Pregame Notes: LA host rivals Seattle in MLS regular season finale
LA GALAXY vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS
HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
October 28, 2012 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #323)
9 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN Deportes; TSN2)
The curtain comes down on the 2012 regular season in Major League Soccer when the defending champion LA Galaxy take on Seattle Sounders FC. The playoff futures for both clubs are secure. The Galaxy will take on Vancouver in Carson Thursday, November 1 in a Knockout Round match, following their 2-2 draw at San Jose last time out. Sounders FC have another meeting with Real Salt Lake ahead in the conference semifinals, their last league match a 3-1 win vs. FC Dallas.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Daniel Radford
Stott's MLS Career: 231 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 59; pens: 48
- LA GALAXY -- OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); DF David Junior Lopes (L facial fracture); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (L ankle soreness); MF Landon Donovan (L knee bone bruise)
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS -- OUT: FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); DF Andrew Duran (L ACL surgery); DOUBTFUL: DF Leo Gonzalez (R hamstring strain); DF Patrick Ianni (R calf strain); PROBABLE: DF Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (facial fracture); MF Steve Zakuani (abdominal strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA: A.J. DeLaGarza ... SEA: Fredy Montero, Zach Scott, Christian Tiffert
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Galaxy 3 wins, 9 goals ... Sounders FC 3 wins, 10 goals ... Ties 2
IN CARSON (4 meetings): Galaxy 1 win, 3 goals ... Sounders FC 1 win, 3 goals ... Ties 1
5/2: SEA 2, LA 0 (Johnson 40; Montero 48)
8/5: SEA 4, LA 0 (Johnson 6; Montero 52; Caskey 61; Rose 88)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this year, and Sounders FC won both previous matches at home in impressive fashion. Sounders FC took a 2-0 win May 2 at CenturyLink Field behind goals from Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero, then Montero and Johnson scored again as Seattle rolled to a 4-0 win Aug. 5.
- The wins have been the first for Sounders FC vs. the Galaxy in six all-time meetings at CenturyLink Field (regular-season and playoffs). The Galaxy had won their previous three visits to play Seattle; the opening goal in the first meeting snapped a 345-minute home goalless streak vs. LA for Seattle.
- The first victory this season was Seattle’s first vs. the Galaxy since the 2009 season. The Galaxy had won five MLS meetings in a row, including both legs of a Western Conference Semifinal Series in 2010, before the teams played to a scoreless draw last July 4 in Carson.
- Seattle has knocked the Galaxy out of the U.S. Open Cup each of the last two years, winning quarterfinals matches each year at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.
- Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. SEA: P8 W3 L3 D2 ... Sigi Schmid vs. LA: P14 W6 L4 D4
- Sounders FC opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Once again, Mauro Rosales was the one providing service for Eddie Johnson, sending in a cross from about 30 yards that allowed Johnson to hit a glancing header that went just inside the far post.
- The lead was doubled in the 51st minute when Fredy Montero powered home a side-footed volley off a rebound from an Alex Caskey shot.
- Caskey then got one of his own when he was able to catch Saunders far off his line from about 35 yards out, after the Galaxy goalkeeper made a hurried clearance near the edge of the penalty area under pressure from Johnson.
- The rout was complete in the 88th minute. After Marc Burch was freed with a through ball from Rosales, he slid a pass to rookie Andy Rose, who slotted it inside the near post.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo
Gonzalez - Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans (Christian Tiffert 64), Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey (Marc Burch 81) - Fredy Montero (Andy Rose 73), Eddie Johnson.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, David Junior Lopes (Jose Villarreal 80), Bryan Gaul - Sean Franklin (Mike Magee 57), Juninho (Hector Jimenez 70), David Beckham, Marcelo Sarvas - Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane.
The LA Galaxy saw their league winless skein stretched to three matches, the San Jose Earthquakes twice coming back before the teams ended in a 2-2 draw Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Galaxy are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 51 points from 33 games. STANDINGS
- The Galaxy took the lead in the 59th minute, with a play started and finished by Robbie Keane. The Irish international sprung Buddle loose on the left wing, and the return cross bounced off two Quakes defenders and dropped down for Keane to jam home at the edge of the six-yard box.
- San Jose responded in the 61st minute with a beautiful 25-yard free kick from Marvin Chavez, who bent his effort from the left over the wall and tucked it just inside the near post.
- The Galaxy nosed back in front in the 69th minute when Edson Buddle outjumped Víctor Bernárdez to knock home a relatively simple header off Sean Franklin’s deep right-wing cross.
- But the Quakes tied things up with another set-piece strike in the 73rd minute. Chávez delivered a corner into a teeming Galaxy box, where Chris Wondolowski stooped to flick home a header past goalkeeper Josh Saunders for his 26th goal of the season.
- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Real Salt Lake at The Home Depot Center. Todd Dunivant came into the back four for Bryan Gaul, Christian Wilhelmsson started in midfield for David Beckham, and Edson Buddle came in up top for Landon Donovan.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer, Todd Dunivant - Christian Wilhelmsson (Michael Stephens 79), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Mike Magee - Edson Buddle (Jose Villarreal 90), Robbie Keane.
- With the draw, the Galaxy will now face a Knockout Round match vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 1 at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy have never lost to Vancouver in five meetings all-time. PLAYOFF INFO
- When you play San Jose it’s a physical game ... it’s kind of like a playoff mentality. Our guys did well; I thought they responded well,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “Unfortunately we gave away a lead twice and that’s the discouraging part. The encouraging part is we played well, at times exceptionally well.”
- Robbie Keane scored his 16th goal of the season. He has scored in back-to-back matches, and has 12 goals over the last 15 matches, since returning from the European Championships.
