our boys to have a better focus this week to stop them on set plays.