All-out battle for 3rd in the west
The match will be filled with star power. We could see a full compliment of 6 Designated Players on the pitch at once. Will this star power and excitement live up to the hype?
Let’s dig a little deeper and see.
Kickoff: 9:00 PM EST Century Link Field
SEA: 9-5-7 (6-3-1 H)
LA: 10-10-3 (5-5-2 V)
The Galaxy have been the Sounders Achilles heel in the first 4 years of their MLS existence. Some of Sounders’ fans worst memories are against the team from LA, including the infamous 4-0 thrashing at home and a playoff defeat in 2010.
It appeared that the balance of power was changing during the team’s 1st meeting this year. Fredy Montero led by example during that match with a wonder goal from 40 yards out.
The Sounders came out on top 2-0.
Los Angeles Galaxy
The Galaxy started out the first few months of the 2012 campaign with one of the worst records in the league. Pundits claimed that the age of the Galaxy squad had finally caught up to their performance. It looked like a legitimate changing of the guard in the MLS elite was in order.
Fast forward to August. Sure, the Galaxy aren’t the number one team in the MLS, but they have had a strong resurgence. They now sit in playoff position and are hoping to move up the table even further.
Here are a few reasons for the LA run:
- Edson Buddles’s injury: Buddle returned to LA with fanfare last year, but it appears his playing style was not a good fit with Robbie Keane. The forward tandem of Keane and Landon Donovan has been far more productive.
- Shoring up the defense: The team didn’t realize how much they relied on Omar Gonzalez until he was gone. He’s helped to slow the flow of goals since his return from knee injury.
- The old guys are playing with inspiration: Despite everyone’s misgivings about the age of the roster, the older core of the roster has continued to perform. They’ve been led by 37 year-old David Beckham, who has 9 assists and 6 goals to his name so far.
Seattle Sounders FC
This is an important transition match for the Sounders. The side has recovered from their devastating winless run of 9 games. They haven’t lost in more than a month. During that time have posted 2 league wins as well as victories in the U.S. Open Cup and Concacaf Champions League.
That said, this is a transition match for the team. At the close of the transfer window, they traded away Alvaro Fernandez. He had been one of their key performers as of late. You can argue that his replacements improve the team, but Mario Martinez is still at the Olympics with Honduras, and Christian Tiffert will probably only be good for 30 minutes tonight.
This means that the Sounders will be left with a big hole on the left side of the pitch when they face their rivals from the south.
Here’s what they need to do to find a win:
- Feed Eddie Johnson: The Sounders’ other forward not named Montero, Eddie Johnson has been turning in an amazing season. The ball needs to find his feet (or his head) if the Sounders want to win this match.
- Resurgent Mauro: In the last 5-6 matches Mauro Rosales has played like he did in 2011. He’ll need to continue to marshall the midfield tonight.
- Minimize mistakes on the left wing: Whoever plays on the left wing, needs to work hard to not give too much up. Seattle doesn’t need a sterling performance from the left side, just a serviceable one.
Matchup to watch: Michael Gspurning vs. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane
The forward tandem of the LA Galaxy will have their chance. They’re too good to stay silent for a whole match. Thanks goodness the Seattle number 1 goalkeeper is back between the posts. Michael Gspurning will need to come up big when Keane and Donovan break through the defense.
This will be a even match. Both teams have a lot to play for. They’re realistically competing for 3rd place in the west. I think that Sounders FC has a slight edge because they’re playing at home.
The Brougham Faithful should be celebrating long into the summer night.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Los Angeles Galaxy 1
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