Seattle SoundersFC ( 10-13-5, 35 points) will need to take down the proverbial bully Sunday afternoon (1:00 p.m. PT) at the StubHub Center in Southern California if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive. The said give me your lunch money or else bully is none other than the LA Galaxy (11-4-15, 48 points.)
The Sounders are in seventh place and just six points behind the Portland Timbers ( 11-8-12, 41 points) who occupy the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Sounders have played three less games so a tie in LA will keep hope alive. A loss would not eliminate them from the playoffs race but destiny would be out of the Rave Greens hands.
The Galaxy are on a six game unbeaten streak and are currently tied for second place with Colorado. A win over Seattle would clinch a playoff berth. The Sounders will need to play their best if they are to walk away with a tie. Seattle has not won in LA since 2009.
If the Sounders are to break the trend they will need to execute in every phase of the game according to interim head coach Brian Schmetzer.
“The home tactics versus away tactics are subtle, but sometimes those subtle differences can creep up in moments in the game where one team executes their game plan, versus the other team executing theirs and it becomes an issue,” Schmetzer said. “Case in point: We’ve talked about or outside backs going [forward], but [Robbie] Keane, [Giovani] dos Santos, [Steven] Gerrard when he was in, those guys like to play in those soft areas, wait until the ball is turned over and then they’re out on the counter.
“So the challenge will be for Joevin [Jones] and Tyrone [Mears], Cristian [Roldan], Ozzie [Alonso], the two center backs to be aware, but at the same time we’re not going to be afraid to try and pin them in their half of the field either.”
The Sounders will be without Clint Dempsey who is still going medical testing for an irregular heartbeat. Captain Brad Evans was a full participant during the teams practice on Friday and is available for selection.
Familiar foe Landon Donovan came out of retirement on September 11 2016 and scored a goal in his second game helping the Galaxy secure a 2-2 draw at Sporting Kansas City.
In addition to Donovan, LA is expected to see the return of Forwards Gio Dos Santos and Robbie Keane who were dealing with leg injuries.
The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Robbie Keane scored the game’s lone goal to give the Galaxy the victory July 9 at CenturyLink Field. On July 31 at CenturyLink Field, Cristian Roldan gave Sounders FC a first-half lead, but Sebastian Lletget netted the equalizer 12 minutes from time to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw.
2016 SEASON RECORD
GP W-L-T PTS GF GA
LA Galaxy (30 11-4-15 48 51 34)
at home 1 5 8-0-7 31 30 14
Sounders FC 28 10-13-5 35 34 37
on road 14 2-8-4 10 15 26 2
Goals 14 dos Santos Assist: 11 dos Santos/Gerrard
Goals 10 Morris Assist: 7 Ivanschitz/Lodeiro