The Sounders, hottest team in MLS, play three matches over the next seven days, including Sunday in Carson, CA., that will be televised nationally.
MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (4-3-3, 15 points, 6th, MLS West) at L.A. Galaxy (5-4-2, 17 points, 4th, MLS West). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Sunday, 8 p.m., The Home Depot Center, Carson, CA. MEETING: 10th (Galaxy leads 4-3-2). TV: ESPN2. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
After spending the first 9½ weeks of the season in last place in MLS West, the Sounders, winners of three in a row and unbeaten over their last six, now roost in sixth, a point behind the fifth-place Colorado Rapids. Having played the fewest games in MLS, the Sounders have two to four games in hand on the top six teams with the LA Galaxy due up next, Sunday in Carson, CA.
Seattle’s three-game winning streak is the best in MLS, and the six-game unbeaten run is tied with New York (5-0-1) for the second-best active streak, four short of Portland’s 10-match streak (4-0-6).
Only Portland and Dallas have had longer unbeaten streaks this season. It’s the ninth time in club history that Seattle has gone undefeated in six or more consecutive matches.
The Galaxy (5-4-2, 17 points) stand fourth in the West but have lost three of their past five, including a late 1-0 loss at New York Sunday.
“I don’t put too much stock in that,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said this week. “They’re a quality team. They’re in every game that they’ve played. It’s going to be a tough game. I don’t think there’s a good time to play them.”
Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan have returned to the LA lineup, but the Sounders won’t have to deal with Mike Magee, who scored six goals before the Galaxy traded him to the Chicago Fire Friday in order to acquire the rights to Robbie Rogers, who retired last February on the same day he announced he was gay in a blog post.
LA Coach Bruce Arena said Saturday that it’s unlikely Rogers will play Sunday, given that he hasn’t participated in a competitive match in 18 months.
The Galaxy are 3-1-1 at home and have allowed just two goals in five matches, but lost in their last one at the Home Depot Center, 1-0, to the Houston Dynamo May 5. Arena’s club ranks in the league’s top 10 in goals (17-T-4), assists (17-T-5), shots (151-10th), shots on goal (52-9th) and corner kicks (79-2nd).
Donovan, who ranks in the top five all-time with 126 goals (3rd) and 111 assists (4th), has two goals and three assists. The 32-year-old Keane has two goals and three assists this season after notching 16 and nine in 2012. Keane tallied three goals against the Sounders in the 2012 Western Conference playoffs.
“Robbie Keane, when he is on form, is probably the best player in the league,” said Schmid. “Landon Donovan is certainly hungry and ambitious right now because he’d like to get back into the national team. He knows his way in is by having good performances in league play. They’re a hungry team that way.”
The match is the start of a busy stretch for the Sounders. From Los Angeles, the Sounders will fly to Tampa Bay to face the NASL Rowdies in a U.S. Open Cup match Wednesday, then return to L.A. to play Chivas USA Saturday.
The Sounders likely be without Osvaldo Alonso Sunday as he recovers from a groin strain, but Mauro Rosales (sprained shoulder), who missed Seattle’s 4-2 win over FC Dallas, might be cleared to play.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning. Defenders — Leo Gonzalez, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, DeAndre Yedlin. Midfielders — Brad Evans, Servando Carrasco, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales. Forwards — Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle.
INJURIES: Seattle — GK Josh Ford, out; Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Steve Zakuani, questionable. L.A. Galaxy— None. SUSPENSIONS: None.
SERIES: Dates to May 10, 2009, a 1-1 tie in Seattle (Seattle goal by Sebastien Le Toux). Galaxy leads 4-3-2 all-time after scoring a 1-0 victory over the Sunders last October. In nine regular-season meetings, both teams have recorded 10 goals. 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. Sounders and Galaxy met in the 2012 Western Conference playoffs, the Galaxy winning 4-2 on a two-game aggregate.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS MLS LEADERS
|Starts||Gspurning 10, Hurtado 9, Yedlin 9, Traore 9|
|Goals||Johnson 4, Martins 3, Neagle 3, Rosales 2|
|Assists||Rosales 3, Evans 2, 7 with 1 each|
|Shots||Johnson 22, Evans 17, Alonso 12|
|Shots On Goal||Johnson 10, Neagle 7, Evans 5|
|Fouls Caused||Alonso 16, Yedlin 15, Evans 11, Hurtado 11|
|Fouls Suffered||Johnson 17, Rosales 13, Alonso 13|
|Offsides||Johnson 12, Evans 5, Neagle 5|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 31, Martinez 15|
|Cautions||Johnson 3, 4 tied with 1 each|
|Ejections||Lamar Neagle, DeAndre Yedlin, 1 each|
LA GALAXY NOTES: The two-time defending MLS Cup Champions lead MLS with 245 points (70-34-35) since the beginning of the 2009 season and are one of three teams (Seattle and Salt Lake) to qualify for the playoffs the past four seasons . . . Bruce Arena served as coach for the University of Puget Sound in 1976 and previously played for the Tacoma Tides of the American Soccer League.
COMING UP: The Sounders will play a mid-week match in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup in Tampa, FL. against the NASL Rowdies. The Sounders play at Chivas USA Saturday and return to CenturyLink Field June 8 to host Vancouver in a Cascadia Cup match.
Seattle Sounders FC 2013 Schedule / Results
(4-3-3, 15 points, MLS; 1-1-0 CCL; 0-0-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|3/6||*at Tigres||7:00||Fox Soccer||L||1-0||0-0-0|
|3/23||^at San Jose||7:30||KING 5||L||1-0||0-2-1|
|5/26||^at LA Galaxy||8:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|7/13||^at San Jose||7:30||KING/KONG||—||—||—|
|9/21||^at LA Galaxy||7:30||NBCSN||—||—||—|
|10/19||^at FC Dallas||1:00||NBCSN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer; #=U.S. Open Cup