CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano offers his Three Points to the LA Galaxy’s match against Seattle Sounders FC. Seattle leads the MLS Supporters’ Shield chase and are five points ahead of the fourth place Galaxy in the Western Conference standings.
BATTLE OF THE STARS TO DECIDE VITAL WESTERN COFNERENCE CLASH
There’s no two ways about it, Saturday’s clash between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC is a battle of the stars—Robbie Keane, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Obafemi Martins, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson and the list goes on and on.
Hype has been at a fever pitch for the match as it will likely pit U.S. internationals Dempsey and Johnson against Donovan—who still faces a fitness test to be ready for Saturday after a suffering a left ankle injury last weekend—and Gonzalez. Since arriving in August from English side Tottenham Hotspur, Dempsey’s presence has helped revitalize the Sounders attack, but it’s Johnson, who has been scoring the goals as he’s tallied three goals and an assist in his last five appearances for the club. Stopping Seattle’s attack will be the primary task for Gonzalez and the rest of the LA back four, who have conceded just a single goal in their last three meetings at home against Seattle.
Meanwhile look for Keane to once again lead the way for the Galaxy as he’s amassed six goals in his last three matches against the Sounders in all competitions. The Galaxy’s Irish captain has his work cut out for him, however, as the Sounders have conceded just a single goal during their recent five-game winning streak.
GAME TO BE DECIDED ON THE FLANKS
The star power that will take the field on Saturday may earn the headlines, but the outcome of the match may turn on the Galaxy’s ability to silence the Sounders’ dangerous wide play.
For all the bluster of the Sounders acquisition of U.S. captain Clint Dempsey, Seattle has risen up the standings as of late due to the play of their wide players such as Mauro Rosales, Marc Burch and Lamar Neagle as well as fleet-footed right back DeAndre Yedlin. Service is key to the Sounders attack as they’ll look to get behind defenders in order to launch crosses for aerial threats like Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson.
For the Galaxy to shut down the Sounders, look for the Galaxy flank players to be physical from the start as they seek to limit crosses. If the Galaxy can prevent Seattle’s wingers from getting crosses in, it would force Seattle to play through the center of the park, which could suit LA’s counter attacking style and allow Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho to control the tempo of the game.
LA GALAXY HOPE TO CONTINUE HOME DOMINANCE AGAINST SEATTLE
The Sounders may be at the top of the league table, but their trips to Carson to face the LA Galaxy have rarely ended well.
The Galaxy have dominated the last three matches against Seattle in MLS regular season and postseason play winning all three by a combined score of 8-0. Stretch out the sample size and Seattle are 0-5-1 during their last six trips to Carson and have not scored a goal against LA at StubHub Center since the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs. Since that goal, a consolation tally which came in the 86th minute of the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals, that the Galaxy would win 3-1 on aggregate, the Galaxy have kept the Sounders off the scoreboard for 364 consecutive minutes.
LA will be eager to maintain their dominance at home against Seattle, but the Sounders have begun to correct their form on the road amassing a 5-7-1 record away from CenturyLink Field, including a 2-1-0 mark in their last three road matches. Because of the Galaxy’s command of the series at StubHub Center, expect Seattle to come out with a great deal of motivation as they seek to earn their first win against LA on the road since 2009.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com