CARSON, Calif. - A week after facing the league’s most prolific scorer and the physical San Jose attack, the LA defense will be tested again on Sunday against a different but equally dangerous set of attacking players.
Seattle’s Eddie Johnson and Freddie Montero have combined to score 27 goals this season, with Johnson narrowly holding the team lead at 14 to Montero’s 13.
Dunivant, who praised Johnson’s aerial ability, describes Montero similarly to San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, calling him a “goal poacher” who is always “in the right positions and right spots.” Against Montero, Dunivant says the key is being alert and making sure “you’re thinking ahead of the play and not reacting to it.”
With weapons like Montero and Johnson in the middle, Dunivant and others in the Galaxy defense will have to work to limit the amount of balls served into the box by the likes of Mauro Rosales who has a team-high 13 assists on the year.
“Certainly you’re trying to cut off that service and the [fewer] opportunities they have of balls going into the box the better it’s going to be for us,” Dunivant said. “I thought we did a good job of that against San Jose, limited their chances quite a bit. They scored on two set pieces, but for the most part in the run of play we really cut off that service.”
LA has conceded six goals to Seattle in two losses this season. Out of those six goals scored by the Sounders, Montero and Johnson tallied four of them and created the chances leading to others. Rosales has set up half of Seattle’s goals against LA this season, including a pair of assists in the 4-0 win at CenturyLink Field on August 5.
Recent signing Christian Wilhelmsson does not know much about the Galaxy’s opponents each week as he makes his way through his first games in MLS. But on Sunday, there will be at least a sliver of familiarity for the Swedish winger as he faces one of his countrymen.
Asked what he knew about the upcoming opponent, Wilhelmsson said, “I have one teammate from the national team, Adam, who is playing right back. I know Freddie Ljungberg played there before, so there is some connection to Seattle.”
The teammate he is referring to is 29-year-old defender Adam Johansson who joined the Sounders in the offseason after seven-years in Sweden’s top division. Johansson has played 20 regular season games for the Sounders in 2012, picking up a pair of assists while helping the Sounders concede just 32 goals on the season, which are the second fewest in MLS.
Over the recent international window, both Johansson and Wilhelmsson were called into the Swedish National Team for World Cup Qualifying matches against the Faroe Islands and Germany. Wilhelmsson admitted that the two have not talked about the matchup much lately, but that they did speak about their experiences in MLS while on international duty.
“When you’re on the field there is no connection, but off the field we are friends of course,” Wilhelmsson said.