Do the Seattle Sounders have a defensive weakness to be exploited? LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says no. Landon Donovan says yes.
“If you have the top two teams in the regular season playing, I don’t think you’re going to detect any glaring weaknesses on either team,” said Arena on Wednesday.
Minutes later, Donovan was saying differently: “They’ll be organized and they’ll be prepared. But we certainly feel like, after their last game, we can exploit some weaknesses.”
“We certainly feel like, after their last game, we can exploit some weaknesses.”
They can’t both be right. The Sounders lost to Vancouver last weekend, and you can bet LA’s coaching staff combed over the footage. If there are chinks in the Seattle’s armor, if there’s a weakness to be found, it’s here.
Vancouver’s 1–0 victory over Seattle was a game decided in a single mistake. When Whitecaps midfielder Pedro Morales spotted teammate Kekuta Manneh with acres of space, serving up a through ball was a no-brainer. Manneh charged into the Sounders’ final third, juked left, and slotted home the winning goal.
Whose mistake is it? It’s Ossie Alonso who’s closest to Manneh, and he should have shown the awareness to slide over. But disorganization is the real culprit. Brad Evans is caught too far forward, and nobody on Seattle’s back line knows quite how to react when Kekuta starts his charge.
If this is a chink in the armor, it’s a slim one — but it’s no real stretch to imagine the likes of Robbie Keane on the prowl for mistakes like this.
Sunday marks Landon Donovan’s final regular season home game. The stadium’s sold out; aftermarket ticket prices start in the hundreds. The more sentimental among us might imagine the rest of the Galaxy would rise to the occasion.
“I don’t think they’re thinking about that,” said Bruce Arena. “They’re thinking about winning the game. Obviously we’re respective and appreciative of Landon and what he did, but the game is of upmost importance to the team.”
On this, at least, Donovan agreed. “We get up for this game,” said the Galaxy veteran. “We do well under the lights and in the spotlight. These are games that we cherish.”
“I expect Sunday to be the same. And I expect next Saturday to be the same. And if we see them again in the playoffs, I expect the same.”