Pregame Notes: Sounders have mountain to climb vs. surging Galaxy

LA travel to Seattle for second leg of Western Conference Championship series on Sunday

WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP - SECOND LEG
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v LA GALAXY
Sun., Nov. 18, CenturyLink Field (6 p.m. PT; ESPN/Deportes; TSN2; RDS2)

REFEREE: Mark Geiger.
AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Greg Barkey;
4th: Ismail Elfath

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INJURY REPORT:

  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC -- OUT: FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL surgery); DF Andrew Duran (L ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (R hamstring strain); DF Leo Gonzalez (R hamstring strain); DF Patrick Ianni (R calf strain)
  • LA GALAXY -- OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: FW Edson Buddle (L plantar inflammation); FW Landon Donovan (R hamstring tightness); MF Juninho (R Achilles inflammation)

SUSPENDED: SEA: Marc Burch (through MLS Cup)

LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD:
LA 4 wins, 10 GF … SEA 3 wins, 10 GF … Ties 2

2012 HEAD-TO-HEAD: LA 1 win, 1 GF … SEA 2 wins, 6 GF … Ties 0

AT CENTURYLINK FIELD:
5/2: SEA 2, LA 0 (Johnson 40; Montero 48)
8/5: SEA 4, LA 0 (Johnson 6; Montero 52; Caskey 61; Rose 88)

MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: LA 3 wins, 6 GF … SEA 0 wins, 1 GF … Ties 0

LA GALAXY

  • The Galaxy were hoping to use the week-long break to get healthy, after playing four games over two weeks.
  • READ: Relishing a break
  • “We’ve played about 50 games in the last two weeks — that’s how it feels,” David Beckham said . “It’s nice to get a week in between each game because you can recover from any little niggles or injuries that you’ve picked up in these latest games. But sometimes you want it to come a bit quicker.”
  • Landon Donovan was forced off with a hamstring injury in the second half. “I felt my hamstring tighten up a little bit, so we'll see ...  I just took off to run and felt it grab a little bit. I wanted to be safe and get out of there.”
  • READ: Donovan optimistic about his status for Sunday's second leg in Seattle
  • As well, Juninho suffered an Achilles tendon strain and came off at halftime. “We wanted to be smart,” Arena said. “Marcelo (Sarvas) is a very experienced player, a quality player, and it's a luxury in that position to be able to utilize him there. Maybe if we didn't have that kind of depth, we would have kept [Juninho] in a little bit more.”
  • READ: Arena, Juninho optimistic the Brazilian midfielder will be ready for Seattle match
  • Robbie Keane scored two goals for a second consecutive playoff match, and Mike Magee added his third goal in four playoff games this season, now with goals in six of the Galaxy's last eight postseason matches.
  • “There was a real turn in energy after the home loss to San Jose. All year we've created a number of chances in almost every game, and if we're sharp in front of the goal, we're going to score goals in every single game," said Donovan. "And right now things are clicking. The back four and Josh [Saunders, in goal] have been terrific. David [Beckham] and Juninho have been terrific in front of them, and it's all leading to really good things for us.”
  • In their two games in Seattle this season, the Galaxy were outscored 6-0. But those wins came on the heels of three consecutive LA wins by shutout at CenturyLink Field, including a 1-0 triumph in the 2010 playoffs.
  • READ: Galaxy aware of Sounders’ ability to score in bunches
  • "They're a much different team at home than they are on the road. They beat us, 4-0, earlier in the year, and there's no reason why they can't do that again. So we've got to be prepared,” said Donovan. Added Magee: “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the last two times that we played there, I think we lost combined, 6-0. It’s not going to take much to realize that they can beat us pretty easily.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

  • For a second consecutive year, Sounders FC have started a playoff series with a 3-0 loss in the first leg. A year ago, they lost to Real Salt Lake 3-0 in a semifinal first leg, losing the series 3-2 on aggregate.

PREVIEW: Seattle vs. LA

  • “Obviously we didn’t learn much because we did the same thing this year,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “Because we talked about it –- we talked at halftime, we said, ‘1-0 is OK. We walk away 1-0, we’re all right.’”
  • Only once previously has a team come back from a three-goal deficit to overturn an aggregate-goal series in MLS: San Jose, in 2003, when they came back from four goals down to defeat the Galaxy.
  • “We got an earful, we talked a little about it and how we all have to move forward and move on and forget about what’s happened,” Sounders FC defender Jeff Parke said. “Fix the mistakes but also come together so that we can do something special here. They could be talking about us for a while if we can pull this off. We all believe in each other and believe we can get it done.”
  • In their second league meeting this season, Sounders FC defeated the Galaxy 4-0 in Seattle. “It’s nothing we haven’t done,” Parke said. “But we definitely have to be on our game and we have to be a lot better than we were (in game 1).
  • The Galaxy limited Fredy Montero to just a single shot. “Obviously there are streaks and goalscorers are streaky,” Schmid said. “He’s working hard, he’s trying to get some looks, certainly, but teams focus a little harder in the playoffs and it’s been harder for him to find space.” Said Montero: “We came in with a mentality to try to keep the ball and try to play high. I thought we were doing a really good job until they scored the first goal.”
  • As was planned before the match, Eddie Johnson came on for Montero at the hour mark. “We wanted him to push as hard as he could for 60-65 [minutes] and then we were going to make a decision as to how we were going to make changes,” Schmid said of Montero. “At the time when we were going to make the sub, we thought the rest of it was going all right and if we could get some fresh legs up high, we could possibly jump on some things.”