CARSON, Calif. – Major League Soccer may be down to the last week of the regular season, but it certainly doesn’t get any easier for the LA Galaxy.
Last weekend it was San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski the Galaxy had to worry about, and MLS’ leading scorer was up to his usual tricks with a goal in a 2-2 tie at Buck Shaw Stadium.
This Sunday at The Home Depot Center (6 p.m., ESPN, ESPN Deportes, AM 1150, 1330 AM, LIVE CHAT), the Galaxy face another challenge in the form of the Seattle Sounders’ Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero, who comprise one of the league’s most dangerous forward tandems.
“They’re just class up there,” Galaxy central defender Omar Gonzalez said Wednesday of the duo who have combined for 27 goals and 11 assists this season. “They also have Brad Evans, and he’s scoring goals now.”
Johnson, who returned to MLS this season after four years in Europe, spending time in England and Greece, has a team-best 14 goals and three assists while also earning a recall to the U.S. National Team. Montero, who has been with the Sounders since their inaugural MLS season in 2009, is second on the club with 13 goals while adding six assists.
The duo has been at their best in two previous games against the Galaxy this season, having each scored in both the Sounders’ 2-0 win on May 2 and their 4-0 win on August 5, which was LA’s final road defeat of the season.
“Eddie Johnson has scored a bunch of header goals. He’s always in a good position,” Gonzalez said of the 6-foot, 180-pounder who recently lifted the U.S. men’s national team into the next round of World Cup qualifying with two goals in a victory over Antigua and Barbuda. “And then you’ve got Fredy Montero who can come underneath. It’s pretty crazy. Sometimes you have to go in and track Montero while you have Eddie Johnson making runs behind, too.
“It’s going to be difficult, but I think if we just keep a good line we’ll be just fine.”
Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant said you never can relax for a moment with the Sounders standouts.
“Montero is always a goal poacher,” Dunivant said. “He scores goals by being in the right positions and the right spots. He’s similar to Wondolowski last week. You always have to be on your guard and thinking ahead of the play and not reacting to it.
“Eddie Johnson has been in form. He’s a big striker, gets his head on a lot of things and causes a lot of problems.
“They play well together. It’s certainly a dangerous duo.”