Galaxy are much improved since Sounders won 2-0 in May; even David Beckham took time off from his Olympic duties to show up in Seattle.
MATCH: Los Angeles Galaxy (10-10-3, 33 points, 5th, West Conf.) at Seattle Sounders FC (9-5-7, 34 points, 3rd, West Conf.). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Sunday, 6 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 8th (Galaxy leads 2-3-2). LAST FIVE: Sounders, T-T-W-T-W; Galaxy, L-T-W-T-L. TV: ESPN2. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Sunday’s match-up between the Sounders and LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field — note time change, from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. — will look quite a bit different than May 2, when Seattle beat Los Angeles 2-0. Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena did not use or have several of his top players in that match, including David Beckham. The Sounders draw no such luck Sunday as the Galaxy will be at full strength, including Beckham, who returned earlier in week from the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony in his native London.
After a poor start — three wins in their first 13 MLS matches — the Galaxy has rebounded strongly. Since the beginning of June, Los Angeles is 7-2-1 is fifth in the Western Conference with 33 points, one behind Seattle.
In the first meeting, the Galaxy didn’t have keeper Josh Saunders, defender Omar Gonzalez or designated players Robbie Keane and Beckham, who all missed the game for a litany of reasons.
But at least partially improved by the return to health and form of those players, the Galaxy have a five-game unbeaten streak and suddenly look a lot like the team many expected to compete for a second straight MLS Cup.
The Sounders are clearly aware.
I think you see a different dynamic, especially with the way those guys are playing right now, Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said Friday. Its going to be a team on the rise, thats playing well, almost the same form that were in right now. They hit a lull for a little bit but theyve picked it up and found out that its still going to take a lot of hard work to earn points in the league.”
The Sounders are a bit different, too. Although the win over the Galaxy may have represented the high point to their team-record 7-1-1 start to the season, they went into a slump relatively soon after, resulting in a nearly suffocating nine-game winless streak. But they also have back goalie Michael Gspurning to anchor the defense.
They have since emerged and are now riding a five-game unbeaten streak of their own (2-0-3), and a big part of that has been a team-wide return to health. The Sounders received good news Friday that new designated player Christian Tiffert from Germany received his visa. He practiced Saturday and will be available to play before a crowd that could reach 60, 000.
Over the past 10 games, Los Angeles has outscored opponents 24-14, and tallied three or more goals in five games. Overall, Galaxy are second in MLS in both goals and assists with 39 and 40, respectively
The Galaxy is led by its 3 DPs: Landon Donovan (nine goals, seven assists), Keane (nine goals, six assists), and Beckham (six goals, nine assists). In each of their respective last eight matches, Donovan has 19 points (seven goals, five assists), Keane 16 (six goals, four assists), and Beckham 14 (four goals, six assists).
Ten-year MLS veteran Mike Magee has added four goals and three assists while Chad Barrett and Juninho have a goal and three assists apiece. Goalkeeper Josh Saunders has made 16 starts with a 1.50 goals against average.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper – Michael Gspurning; Defenders — Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez; Midfielders — Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans, Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso; Forwards — Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
GALAXY PROBABLE LINEUPS: Goalkeeper — Josh Saunders; Defenders — Bryan Gaul, David Junior Lopes, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza; Midfielders — Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Marcelo Sarvas, Sean Franklin; Forwards — Robbie Keane, Mike Magee.
INJURIES (Sounders): Out — FW Babayele Sodade (ACL tear), F David Estrada (foot fracture).
SERIES: Dates to May 10, 2009, when the Sounders and Galaxy played to a 1-1 tie in Seattle (Seattle goal by Sebastien Le Toux). Sounders trail the all-time series 2-3-2 after defeating the Galaxy 2-0 May 2,
Seattle and Los Angeles have met several times outside of regular-season competition. The sides met in the first round of the 2010 MLS Cup playoffs, Seattle falling 3-1 over the two legs. Sides also met twice in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals with Seattle winning both meetings, 2-0 in the 2010 and 3-1 in 2011.
LAST MATCH (Sounders): Andy Rose netted a goal and two assists Thursday as the Sounders defeated Caledonia AIA, 3-1, in the opening round of group play in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League. Fredy Montero and Sammy Ochoa also scored as Seattle extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (5-0-3) across all competitions.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|Starts||Montero, Alonzo, Parke 17|
|Goals||Johnson 9, Estrada 5, Montero 5|
|Assists||Rosales 7, Montero 4, Caskey 4|
|Shots||Montero 78, Johnson 47, Estrada 23, Evans 17|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 27, Johnson 16, Estrada 10|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 38, Johnson 25, Alonso 21, Scott 20|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 47, Rosales 31, Johnson 29|
|Offsides||Johnson 25, Montero 9, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 56, Fernandez 16, Caskey 12|
|Cautions||Johnson 5, Montero 4, Scott 4|
|Ejections||Hurtado 1, Fernandez 1, Montero 1|
COACHES: Sigi Schmid became first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC Dec. 16, 2008, and is in his fourth year. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1956, and to Torrance, CA., in 1962. He was a four-year starter at UCLA (1972-75) and graduated with a B.S. degree in economics in 1976.
Schmid later earned a M.A. in business administration from Southern California. A certified public accountant, Schmid coached the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999 through 2004, winning four major competitions: 2002 MLS Cup, 2002 MLS Supporters Shield, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2001 CONCACAF Champions Cup. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08, winning the MLS Cup in his final season.
In 2009, under Schmid’s direction, the Sounders became the first expansion team to reach the MLS playoffs since the 1998 Chicago Fire. The Sounders also won the U.S. Open Cup in Schmid’s first season. They added their second and third U.S. Open Cup titles in 2010 and 2011.
Bruce Arena: The reigning MLS Coach of the Year, and a three-time MLS Cup winner, Bruce Arena enters his fifth season with the Galaxy. One of the most successful head coaches in MLS and U.S. National Team history, Arena led the Galaxy to their third MLS Cup last season, becoming the first coach in MLS league history to win three championships.
The all-time leader in wins among coaches in U.S. MNT history, Arena led the U.S. to the FIFA World Cup twice, including an historic quarterfinal berth in 2002 in Japan/Korea. Arena briefly coached at the University of Puget Sound in 1976.
COMING UP: Sounders play in the championship match of the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday at Sporting Kansas City, play at San Jose Aug. 11 and return to Seattle Aug. 18 to meet the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(9-5-7, 34 points, MLS; 2-1 CCL; 4-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KONG||W||2-0||7-1-1|
|6/26||&at San Jose||7:30||Webcast||W||1-0||3-0-0|
|6/30||^at New England||4:30||KONG||D||2-2||7-5-5|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||D||2-2||8-5-7|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||TBD||—||—||—|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KING||—||—||—|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||—||—||—|
|10/21||^vs. FC Dallas||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|10/28||^at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer; #=International friendly; &=U.S. Open Cup