As the LA Galaxy continue their Quest for Three, each week, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will discuss the upcoming match and its playoff implications. This week, we focus on Supporters’ Shield implications of the clash with Seattle Sounders FC.
CARSON, Calif. – Currently in fourth place in the Western Conference and five points behind leaders Seattle Sounders FC, the LA Galaxy believe that winning the MLS Supporters’ Shield is still in their grasp—but if they’re going to contend then, three points on Saturday against Seattle are mandatory.
With just six games left in league play—two of which are against the Sounders — and the Galaxy needing to cover ground to rise up the table, LA head coach Bruce Arena knows just how important this game really is, after all in the “big boy world”—as Arena says— games are rarely easy.
“If you did the math, if you think about the number of games remaining in the year if you don’t get three points in this game I would think it would be difficult to get,” said Arena on Thursday of the Supporters’ Shield. “Is it possible? Sure, but I haven’t spent a lot of time worrying about it.”
Galaxy captain Robbie Keane is quick to agree.
“If they win the game at hand then they go clear and it’s certainly difficult to catch them but there’s still a long way to go,” said Keane. “But Saturday is certainly a very, very important game for where we want to finish towards the end of the season.”
To get back into the chase for the shield, LA must contend with a Sounders side that is flying high as of late with victories in eight of their last nine games while riding a five game winning streak. During that time, they’ve shot up the Western Conference standings from outside the top five all the way up to the top of the table.
“This is always a game that they circle and we circle and it’s been a rivalry over the years,” said defender Todd Dunivant. “We’ve been two good teams over the last three or four years so there have been a lot of important games and playoff series and when you get that you’re going to get a good rivalry.
“We want to be in good form heading into the playoffs and Seattle is without a doubt one of the teams that I think we’ll have to face if we want to make it through the west.”
Much of the reason for the Sounders impressive resurgence has been the play of their defense which has allowed just one goal during their five-game winning streak. With teams struggling to find the back of the net, Seattle’s rejuvenated offense has been led by Lamar Neagle and Eddie Johnson, who have combined for five goals during their recent run.
Add in newly signed Designated Player and U.S. international Clint Dempsey and you’ve got a dangerous attack that the Galaxy must be cognizant of.
“[Dempsey] gives them a lot of attacking options; I mean you can’t shut down just one guy. Between [Mauro] Rosales and [Obafemi] Martins and Neagle and their options are one after the next,” said Dunivant. “They have a lot of attacking firepower and they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
The test will be challenging one, but LA’s Irish captain is full of confidence that the Galaxy can get the job done and keep their Supporters’ Shield dream alive.
“Don’t forget we’re still the best team in this league, even though it’s not showing I think we’re still the best team in this league so it’s up to them to come around and get the points,” asserted Keane on Thursday. “We’re certainly not going to not change the way we play, we’re going to continue the way we play, whether they change or not.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com