Chivas' Galindo hopes to play

Times Staff Writer

Chivas USA forward Maykel Galindo is doing everything he can to make sure he's available for tonight's playoff game against Kansas City. He's even declared himself ready to go, but Coach Preki is still uncertain.

A week ago Galindo, who is suffering from a sports hernia, practiced the day before the team's first playoff game but was not available to play the next day.

Preki says he won't know until today whether the team's leading scorer will play in tonight's second game of the Western Conference semifinals against the Wizards at the Home Depot Center. Galindo got a cortisone shot Monday to alleviate the pain in his abdomen, then sat out Tuesday's practice. But the Cuban-born player has participated with the team the last three days and said the shot helped.

"Right now I run fast and it hurts a lot less," Galindo said in Spanish. "It's allowed me to [tolerate] the pain."

Galindo said if he woke up today in pain he'd be ready to take another cortisone shot. "Whatever I have to do to play . . . I'll do," he said.

Josh Beaumont, Chivas' trainer, said Galindo risks injuring himself further if he plays.

Preki said he'll leave the decision of whether to take a second cortisone shot up to Galindo. "I don't really like to push my players to do that. That's a personal decision," Preki said.

Chivas has managed only one goal in the last four games and is already without Ante Razov, the team's other primary goal scorer. Last week Kansas City beat Chivas, 1-0. The team with the best overall aggregate-goal score advances to the next round of the playoffs.

But the team is confident that playing at home will make a difference. Chivas was a league-best 10-1-4 at home this season (while outscoring opponents 28-8) and the Carson field's dimensions are wider than at Arrowhead Stadium.

History is on Chivas' side as well.

Coming into this year's playoffs, lower-seeded teams failed to hold onto their leads in six of eight occasions since 2003. Chivas was one of those lower-seed teams that failed to maintain a lead in last season's playoffs when it lost to Houston; many players credited the Dynamo fans with being a huge influence in the second game.

In an effort to create a similar environment, Chivas' marketing department has gone into overdrive to sell tickets.

The team bought air time on two local cable channels last week to run its first TV ads of the season, and on Thursday the team played host to a fan rally at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood.

"We need the guys to sense the energy and the crowd being behind us," Preki said. "We are a team that gives everything we have, but knowing that there is a big crowd -- that could be a big boost for us."

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan is not ready to have the season end on Saturday.

"We said if we got home-field advantage we should make it to MLS Cup," he added. "Anything less than that is going to be a disappointment."



vs. Kansas City, 7:30, FSN West

Site -- Home Depot Center.

Radio -- 1020 (Spanish).

Records -- Chivas 15-8-8, Kansas City 12-12-7.

Record vs. Wizards -- 1-2-0.

Update -- Former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, traded to Kansas City before the start of the season, is 7-2-1 when facing Chivas USA. The Wizards' Davy Arnaud, who scored on a free kick from 30-plus yards out last week, has scored two goals against Chivas this season -- both on free kicks. Chivas gets back defender/midfielder Lawson Vaughn for tonight's game. Vaughn served a one-game suspension for getting a red card in the team's season finale against Houston.


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