for this game

Galaxy-Crew Preview

May 28, 2010 - 9:25 PM By KATE HEDLIN STATS Writer

Los Angeles (8-0-2) at Columbus (6-0-2), 7:30 p.m. EDT

Even with two of the league's stars not playing, there's still plenty of hype surrounding a matchup between the last two unbeaten MLS teams.

With Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle preparing for the World Cup, the Los Angeles Galaxy look for their league-leading ninth win when they visit the Columbus Crew on Saturday night.

Los Angeles (8-0-2) leads the league with 26 points, a comfortable 10 ahead of three teams in second place in the Western Conference. In the East, Columbus (6-0-2) leads with 20 points - five ahead of New York.

According to the Crew's official website, this will be one of the latest times in a season that unbeaten teams will square off.

While it's being billed as a possible MLS Cup preview, the Galaxy will be without Donovan and Buddle, who were named to the U.S. World Cup team this week. The two stars, who have combined for 10 goals and 11 assists, will miss at least the next three games before the league breaks during the World Cup.

"When you lose Landon and Edson for an extended period of time it will test you, but we've had guys out all year," defender Todd Dunivant told the league's official website. "Our whole roster has had to start games all year and we're still getting results. ... That's a testament to our whole team, our team mentality."

Even without Donovan and Buddle, the Galaxy defeated FC Dallas 1-0 on May 20. Donovan Ricketts had three saves after missing the previous game with a hyperextended elbow.

Los Angeles has recorded four straight shutouts and has given up two goals all season, leaving the club feeling good heading into the weekend.

"We're going in there a confident group," Dunivant said. "We know they're confident but we have nothing to fear going in there. We're going to approach it just like we have all the other games and going there trying to get a good result and if we do that I think we'll be alright."

The Crew have also received some stellar goaltending during their hot start. They have two shutouts in the last three games and have given up six goals all year.

Columbus beat Kansas City 1-0 on Sunday, as William Hesmer had six saves in his franchise-record 26th shutout.

Columbus knows, though, that it needs to find the back of the net - not an easy task against Ricketts and the Galaxy. The Crew have scored five goals in their last three games and will be looking to Emilio Renteria, who has scored in each of the last two, to stay hot.

"To have only two goals against 10 games into the season is incredible," Crew defender Frankie Hejduk said. "That's a testament to their team defense. Hopefully the flood gates open a bit."

Robbie Rogers will return to Columbus after being cut from the U.S. World Cup team. He has one goal in six games and is among the team leaders with 14 shots.

The Crew defeated the Galaxy 2-0 at home in September in the most recent meeting.