- “I think we left two points on the pitch to be honest with you. We can’t be conceding goals from set pieces, but apart from that, I think you need to give our guys credit,” said Keane.
- Edson Buddle made his first start since May 26, because of knee surgery, and scored his first goal of the season in the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw at San Jose.
- “Looked like the Edson of old,” said right back Sean Franklin. “It's nice having him back and healthy, and for him, I think getting that goal was a huge confidence boost. He was a beast all day battling against their center backs. The way he played was like vintage Edson.”
- Both Landon Donovan and David Beckham were held out of the team with minor injuries, with Beckham having a sore ankle and Donovan a bone bruise on his knee suffered late in the loss to Real Salt Lake which kept him out of the U.S. national team.
- “Depending on how things shake out on Thursday and what numbers we have, I think for David and Landon to start getting some minutes is important before the real work starts the following week,” assistant coach Dave Sarachan said. “We're hopeful they'll be able to get a taste of some things on Sunday to be ready for the next couple of weeks.”
- On Thursday, the Galaxy concluded their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a 3-2 win against Isidro Metapán in El Salvador. Jack McBean scored a pair of goals and Michael Stephens hit for the late winner as the Galaxy ran out a mostly reserve side.
- Here’s the Galaxy team: Brian Perk; Andrew Boyens, Tommy Meyer, Bryan Jordan (Marcelo Sarvas 60), Bryan Gaul, Kenney Walker, Héctor Jiménez, Michael Stephens, Rafael Garcia, Jack McBean, Pat Noonan (Dan Keat 86)
Seattle Sounders FC extended their undefeated streak to four matches, defeating FC Dallas 3-1 on Sunday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 56 points from 33 games.
- Sounders FC took the lead in the 32nd minute, after FCD defender Hernan Pertuz dragged down Fredy Montero in the area and referee Baldomero Toledo immediately pointed to the spot. Brad Evans converted the resulting penalty.
- FC Dallas drew even nine minutes later, when Ricardo Villar put in a dangerous ball to the far post that deflected back across the goal area to where Blas Perez was waiting for it, and he pounded it into the back of the net.
- But Seattle moved back into the lead on the hour as Evans scored his second, finishing off a neat passing sequence through the FCD penalty area with a low strike from the heart of the area.
- Sounders FC put the game away 11 minutes later when Mauro Rosales scored his third goal of the season, needing only to tap in a ball that Montero had sent across the goalmouth.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that held out for a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field. Adam Johansson, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Eddie Johnson all came back into the team, in place of Zach Scott, Andy Rose and Sammy Ochoa.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch - Mauro Rosales (Andy Rose 83), Christian Tiffert (David Estrada 89), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans - Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
- Sounders FC extended their unbeaten streak to four games with the victory, and ensured they will face Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals. They hold the tiebreaker having scored six more goals than RSL, with the teams level on 56 points.
- “I think this is one of the most important games of the season so far,” said Sounders midfielder Brad Evans. “We made a statement, and if we play well next Sunday (against defending champions LA Galaxy), I think we give ourselves a good chance going into the playoffs.”
- Said Mauro Rosales: “Before the game we knew the results, and we knew that we were going to have to win this game. It was a very difficult game too, because they had to win today to get into the playoffs, and we did an excellent job. We need to keep playing like this, and then go into the playoffs at our best level.”
- With Sigi Schmid suspended for the match, Brian Schmetzer took over the bench coaching responsibilities.
- “I certainly think I've touched or been involved with the group from top to bottom, and I think that's what I'm feeling right now – I'm proud of those guys for coming through and making sure really did our jobs tonight and made it into the second or third place and we control our destiny here with our last game,” said Schmetzer. “For me to win another game, it's just a pretty good feeling.”
- Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning allowed his first goal in 370 minutes – nine minutes shy of the club record and the sixth-longest streak in MLS this season.
- Evans scored two goals in a game for the second time in his MLS career, his first since netting twice vs. Toronto FC on April 30, 2011.
- Fredy Montero also collected two assists, his second career 2-assist game and first since June 28, 2009. Over the past 14 games, Montero has nine goals and five assists.
- “Anytime a team throws that many guys forward you are going to have good buildups. Especially with the type of team that we are, and with our skill at counter attacking, we knew that we were going to have some good buildups today,” said Evans. “For us it happens every game. It is just about making the right runs. There was a lot of unselfish play tonight, and we benefited from that tonight.”
- A year ago, Seattle and RSL also met in the conference semifinals, with Sounders FC holding homefield advantage. But Real advanced after winning their home leg 3-0, with Seattle coming back for a 2-0 victory in the return match.
- “I think we are hungry more than anything. We can compete with anybody, and we have shown that throughout the year,” said Evans. “For us I think that we are confident, but we aren't overconfident. I think we are playing with our backs against the wall and a chip on our shoulder. We are not overconfident, but I know the players we have, and I am confident with what we can do.”
- Said Montero: “Three years before we were new in this league. We didn't know anything about the playoffs, so now we have three times gone to the playoffs and we couldn't advance. This year, we are focused on what we need to do-run and battle every single ball and hopefully that's going to be enough for us to advance.”
- On Wednesday, Sounders FC concluded their unbeaten campaign in CONCACAF Champions League group play with a 3-1 win against CD Marathon of Honduras, behind goals from Sammy Ochoa, Steve Zakuani and David Estrada.
- Here’s the Sounders FC team: Marcus Hahnemann, Mike Seamon, Jeff Parke (Marc Burch 46), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott, Mario Martinez, Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose (Alex Caskey 67), Steve Zakuani (Cordell Cato78), David Estrada, Sammy Ochoa.