Twas the month before playoffs,
When all through the league,
Start to intrigue.
Reigning MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy will take on reigning Supporter’s Shield Champion Seattle Sounders this Sunday at Century Link Field. The Galaxy currently top the standings at 50 points whereas Seattle is fourth in the Western Conference. But most importantly: a win over Seattle this weekend would clinch the LA Galaxy a guaranteed spot in the post-season.
In some ways the seasons for the Galaxy and Sounders have been similar. After all, 2015 has been an up and down year for both teams: playing without Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos and, for several months, Robbie Keane, the Galaxy started 2015 at a sluggish pace. It was only the heroics of Alan Gordon and admirable hard work from Juninho, Omar Gonzalez and AJ DeLaGarza that kept the team from falling too far behind their peers. Similarly, though the Sounders started the season with a bang, injuries and absences forced Seattle to play without their talismanic front-line DPs Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins over the summer, leading to a string of poor results.
Both teams have also rebounded. Robbie Keane is back to his usual tricks and Gerrard and Gio have settled in nicely in Southern California. During July and August, the Galaxy unleashed a torrent of goals on their opponents, thrashing Philadelphia, Portland, Toronto, Seattle and New York City in rapid succession. Similarly, the Sounders have not lost a game since mid-August, and have topped Portland, Toronto, and Vancouver twice in the past two weeks.
Both teams also have question marks hanging over their respective heads. The Galaxy form dipped in September- while that’s not remarkable, it certainly puts them in a tough spot if the G’s plan to make a realistic run at the Supporter’s Shield this year. With only one home game in the regular season remaining, the Galaxy will almost certainly have to secure an away win to land the Shield, and between Seattle and Kansas City, there are no easy options for an away win on the table.
For the Sounders, the loss of Sounders Defender of the Year Chad Marshall earlier this week to a potential head injury during training could hobble an already limping Sounders defensive line: Roman Torres, Andres Correa and Oniel Fisher are also out with injuries. Nonetheless, one expects Brad Evans, Tyrone Mears and Leonardo Gonzalez will do an able job.
Though both teams may be stuttering in the rear, the attacking options on these teams are mouth-watering for any neutrals who plan on watching the game on television. If anyone can call to mind a regular season game that had more attacking threats on the field than this one, let me know, because from my count on Sunday we will see Robbie Keane, Giovani Dos Santos, Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, Gyasi Zardes, Steven Gerrard and Sebastian Lletget take the field together. Goals, anyone?
The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. PST and is being aired on FS1, Fox Deportes, and Fox Sports Go.