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MLS Preview: Galaxy return from International Champions Cup action

SoccerNews in MLS 8 Aug 2013

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LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena feels his side can improve in the MLS as a result of their participation in the International Champions Cup.

The MLS Cup holders, who finished fourth in the competition after losing to Milan on Wednesday, return to domestic action when they take on FC Dallas on Sunday.

A win over Schellas Hyndman’s side could move the Galaxy into second in the Western Conference and Arena is keen to learn if his team’s experience in the tournament has been a positive one, having also beaten Juventus 3-1 and lost by the same scoreline to eventual champions Real Madrid.

“If we can learn from these three games, it’s going to help improve our team for the remaining games in Major League Soccer. That’s what’s important,” Arena said.

“I think we’re going to see on Sunday if this tournament was such that we were able to get better as a team.”

Five points separate eighth and second in the Western Conference, with Real Salt Lake three points clear at the top.

Jason Kreis’ side host Houston Dynamo at the Rio Tinto Stadium as they look to increase the gap on the chasing duo of Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers.

The Rapids face bottom side Chivas USA while Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls can go five points clear of Sporting Kansas City with a win against Columbus Crew.

Kansas take on New England Revolution, who themselves can move into the play-off spots, provided they bounce back from defeat to Toronto on Monday.

Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union will look to keep up with the pacesetters in the Eastern Conference when they take on Chicago Fire and DC United respectively.

Seattle Sounders could hand a debut to new signing Clint Dempsey for their trip to Toronto, with a win for Sigi Schmid’s side potentially enough to move them to fourth.

The USA captain has been suffering with a virus but is in with a chance of featuring for his new club on Saturday following his move back to America from Tottenham.

After training with his team-mates, Dempsey told the MLS website: “The level was good, there’s a lot of quality on this team and I’m just looking forward to making the team better and helping the team do well.”

San Jose Earthquakes are another side who can move into the coveted top five, provided they can record their fourth consecutive victory against Vancouver Whitecaps.

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