As if it won't be difficult enough playing without the striker who has scored five of the team's six goals, the Union (1-3 in MLS games) must also find a way to stop Edson Buddle, the MLS' leading scorer.
Named on Thursday as the MLS Player of the Month, Buddle has scored all seven of the Galaxy's goals this season.
A native of Westchester County in Upstate New York, Buddle has already surpassed his goal total from last season, when he had five in 19 games during an injury-plagued season for the Galaxy, who lost in the MLS championship game to Real Salt Lake.
"I've never started out this way," Buddle said in a phone interview. "It usually takes me a while to warm up."
He credits the fact that he stayed in California during the off-season, playing in some high-level pickup games.
The 28-year-old Buddle, who has just one career cap, could be making a late impression on the U.S. national team.
"There has been talk of [a national team call-up], but I don't know what will come out of it, and my main focus has been on the Galaxy," Buddle said. "I would love to play for my country, and if I continue to play well, make Bob's decision harder," referring to U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley.
"Edson Buddle is on fire and has something to play for in a lot of ways and is playing his way into a potential national team call-up," Union assistant coach John Hackworth said. "When you are facing a goal-scorer like that, you have to do a really good job of containing him."
Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@Phillynews.com.