The Los Angeles Galaxy are going to have to begin compensating for the absences of Landon Donovan and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. D.C. United will be getting back a player who is chasing Donovan for the MLS lead in goals.
The Galaxy will be seeking a fifth straight victory Friday night when they host United, who are expected to have top scorer Charlie Davies available.
Los Angeles' last three wins have come by 1-0 scores, the most recent at New England on Saturday. David Beckham assisted on a goal by Miguel Lopez as the league-leading Galaxy capped a busy stretch of three matches in eight days.
"We've had nine points in three games so we can't ask for much more than that," Beckham said.
The Galaxy (8-2-5) will have to ask for more from other players, as Donovan has joined the United States national team and Ricketts is with Jamaica with the CONCACAF Gold Cup about to begin. Josh Saunders will start in goal for Los Angeles while coach Bruce Arena is considering his options for replacing Donovan, who has eight goals.
"We've had three weeks of three games in a week so that's been difficult but hopefully some guys will step up and step in for Landon Donovan and Saunders is going to have the responsibility in Ricketts' position," Arena said.
Ricketts posted all three shutouts since Saunders started a 4-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on May 14.
Davies is expected to return for D.C. (4-4-3) after he missed a 3-2 victory at Portland on Sunday with a hamstring injury. His team-best total of six goals includes a controversial 90th-minute equalizer in a 1-all tie with Los Angeles on April 9.
The Galaxy moved to 3-0-3 in their last six meetings with D.C. with that result.
Captain Dax McCarty also should be back in the lineup after sitting out Sunday with a groin injury.
United are brimming with confidence after becoming the first opponent to win in Portland. The club finished May with two victories and two draws.
"Being the first team to come here (and win), after five games unbeaten for them - that's an accomplishment we're definitely going put in our pockets and use as confidence," goalkeeper Bill Hamid said.
Coach Ben Olsen opted to keep his team on the West Coast rather than fly home and travel back again. D.C. had lost three of four road games before Sunday.
"It's a big step for us," Olsen said. "I don't want to blow it out of proportion too much because in this league on any given day, you can beat a team."
D.C. can move into a tie with New York for second place in the Eastern Conference with a victory Friday.