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ON SOCCER: No defense for the Galaxy

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The Los Angeles Galaxy score as much as any team in MLS. So far this season, even that has not been enough.

The Galaxy - winless in their last 12 games headed into Saturday's home match with D.C. United - are tied for the league lead with 44 goals but have surrendered a league-worst 49. Despite the efforts of Landon Donovan, who leads MLS with 16 goals, and David Beckham, the league's highest-paid player, the Galaxy own the league's worst record (6-10-8, 26 points) and could miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

Never before in MLS has a team shown so much offensive prowess but defended so poorly. As a result, Los Angeles remains five points shy of a playoff berth in the Western Conference.

Even with the Galaxy's long winless streak, United is preparing for an offensive onslaught. In fact, the Galaxy are known for their late-season surges. Last year, after a stretch with only one win in 12 games, Los Angeles finished the season 4-1-1.

"You are waiting for them just to explode and show what they have, and for us right now it's not a good situation," United midfielder Santino Quaranta said. "We just hope it doesn't happen this weekend, but the way it's going there is a good chance. We are going to put together a formation that is going to be compact. We have guys that can break their defense down, but they've got guys that can do the same to us."

Former United coach Bruce Arena is 0-2-2 at the helm of the Galaxy since he replaced Ruud Gullit.

"There has been a lot of adversity over there," United coach Tom Soehn said. "It's a hard situation for any coach to be in because of all the distractions. With the [salary] cap and having so many high-profile players, obviously you are heavy on the top and weak on the bottom."

United has struggled on the road this season (2-8-1) but hasn't lost at the Galaxy since 2003.

United stung the Galaxy 4-1 at RFK Stadium on June 29. It was the last time United fielded a healthy roster and capped a six-game unbeaten streak. United hasn't strung two wins together since.

"There's a lot of pressure on this game," Quaranta said. "We don't just want to squeak into the playoffs."

United, winless in its last three games, needs points because the Colorado Rapids (9-12-3, 30) and San Jose Earthquakes (7-9-8, 29) are both closing in for the final wild card spot.

"L.A. is due for a win, but so are we," United defender Devon McTavish said.

Notes - United will fly directly from Los Angeles to Honduras on Monday for Wednesday's game against Marathon in the CONCACAF Champions League. Jaime Moreno has a sore knee and didn't travel to Los Angeles. He said he may fly to Honduras for Wednesday's game. ...

Eugene Melnyk, owner of the NHL's Ottawa Senators, wants to bring a MLS team to Ottawa and build a 30,000-seat soccer venue.

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