The Los Angeles Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders FC will meet once more in the Major League Soccer (MLS) playoffs on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field.
LA is stumbling into the postseason, finishing the MLS regular season with a (win-loss-draw) 1-4-2 record. Their collapse dropped the once first place team in the Western Conference and in the Supporters’ Shield race to fifth in the West and nowhere in sight of capturing the shield. Regardless, the Galaxy has one of the most explosive teams on paper they must now play in the knockout stage to start their journey for their sixth MLS Cup.
Los Angeles will now be facing Seattle for the seventh time (previously three two-legged series) in the postseason. LA has the advantage with 4-0-2 record and positive four goal differential. The five-time MLS Cup champions have never lost a series to the Sounders thus far.
However, in the playoffs the Galaxy has struggled to beat the Rave Green in Seattle. In three matches, LA has only won once in the playoffs, and that was the first time these two clubs met in the postseason. Back on Halloween of 2010, LA defeated the Sounders 1-0 at Qwest Field. The Galaxy went on to get eliminated by FC Dallas in the Conference Finals 3-0 that year. However, since that victory LA has only eliminated Seattle through away-goals and by goal differentials.
Every time the Sounders face the Galaxy, they always get closer to knocking them out. Los Angeles is playing its poorest soccer as of right now by allowing 13 goals and only scoring six in the process. Seattle is in prime position to make history. The Galaxy is a team starving for good news. They have not tasted a victory in over a month; they beat FC Dallas 3-2 at the StubHub Center on September 27th.
The guns of LA have fallen silent and the defense is in shambles. While Seattle has been on fire, the Sounders have only lost one game in their last 10 matches. The ironic part is their frustrating season that was filled with injuries and close defeats changed after they lost to LA 3-1 on August 9th at the StubHub Center. Since that match the Rave Green has gone 5-1-4.
Their defense at the start of the season was unstable to put in nicely as they conceded 27 goals. In their run to the playoffs they have only allowed seven. Even the offense has woken up since that defeat. In the first 24 games Seattle produced 25 goals and was shut out 11 times. In the final 10 games their offense scored 20 goals, what a difference a healthy Osvaldo Alonso, Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey makes for the Rave Green.
Seattle’s head coach Sigi Schmid and the rest of the Sounders organization knows that this is their perfect opportunity to get past their Boogeyman and possibly get to their first MLS Cup. However, a wounded animal can still be dangerous and even more difficult to kill off.
The LA Galaxy is that wildcard team. Regardless, of their struggles a team that carries Steven Gerrard, Giovani Dos Santos, Gyasi Zardes, Juninho, Sebastian Lletget and Robbie Keane can easily wake up and thrash any MLS club at any venue. With big time players, LA’s offense will be present on Wednesday and will cause Seattle’s defense nervous moments. The only weakness of the Galaxy is their defense. If U.S. international Omar Gonzalez and crew can hold it together and put in a solid 90 minutes then the Galaxy might be moving on to face Dallas or the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Western Conference-Semifinals in November
Prediction: LA 3-3 SEA (Seattle wins it 5-4 in penalties)
This match will produce fireworks for the entire game. However, regulation and overtime will not be enough to decide who will move on to the conference semifinals. The Sounders will finally get over the hump and defeat LA in the postseason through dramatic penalties.