Wanna know what a difference a year makes?
One year ago, nearly to the day, the L.A. Galaxy curb-stomped Jason Kreis's hapless New York City FC squad in Carson, California, 5-1.
In the present day, Frank Lampard has more goals in his last ten games than any Galaxy player has for the whole 2016 season.
Let that percolate for a hot second.
It won't help Bruce Arena's squad in the least that first-choice goalkeeper Brian Rowe is unavailable after getting a knee to the head ("de Jong'd") last weekend against Colorado. The veteran manager will have to turn to knight-errant Dan Kennedy, who has three starts in MLS play this year, or tenderfoot Clement Diop, a standout for LA Galaxy II that has yet to make his league debut.
That's got to have David Villa, whose brace last weekend tied him for the MLS Golden Boot lead, licking his chops.
The loudest storylines of the week, however, have focused on the long-awaited reunion of a handful of English expats: Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Ashley Cole.
"I think [the matchup] carries a bit more, and good. I'm sure it does for both teams," Lampard told MLSSoccer.com this week.
"We're big franchises, both of us, big players, there will maybe extra media attention and a big crowd on the day. The basic is three points for both of us, we're both fighting in different conferences. Of course there's pride between players and when you're playing against another big franchise you want to win."
How important is a win on Saturday, then, in light of last year's 5-1 drubbing under an angry sun at the StubHub Center?
"We know last year was a very disappointing result there and we want to cast ourselves as a team that's going to challenge," Lampard said.
The action kicks off at 3:30pm ET on ESPN.
- Blues gaffer Patrick Vieira and center back Maxime Chanot were red-carded after Saturday's 3-3 draw in Columbus. With no news yet about an appeal, it's fair to expect that neither will be available to help the team against L.A.
- NYCFC is tied with the Red Bulls for the most goals scored in MLS with 43, and trails only New England Revolution in goals allowed (44 to 43).
- The Galaxy are undefeated in their last nine, and match NYCFC's current point total (38) in two fewer games played.
- Cole and Lampard were teammates at Chelsea from 2006 to 2014. Those two, along with Gerrard, all capped more than 100 times for England before retiring from international football.
- The Blues haven't scored a goal against the Galaxy in open play. Down 4-0 in last season's tilt, David Villa converted from the penalty spot for the squad's sole tally.