Seattle Sounders FC

22 November 4:26 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- One of the main matchup questions heading into Sunday's Western Conference Championship first leg between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC is the status of Sounders midfield engine Osvaldo Alonso. 

Despite Seattle boss Sigi Schmid appearing confident that Alonso -- who has made the trip from the Pacific Northwest -- will be ready by gametime, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena had a different opinion according to Matt Pentz of the Seattle Times.

"'He's not going to go," Arena said on Saturday. "I'd bet the house on that."

Well then. 

Alonso's absence will make life considerably easier for LA midfielders Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho as the Brazilians will likely match up against either Michael Ariza -- a like-for-like replacelement -- or more offensive minded Andy Rose. 

But no matter what happens with Alonso's status, Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan says LA want the star midfielder on the field when the game kicks off on Sunday. 

“Ozzie makes them a very good team,” Donovan said. “He is unquestionably their engine, and he's really their leader. When you take him off the field, they're affected pretty severely, we know that.

“We hope he plays,” Donovan added. “We know he hasn't trained all week, so it's looking less and less likely that he will play, but we're going to prepare as if he's playing, and we want him to play. If we're going to win, we want to beat the best team.”

22 November 2:04 pm

In my latest edition of "Insider Breakdown," I look at the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship first leg against Seattle Sounders FC

Check it out above.

21 November 3:39 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are heading into their Western Conference Championship series with Seattle Sounders FC with a boatload of confidence after the way that they dispatched Real Salt Lake, but three players will need to be cautious heading into the first leg.

Landon Donovan, Robbie Rogers, and Omar Gonzalez are both on yellow card watch heading into Sunday’s first leg. Should either of the three earn a caution from referee Kevin Stott, they will miss out on next week’s second leg at CenturyLink Field. It bears mentioning, however, that no player can be suspended for MLS Cup based on yellow card accumulation.

While Donovan and Rogers are at risk, Gonzalez faces a particular challenge as he looks to avoid a yellow card and mark dynamic strikers Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey.

“I have to be very smart with how I defend and how aggressive I am,” said Gonzalez. “But having said that, I have to leave it all on the field and not worry about the referees or about anything out of my control. I have to worry about how I show up, how I approach the game and how focused I am over 90 minutes."

21 November 2:20 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Gyasi Zardes took MLS by storm with 16 goals in his second season with the LA Galaxy, but since finding the back of the net on Sept. 28, the forward has been silent.

Recently, Zardes has seen his amount of chances dwindle from an average of just over a shot on goal per game after the New York Red Bulls match to just two chances in the entirety of his six-game scoring drought.

Although the 23-year-old forward has failed to bury his chances as of late, his strike partner, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane says Zardes must get back to basics if he’s going to find the back of the net against Seattle Sounders FC this weekend.

“He has to get back to understanding what got him here in the first place. The most important thing that he has to understand is to be a team player first. If you’re a team player first then everything else will take care of itself,” Keane said after training earlier this week. “He needs to get back to what he’s good at, which is getting behind the defense and creating opportunities. But when he gets those opportunities then he has to take them and in the last few games, he hasn’t. He needs to get back to that.

“Like any striker, you always go through stages where you don’t score and it plays in your mind. The most important thing is that he has to get that out of his head fairly quickly, because when you’re going into games thinking that you haven’t scored for a while, it’ll work against you. One thing that I would say is that when you get an opportunity, rather than be clever and try to place it, sometimes just put your foot through and try to smash it. Usually that has worked for me over the years when I haven’t scored in a few games.”

To his credit, Zardes agrees that if he’s going to find the back of the net in LA’s Western Conference Championship series, he has to be sharper in front of the net

“To be honest, I’m working extremely hard and there are numerous opportunities, but I'm just going to keep doing the same things that I've been doing. I've been unlucky, but the [chances] are there,” said Zardes. “I just think that I have to get on the end of crosses because if you look at my goals, they typically come with solid link-up play with Robbie.”

21 November 1:36 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will renew their rivalry with Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship. 

In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, I take a look at the club's record in Conference Championship games. 

Check it out below.

21 November 11:09 am

FIFA 15 picks the winner of leg 1 of the Western Conference Championship between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC at the StubHub Center.

