It is very hard to believe that this is the same Seattle Sounders team as a month ago when Seattle was first in the Western Conference and controlled their own destiny in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.
Since the beginning of October, the Sounders have lost four straight while conceding 12 goals. A change in goal was made during that stretch, but the shakeup has not has the effect on Seattle as manager Sigi Schmid would have hoped. Add in a combination of injuries and ill-timed international call-ups and you have the perfect recipe for a collapse.
Seattle will need a big game from Brad Evans if they want to secure the three points. He will likely be put as an attacking midfielder ahead of Osvaldo Alonso; his distribution to the other key players like Clint Dempsey, Mauro Rosales, Lamar Neagle and potentially Eddie Johnson will determine whether the Sounders can win at home.
Dempsey will also need to contribute something even if it drawing the attention away from his strike partner. A win is a must for Seattle if they have legitimate dreams of hoisting the MLS Cup. Those extra two days of rest before the conference semifinals could be key to get Obafemi Martins and Djimi Traore fully fit.
Bruce Arena and the Los Angeles Galaxy are well aware of the implications of this match. On Thursday, the Galaxy had an opportunity to secure a high seed in the knockout round of the CONCACAF Champions League with a big win in their match at Isidro Metapan. Los Angeles. Wanting to try and field the strongest team possible, Seattle sent a weakened side to El Salvador, where they were spanked 4-0.
Los Angeles will get a big boost with the return of A.J. DeLaGarza on defense. DeLaGarza is just another solid player at Arena’s disposal to try and stop Seattle’s potential high-caliber offense. Los Angeles has a high-powered offense of their own led by Landon Donovan, who is one goal away from becoming MLS‘s all-time leading goal scorer. The Sounders’ defense will also need to keep an eye on the ever-dangerous Robbie Keane and his 15 goals on the season.
Seattle Sounders FC hosts the Los Angeles Galaxy at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET. This match can be seen on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Prediction: Seattle Sounders FC 3, Los Angeles Galaxy 2
Los Angeles has not won at CenturyLink Field since March 15, 2011; Seattle is winless in the last six matches. One of these statements will be broken when the final whistle is blown. When the second half kicks off, both of these clubs will know exactly what they need to grab the third seed in the West and both of these teams dislike one another.
This match is going to be an epic match that will be talked about for years, both for Donovan’s record goal and Dempsey’s first goal for Seattle.