Last Sunday, the LA Galaxy overcame a difficult turf field, a wealth of speed and skill as well as a frenzied and charged atmosphere and left Seattle with a 1-0 victory.
Now, it’s just a matter of returning home and cruising into the Western Conference Final, right?
Despite the convincing manner of Sunday’s win over Seattle, LA players said the victory isn’t making them brash or arrogant.
“We’re definitely not confident yet, or cocky at all,” Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez said. “We know that this is a two-game series and they’re going to come to our house and try and get a goal. We’ve got to go into the game the same way we did [Sunday] – ready to play, ready to get into every tackle, ready to just fight to get that win again.”
The Galaxy’s win provided them with a bit of breathing room entering the Nov. 7 return leg at The Home Depot Center (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, ESPN, ESPN Deportes). The Sounders need a victory to have any hopes of staying alive in the MLS Cup playoffs. A draw and the Galaxy will advance.
Still, the Galaxy won’t exactly come out and settle for such a result.
“It’s not just a 90-minute game,” right back Sean Franklin said. “It’s a 180-minute game. It’s two games. So we’re happy with the win, but our job’s not done. We’re going to go out next week and get the shutout and get the win.”
The Galaxy have a bit of an advantage tactically as well. They were ready for the Sounders’ offensive weapons such as Steve Zakuani, Blaise Nkufo and Fredy Montero, and were able to slow them down and keep them off the scoreboard.
As Seattle need goals and need to produce, the Galaxy don’t expect the Sounders to change their approach or personnel much at all.
“I don’t expect a big change,” Franklin said. “They’re a good side. They’re not going to change too much. We’ve got to be aware of that. We’ve just got to play the same way. They need a goal and we know the pressure’s on them to get a goal now. We’ve just got to be ready for whatever they throw at us.”
What matters most to Los Angeles isn’t necessarily Seattle’s lineup or formation, but rather how the Galaxy comes out at home.
“The starting point is our mentality and the way we compete,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “If we do that, we have enough talented players to make plays that need to be made on both ends of the ball. That’s the starting point. Tactically, we’ll make sure that we’re right and that we’re playing the right way, but the pressure is completely on their shoulders now and they have to come win the game.”
With the Galaxy ahead 1-0 on aggregate goals in the series, LA host Seattle in the second game of the two-leg, home-and-home Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday, November 7 at 6 p.m. PT on ESPN. BUY TICKETS