TFC faces a tough task

oronto FC's Tony Tchani celebrates his first half goal against the Columbus Crew. (CRAIG...

oronto FC's Tony Tchani celebrates his first half goal against the Columbus Crew. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI Agency)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:16 PM ET

The good news for Toronto FC as it matches up with Major League Soccer's points leader on Saturday night in California?

League scoring leader Landon Donovan, keeper Donovan Ricketts and midfielder Juninho will be out of the lineup for the Los Angeles Galaxy, who top MLS in points, goals for and goal differential.

The bad news? As those numbers indicate, L.A. is a very good side and can probably withstand some deletions, even though those are three excellent players.

The Galaxy has not conceded a goal in nearly five games and hasn't lost in seven.

As well, one of the all-time TFC killers, Juan Pablo Angel will return to the lineup after missing almost two weeks. Though he has been awful in his first season in California, Angel can always be counted on to give the Reds fits.

Toronto did surprise the Galaxy earlier this season in a 0-0 draw at BMO Field but the club has gone a dreadful 1-3-5 since then, scoring just seven goals in the nine games.

Only two teams have scored less than TFC this season, and no team has surrendered more goals.

So, it looks ugly on paper, but the Galaxy has failed to score on Toronto in its past three meetings and the Reds expect to get a number of key contributors back.

Pivotal striker Alan Gordon is expected to finally return to the lineup for the Reds, who have missed the target man dearly during his six-game absence. Gordon gives them something up front that nobody else on the roster can provide.

Gordon spent almost seven seasons with the Galaxy, scoring 16 goals in 99 appearances.

The fiery Gordon will likely make sure his mates are up for the challenge.

It will be interesting to see how he works with Joao Plata, who gave L.A. some trouble the last time the two sides clashed.

Head coach Aron Winter will surely keep a close eye on Gordon's minutes as the game marks the start of a three games in a seven-night stretch.

Midfielder Jacob Peterson also might return after an injury layoff, along with forward Gianluca Zavarise, though captain Maicon Santos and defender Nana Attakora are questionable.

Designated player Julian de Guzman and defender Dicoy Williams, like Donovan and Ricketts are away at the Gold Cup.

The club declined to comment on a report by Ben Rycroft of canadiansoccernews.comthat de Guzman had soured on playing at home and was pondering a return to Europe.

De Guzman is the club's highest-paid player by far, earning $1.9 million US. Only four other Reds make even $150,000, with Alen Stevanovic's $250,000 per year being the second-highest salary on the team following the trade of former captain Dwayne De Rosario, who earned $493,750.

De Rosario long chafed at the fact his Canadian international teammate de Guzman's salary dwarfed his own.


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