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Motivation From Trade Factors In for Galaxy, Burn

August 30, 2003|Paul Gutierrez | Times Staff Writer

Ryan Suarez figures he has something to prove ... to many people.

And there's little doubt that the others involved in last month's five-player trade involving the Galaxy and Dallas Burn harbor the same feelings, sentiments that may surface tonight when those teams meet for the first time since the July 11 deal that brought Suarez, Paul Broome and Antonio Martinez to the defending Major League Soccer champions for Ezra Hendrickson and Gavin Glinton.

"Of course whenever you go against your ex-team there's always a little motivation to show that you should have never been traded," said Suarez, a defender who may start his second MLS game for the Galaxy tonight, though he is still recovering from a strained right hamstring.

"You want to prove, to not only your ex-team, but to my new fans now at L.A. that I can play here and hopefully move on and take this team to another MLS championship."

Hendrickson, one of the most popular players ever to wear a Galaxy jersey, took the trade hard.

"I was definitely surprised," he told USSoccerUK.com. " ... I had just re-signed a year ago and really thought I would finish my career in L.A. I bought a house in February and recently got married, just five days before I was traded.

"There was a lot going on with me off the field -- purchasing the house, planning the wedding, nagging injuries, major death in the family ... -- and [Galaxy Coach] Sigi [Schmid] knew it too, but I guess he was pushed to make a move and it was at my expense."

Schmid acknowledged the possibility of the traded players being too keyed up but insisted that the match has added implications.

Specifically, the Galaxy can put more distance between itself and the Burn for the fourth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Plus, a Galaxy victory combined with a Kansas City loss at Columbus and a Colorado defeat at San Jose would move the Galaxy into a second-place tie with the Wizards.

"We have to approach it just like a playoff game," Schmid said.

A Galaxy win would all but shut the door on the woeful Burn's playoff chances. Not that Suarez is entirely melancholy.

"It's definitely bittersweet ... to leave Dallas, my first home," the third-year pro said. "If you think about family, which is what us players try to do -- we don't like to look at it as a business -- they were my first family. To come to this now has been a bit of a struggle with everything involved with the trade but they've taken me in like one of their own and now I need to show them the respect that they've showed me.

"But I'm from California. It couldn't have been any better."

*

GALAXY TONIGHT

vs. Dallas, 7

(ESPN2, 11 p.m.)

Site -- Home Depot Center.

Radio -- KXMX (1190), KTNQ (1020, Spanish), Radio Korea (1230, Korean).

Records -- Galaxy 6-7-8, Burn 4-13-4.

Record vs. Burn -- 1-0-2.

Update -- The Burn, which has been devastated by the loss of forward Jason Kreis to season-ending knee surgery, has scored a league-low 22 goals while surrendering a league-high 44. The MLS record for fewest goals scored in a season is 31, set by D.C. United last year. Dallas is 1-6-2 on the road, where it has been outscored, 20-5. The Galaxy has outscored the Burn, 5-2, including a 3-0 win on June 28 in Carson. Galaxy defender Tyrone Marshall (left heel) is doubtful.

Tickets -- (213) 480-3232 or (714) 740-2000.

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