This Saturday, July 9, 2016, the LA Galaxy travel north to face off against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field. This is the first of four games the Galaxy are scheduled to play against Seattle this year – the Galaxy will play Seattle at home in the Open Cup Quarterfinals on Wednesday, July 20, then away again on July 31, and at home on September 25, 2016.
Games against Seattle are always special. Both teams spend big in this league which means fans can always look forward to seeing some high-priced big name talent take the field in an LA/Seattle matchup. Both teams generate big crowds – indeed, for the July 31 game against LA, the Seattle Sounders are opening up the upper-deck seating at CenturyLink field. And the recent MLS Insider film pays homage to the fact that both teams are steered by major figureheads in U.S. Soccer, Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid.
“Whenever Seattle and LA play, the storyline is certainly the stars on the field, but it’s also Bruce and Sigi.” – LA Galaxy Asst. Coach Dave Sarachan
But the element that really animates the rivalry is the role that each team has played in the other’s respective fortunes since Seattle entered MLS seven years ago. Just as LA fans quickly recall Seattle trumping LA in the 2014 race for the Supporter’s Shield, no Seattle fan will ever forget Juninho’s away goal during the Western Conference Finals that saw the LA Galaxy through to their third MLS Cup Final in four years.
— Lower East Sideburns (@LESideburns) December 1, 2014
However, in their last matchup, it was Seattle that prevailed against Los Angeles during a wild opening match in the 2015 MLS playoffs that saw five goals and a complete defensive collapse on the part of the Galaxy.
Both teams underwent massive changes during the offseason so past performances are no predictor of future results. The LA Galaxy dispatched Juninho and Omar Gonzalez to Liga MX but retained the services of Nigel de Jong, Jelle Van Damme, Ashley Cole and Emmanuel Boateng. Seattle, in the meantime, saw the departure of Obafemi Martins but gained a new young gun in Jordan Morris.
Both teams have recently had players return from international duty and both teams have several injuries of note. Chad Marshall underwent concussion protocol earlier this week but has been cleared to play in Saturday’s game – Brad Evans is also listed as being ‘questionable’ for Saturday’s clash. The LA Galaxy will be without the services of Nigel de Jong (due to his red card during the Vancouver game), Robbie Rogers, Dan Kennedy and Ariel Lassiter.
The game starts at noon on Saturday and will be broadcast on ESPN.