The Los Angeles Galaxy is tired of losing to the Carolina RailHawks.
According to the team’s website, Los Angeles will have superstars Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan available for Tuesday’s match in Cary in the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Only 16 teams are left in the competition.
It would be a drastic change in approach from the previous two Cups, where the Galaxy have lost at Carolina while fielding mostly second- and third-string players. Last year, even Galaxy coach Bruce Arena didn’t make the trip, letting an assistant man the sideline.
There are few factors why this year is different for L.A., but the RailHawks have differences, too.
This game won’t be on the same field.
WakeMed Soccer Park is a Town of Cary facility. The town is re-sodding the stadium field, which means Tuesday’s game will be on the secondary field right behind the west stands, Koka Booth Stadium, or “Field 2.”
Field 2 has hosted some high school state championships, but even with temporary stands, it won’t meet the demand for Galaxy tickets. In 2012, 7,939 fans packed the stadium to watch the RailHawks win 2-1, while 8,121 came last year for a 2-0 win. Both set team attendance records, and neither time did the front office market the game as if there would be appearances from Donovan, Keane or the now-retired David Beckham. Tickets cost $20-$25.
Donovan, who was left off the U.S. men’s World Cup team but has provided some analysis for ESPN in Brazil, said he hopes to start.
“We’re all expecting to play in this game. We’re sick of losing to Carolina and we’re sick of going out of the Open Cup early,” Donovan said, according to the Galaxy’s website.
Keane, who made his name in the early 2000s with Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League before joining the Galaxy in 2011, spoke about coming off the bench possibly.
“I’ll have to speak to Bruce, but I imagine that we’ll take a full team. It’s a competition that we certainly need to win,” Keane said.
The RailHawks are one of three teams from the second-division North American Soccer League left in the U.S. Open Cup and the only one out of four lower-division teams to host its fifth-round match.
Blake: 919-460-2606; For RailHawks coverage on Twitter: @SWakeSports