Donovan talks Seattle Sounders, the importance of the first leg and more

11 November 1:08 pm

Donovan talks Seattle Sounders, the importance of the first leg and more

By Adam Serrano

CARSON, Calif. – On Saturday, reporters caught up with LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan to discuss his feelings and thoughts heading into Sunday’s Western Conference Championship match against Seattle Sounders FC.

Donovan discusses a wide range of topics including Mike Magee, LA’s prior success against Seattle and a number of other issues below.

(On Mike Magee…)

DONOVAN: “There are certain players this time of year that play at a different level and Mike is one of them. When you have players like that on your team, it gives you a better chance to win. I say it all the time that this time of year, especially, you need guys that can make special plays on both sides of the field and Mike gives us another option end of the field, teams are clued in on a few of us then he’s a guy that they have to worry about. When they forget about him, he makes them pay.”

(On what exactly makes Magee special…)

DONOVAN: “Technically, Mike and Robbie are our two best finishers and our two best strikers of the ball, so when he gets a chance, he’s lethal. What he does well on top of that is that he puts himself in good positions. A lot of us understandably draw some attention and he gets a chance to get open and make a play, he makes plays and that’s what makes him dangerous.”

(On Robbie Keane…)

DONOVAN: “Robbie is the beneficiary of a couple of things—one, we’re playing a lot better and two, he’s getting in great spots and when he’s getting chances, he’s burying them. He’s probably scored 20 goals this year in all the competitions; he’s been unlucky on a number of other ones. He could have 30 goals at least this year. He makes our job really easy, he always wants the ball, he puts himself in dangerous spots and if we do our job and get him the ball then he’s going to score more often than not.”

(On what it will take to beat Seattle…)

DONOVAN: “Well, Seattle hasn’t given up many goals as of late and so I think that the first thing that stands out about them is that defensively, they’re very, very good. In my opinion, along with us, they’ve been the best team over the last stretch of the season. They have Eddie [Johnson] playing well, [Mauro] Rosales is playing well, Brad Evans is playing well, and obviously, their goal the other night by [Mario] Martinez was special. They’ve got a lot of special players on their team, and [Fredy] Montero is always dangerous, so they create a number of problems. And when their backline and goalkeeper are playing that way then they’re going to be hard to beat.”

(On what Seattle does well defensively…)

DONOVAN: “Well, they have continuity first of all. All of us in this league think that having a back four and one or two midfielders that play all the time and a goalie that plays all the time produces results. I think Jeff Parke has been one of the best defenders in the league this year, [Jhon Kennedy] Hurtado is solid, [Adam] Johansson has been good. But the key to their team I think in any circumstance is Alonso. He’s a guy that I’m sure when Sigi puts his lineup every time; he knows what he’s getting out of that guy. He’s very good and he’s very influential and he’s going to be a very big part of their team over the next two games.”

(On defensive continuity with Tommy Meyer playing in place of A.J. DeLaGarza…)

DONOVAN: “We’re very blessed that we have, really, three head coaches on this team in Dave [Sarachan], Curt [Onalfo], and Bruce [Arena]. They’ve done a good job with not only Tommy, but all the guys who have played a bunch of reserve games and they were able to put out the reserve team in three of the four Champions League games and still advance the way that we did. We’ve been able to do that with the help of our coaching staff and Tommy has just grown, he’s grown from the beginning of the year till now and I think that he really grew up the other day in the San Jose game. That was a real soccer game with real pressure and real circumstance, and I think that he passed with flying colors. We need similar performances against arguably two of the most dangerous forwards in the league together.”

(On setting the tone in the first leg…)

DONOVAN: “As we learned in the last series, it’s a 180 minutes, potentially more so we’re not going to get too caught up in what happens after the first game whether it’s good or bad. We want to play well and we want to use our advantages well, we think that if we play well, we have a good chance to win this game. We’re also very comfortable going on the road in getting results, no matter the environment and we’ve proved that over the years.”

(On LA having a psychological advantage over Seattle due to success in important matches…)

DONOVAN: “Well, not this year, I think that they turned the corner this year and they beat us very handily twice in Seattle and in the game here, they could argue that they could have won that or should have won that game too. They’ve played us very tough this year and we expect the same in this series.”

(On the Galaxy’s confidence right now…)

DONOVAN: “We’re all feeling very confident right now and we’re all feeding off each other’s energy. There was something good about the energy in the San Jose away game and there was something special in the locker room, we could all feel it at half time and after the game. The last couple of days, we’ve all been excited and I think we’re feeding off each other and we’re starting to play close to potential and we want to keep it that way.”