20 November 7:22 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Way back in July, the LA Galaxy were walloped 7-0 by Manchester United in the Chevrolet FC Cup at the Rose Bowl. Although the match meant nothing in the MLS regular season standings, a certain segment of the Galaxy believe that the "embarrassment" from that win helped propel the club to the Western Conference Championship. 

In front of droves of fans at the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy fell flat to a fierce United side that made quick work of LA's defense, particularly once the home side's first team was off the field. But since that defeat, LA has been a much different squad

Starting with a 3-0 domination of the very same Seattle Sounders FC team that they'll face on Sunday, the Galaxy have gone an impressive 10-3-4 since their defeat to the English Premier League club.

"It was embarrassing and we just turned a corner," said A.J. DeLaGarza. "Every year there is a game that turns everything around...it happened to Omar [Gonzalez] and I in college, it happens to us here." 

Added Landon Donovan, "We don't put much stock into the final score, but we didn't play well. When we play well and lose then we can live with that and Bruce [Arena] can live with that. But when we lose and don't play well then that is unacceptable."

But Robbie Keane, who famously said that the defeat to Manchester United was a "kick in the ass" for the Galaxy, said that the match had no impact on his own thinking about LA's season. 

"I literally haven't thought about Manchester United since that game," said Keane. "I don't pay any mind to preseason games, and it's even less when it's not our own preseason." 

18 November 3:24 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy welcomed back captain Robbie Keane from international duty on Tuesday ahead of this weekend's Western Conference Championship first leg clash with Seattle Sounders FC.

Keane spent the last week with the Republic of Ireland and saw limited second half action in their 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Scotland last Friday. The match was the first time that Keane had been left on the substitute’s bench for a competitive international match in 13 years.

“I was disappointed with the result which wasn’t what [the Irish squad] wanted, but I move on and I’m fully focused on the game on Sunday,” Keane said on Tuesday following the team’s training session. “[Coming back early] gives me six days to get back into the swing of things for Sunday after the travel back from Europe.”

The 34-year-old noted that conversations between the Galaxy coaching staff and the Republic of Ireland allowed Keane to miss out on their 4-1 defeat over the United States on Tuesday.  Not only does Keane’s return aid in his preparation for the Sounders match, but the Irish striker notes that he is “90-ish percent” back from a left hamstring ailment that plagued him for the last month.

Keane returns to a Galaxy squad that is the midst of their preparations for their clash with a Seattle side that clinched the Supporters’ Shield by defeating the Galaxy on Oct. 25 at CenturyLink Field. Although the Galaxy felt the sting of that defeat after the Seattle match, Keane says that loss will have no impact on what happens on Sunday at StubHub Center.    

“There’s no fear. You can’t have fear going into game like this. These are the games that you want to be playing in,” Keane said. “We can’t change about what happened in the past, but we can change what will happen on Sunday. We have to make sure that we go into the game with the right mentality and not thinking that is revenge.

“This is where we wanted to be. We wanted to have a chance to play for a championship and we have every opportunity to do so.”

17 November 12:48 pm

The Professional Referee Organization announced on Monday that veteran official Kevin Stott will preside over Sunday’s Western Conference Championship first leg between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC.

This season, Stott called an average of 24.25 fouls per game (388 in all) while awarding a total of 42 yellow cards (2.6 per game), three red cards and calling for nine penalty kicks.  The 47-year-old refereed three Galaxy games (Sept 14 v. FC Dallas, Aug. 27 v. D.C. United and Aug. 2 vs. Portland) this season and one match involving the Sounders (Sept. 12 vs. Real Salt Lake).

LA hold a 10-0-0 record in the last 10 games with Stott officiating—a list that includes playoff victories against San Jose in 2012 and Real Salt Lake in 2013—while Seattle are 5-1-4.

The refereeing team for Sunday’s match is below.

REFEREE: KEVIN STOTT

AR1: Adam Wienckowski

AR2: Greg Barkey

4TH: Ricardo Salazar

13 November 2:38 pm

There's no feeling better than scoring a goal in the playoffs. 

Ahead of the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship contest against Seattle Sounders FC, I joined Galaxy TV to look at the top five playoff goals in club history. 

Check it out the video above and if you disagree with any of my selections, leave a comment below.