This Sunday the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders will meet at the StubHub Center for a game that is usually accompanied with high levels of anticipation in the world of MLS. This week hype surrounds this match but for entirely different reasons than usual. With Seattle in a tailspin and a Los Angeles team that is on the rise and ready to give an MLS debut to its latest big signing, this conference matchup has a completely different atmosphere than that of years past. What is usually a clash of titans has the potential to be the debut of a dream team for Los Angeles or a chance at redemption for Seattle.
IT’S RAINING ON SEATTLE
The last few months have been disastrous for the Sounders as they have only managed to win one of their last eight league matches. While the Sounders often find themselves near the top of the conference by this point in the season they are currently struggling to score goals and win games — a hobby that the team historically saves for the post season. Since June, Seattle has only won two games and has dropped from first place to sixth place in the Western Conference. Importantly, the team has not managed to score since the third of July. Contributing to the struggles of the Sounders are their injuries — Obafemi Martins currently shares the team’s top scoring position but will most likely miss this match due to an ongoing injury. Osvaldo Alonso’s status is also listed as questionable — a possible absence that would greatly cripple the attacking power of the Sounders. However, Seattle is not a team to take lightly as Clint Dempsey has returned from a seven game absence that was a result of a mixture of suspensions and international duty. Additionally, Brad Evans has returned from international duty and will prove to be a huge asset to the defensive capabilities that the Sounders have been lacking.
A NUMBER 8 AND TWO SAINTS
With Seattle limping timidly into Los Angeles focus has shifted to the Galaxy and, more specifically, on its newest star players. This Sunday could prove to be absolutely crucial to the momentum of the Galaxy heading into post season. In a stadium that will be packed with spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of Steven Gerrard and Giovani Dos Santos, the Galaxy are now completely expected to perform to a higher standard than they have previously displayed this season. After a 5-1 walloping in the CONCACAF Champions League on Central FC, the Galaxy are approaching this game with the confidence needed for success. Importantly, this match will most likely find the big four of Los Angeles combine on the field for the first time — Keane, Zardes, Gerrard, and Dos Santos are all healthy and ready to play. Adding to this stacked attack is Sebastian Lletget who has been far from disappointing since joining the Galaxy. Dos Santos, who may or may not start, scored his first goal for the club earlier in the week and Steven Gerrard will be surrounded by the tools he should need in order to be the midfield general the City of Los Angeles was hoping for. After an entire season of building this may be the moment Galaxy fans have been waiting for. Finally, this team has all of its pieces on the field at once and fans could not be more ready to see how they play together.