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GALAXY'S DEFENSE FACES OPENING TEST.



Byline: Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer

PASADENA - Former Galaxy defender Robin Fraser Robin Fraser (born December 17, 1966, in Kingston, Jamaica) is a former soccer defender, one of the best defenders in Major League Soccer's history.

Fraser played college soccer at Florida International University from 1984 to 1988.
 has a rare combination of speed and positional sense.

Beginning with the inaugural Major League Soccer season in 1996, Fraser was there for the Galaxy, running down breakaways and cleaning up mistakes as the last man in the line of defense.

Not anymore. Fraser was traded Monday to the Colorado Rapids The Colorado Rapids are a soccer club based in Commerce City, Colorado that participates in Major League Soccer. The club was founded in 1995. The team colors are burgundy and sky blue with the home jerseys being burgundy. The away jerseys are sky blue with burgundy trim.  for future draft picks, a move made necessary to free up salary space after Cobi Jones Cobi Jones (born June 16, 1970 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American midfielder for Major League Soccer team Los Angeles Galaxy.

Jones is currently the all-time leader of the United States men's national team in appearances, with 164 caps as of the end of 2004 (scoring 15
 re-signed with the MLS See multilevel security.  and returned to Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. .

As the Galaxy opens its sixth MLS season tonight against San Jose San Jose, city, United States
San Jose (sănəzā`, săn hōzā`), city (1990 pop. 782,248), seat of Santa Clara co., W central Calif.; founded 1777, inc. 1850.
 at the Rose Bowl, defender Greg Vanney Greg Vanney (born June 11, 1974 in Chandler, Arizona) is an American soccer player, who currently plays defender for DC United of Major League Soccer.

Greg Vanney played college soccer for Florida International University in 1992, and for UCLA from 1993 to 1995.
, who takes over Fraser's central role, said life will be difficult without his former teammate - but not impossible.

``Without question, (Fraser) has been the best defender in the league the last five years,'' Vanney said. ``When you lose a guy like that, you're going to lose a little something in your defense, there's no two ways about it. But we can't look at this as the end of the world. We have to step up and make it right.''

Vanney had hernia surgery last month and is listed as doubtful tonight. The Galaxy will likely start Alexi Lalas Panayotis Alexander (Alexi) Lalas (born June 1 1970, Birmingham, Michigan) is a former Greek-American soccer defender, who became one of the most famous soccer players in the United States after he played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.  as the center defender, with Paul Caligiuri Paul David Caligiuri (born May 9, 1964 in Westminster, California) is a former American soccer player and current head coach of the Cal Poly Pomona men's college soccer team.  and Danny Califf on the outside.

With virtually no speed among those three, coach Sigi Schmid expects San Jose and other MLS teams to be more attack-oriented than normal against his team.

``Teams are going to say, `Let's test their speed in the back,' '' Schmid said. ``But I think with good positional play and appropriate defending, we can negate that.''

Schmid used the U.S. national team as an example of how to defend without speed. In the U.S. team's recent 2-1 victory over Honduras, Jeff Agoos and Carlos Llamosa played the central roles.

``You're not going to call either of those two speed burners,'' Schmid said. ``Yet the U.S. was able to play and not give away breakaways. Does that mean maybe we have to play four in the back? Maybe. We'll have to see how it goes.

``But for sure it means our positional play has to be good and we may have to be more conservative and less risky. With Robin we could match up man-to-man and stay even because we had speed to cover. That's not the case anymore.''

Playing and practicing without Fraser since January might help ease the transition.

Because of injuries, Fraser was not available for January's CONCACAF CONCACAF Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Soccer)
CONCACAF Confederacion Norte, Centroamericana y del Caribe de Futbol Asociacion (Spanish) 
 Champions' Cup, which the Galaxy won. And he was not available for a trip to the Far East in February or the Galaxy's exhibition games in Florida last month.

``In retrospect, it's a benefit because over the last three months we showed we could play without him and not give up a lot of goals,'' Schmid said. ``But there were a couple of games where we said, `Gee, if we had Robin's speed, it would make things a lot easier.'

``Yes, we would have been better with him on the field, but we're not horrible without him.''

Galaxy midfielder/defender Ezra Hendrickson needs more convincing.

``That was only a tournament and some exhibitions (without Fraser). We have to adjust to not having him for a 28-game season,'' Hendrickson said. ``We have experienced guys back there, but not having that (safety net) could take its toll.''

GALAXY vs. SAN JOSE

Time: 7 p.m., at the Rose Bowl

TV/Radio: FSN (Full-Service Network) A communications network that provides shopping, movies on demand and access to databases and a variety of interactive services. 2; 870-AM, 1020-AM (Spanish)

Head-to-head: Galaxy is 14-4-2 all-time against the Earthquakes.

Match update: Galaxy defender Greg Vanney is listed as doubtful after having hernia surgery last month. Alexi Lalas, acquired in December after announcing his retirement following the 1999 season, will make his debut as a central defender, with Paul Caligiuri and Danny Califf as the outside backs. The midfield will consist of Mauricio Cienfuegos, Cobi Jones, Ezra Hendrickson, Simon Elliott and Peter Vagenas. Sasha Victorine will start up front with rookie Brian Ching. The Earthquakes acquired 19-year-old striker Landon Donovan from Germany's Bayer Leverkusen, but fractured ribs will keep Donovan, who is from Redlands, on the sidelines On the sidelines

An investor who decides not to invest due to market uncertainty.


on the sidelines

Of or relating to investors who, having assessed the market, have decided to avoid committing their funds.
. Canadian international Dwayne DeRosario had an impressive training camp and forward Ronald Cerritos is always dangerous.

-Fred J. Robledo

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 7, 2001
Words:716
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