First of all, big congratulations to the New England Revolution for qualifying to become MLS Cup runners up this year!  Okay maybe I’m looking a little bit too far ahead…but it just feels like this has to be LA Galaxy’s year.  With the Sounders not scoring in over 216 minutes of soccer and LA not giving up a goal throughout the entire playoffs—heading in to Seattle with a 1-0 lead, Donovan and Co. are feeling very confident.  Yet, why is it that I’m still kind of nervous?

“We embrace the sound of thousands, and the quiet that follows.” Robbie Keane

Maybe it’s because the LA Galaxy has been in this spot before—last year’s Western Conference semifinal’s disappointing performance against Real Salt Lake.  On the back of a Sean Franklin super strike in the first leg, the LA Galaxy lost in overtime in the second leg after a poor performance and some late game heroics from Chris Schuler.  But Landon Donovan says that this year is going to be different, “I think we learned a lot last year with the Salt Lake series, we went there with a 1-0 lead and I think we were a little too tentative and a little too defensive—we didn’t create many chances.” “We are full of confidence going there.  We are going to get their best shot and we look forward to it.”

“I think we learned a lot last year with the Salt Lake series, we went there with a 1-0 lead and I think we were a little too tentative and a little too defensive—we didn’t create many chances.” Landon Donovan

While Seattle will be boosted by the probable return of Osvaldo Alonso and Lamar Neagle, Bruce Arena has no intention of sitting back and protecting the 1 goal advantage, “We’re going there to win the game, we have a little bit of a cushion, but we’re going to Seattle to win the game.”

“We are full of confidence going there. We are going to get their best shot and we look forward to it.” Landon Donovan

Both sides are expecting another physical battle after the controversial lack of yellow and red cards in the first leg, but captain Keane says this won’t be an issue, “We don’t have kids on our team. We are grown men. If someone is going to tackle, we’ll tackle back. I don’t want to talk about the physicality of the game – it’s what we do. It’s a man’s game.”

The Galaxy lineup should stay unchanged, as Ishizaki has locked down his starting spot after two solid playoff performances, and his ability to use the full width of the field and to keep the ball away from recently crowned MLS defender of the year, Chad Marshall, will be key against a solid Seattle defense.  Bruce Arena should be pleased that Marcelo’s second half injury that forced him out of the first leg early wasn’t too bad.  Marcelo “doesn’t think it’s something that should keep him out of the next game”, and he will be extremely important along side Juninho in bossing the game through the midfield.

“We’re going there to win the game, we have a little bit of a cushion, but we’re going to Seattle to win the game.” Bruce Arena

LA isn’t a team that is built to sit in and absorb pressure for big periods of the game, so if Juninho and Marcelo can dominate the middle of the park and bring the game to the Sounders, there is no reason the Galaxy can’t get out of there with a win, a spot in the MLS Cup Final, and one last game for the legendary Landon Donovan.

“We don’t have kids on our team. We are grown men. If someone is going to tackle, we’ll tackle back. I don’t want to talk about the physicality of the game – it’s what we do. It’s a man’s game.” Robbie Keane

But one of the biggest things the LA Galaxy will have to face is the 12th man at Century Link, another sold out crowd is going to be a force to be reckoned with, but Captain Keane says it best, “We embrace the sound of thousands, and the quiet that follows.” Here’s to hoping it’s really quiet in Seattle after 90 minutes on Sunday.

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