LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC | MLS Match Preview

LA GALAXY vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
Sept. 21, 2013 (WEEK 30, MLS Game #278)
7:30 p.m. PT (NBC SN; TSN2)

The LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC meet in a massive match when the Western Conference clubs face off Saturday evening at StubHub Center before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Galaxy come into the game off a 2-2 draw at D.C. United that left them a point ahead of fifth-place Portland in the West standings. Sounders FC took over the top spot in the division and the MLS overall table last weekend, following their 2-0 home win against Real Salt Lake.

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 72 games; FC/gm: 27.7; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 9; pens: 10

DISABLED LIST: SEA: Josh Ford
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA: Juninho … SEA: Leo Gonzalez, Djimi Traore
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: A.J. DeLaGarza, Marcelo Sarvas, Sean Franklin … SEA: Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Adam Moffat
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Galaxy 5 wins, 14 goals … Sounders FC 3 wins, 10 goals … Ties 2
AT LA (5 meetings): Galaxy 3 wins, 8 goals … Sounders FC 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 10/27: Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN)

• The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Galaxy scored four first-half goals – the most conceded by Sounders FC in their history – on their way to a 4-0 win May 26 in Carson.
• Sounders FC haven’t scored vs. the Galaxy in their last four meetings in Carson in league and MLS Cup play.
• The teams met a year ago in the Western Conference Championship, the Galaxy winning 4-2 on aggregate, including a 3-0 win at The Home Depot Center in the first leg.
• Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. SEA: P10 W5 L3 D2 … Sigi Schmid vs. LA: P16 W6 L6 D4

LAST MEETING (MLS)

5/26: LA 4, SEA 0 (Franklin 12; Keane 24, 34, 44)

• The Galaxy were in the lead after just 12 minutes. Following a partially cleared corner kick, Robbie Keane played a give-and-go with Marcelo Sarvas on the right flank. Keane beat Jhon Kennedy Hurtado on the dribble and whipped the ball into the goalmouth for Sean Franklin to tap home.

Highlights: LA 4, SEA 0

• The Galaxy made it 2-0 as Keane hit for his first just 12 minutes later. After a short corner, Landon Donovan sent in a bristling cross from the right wing. It hit Omar Gonzalez, ricocheted off Seattle's Brad Evans and fell to Keane, who slotted into the right side of the net.

• LA put the game away from the penalty spot, with Keane finishing twice from the spot in the 34th and 44th minutes. On the first, after Gyasi Zardes was felled in the box by Sounders center back Djimi Traoré, Michael Gspurning stopped Keane's first effort. But referee Baldomero Toledo whistled Mauro Rosales for encroachment into the box, and Keane put his second try to the right side of the net.

• The fourth LA goal and Keane's third came after Evans took down Juninho from behind on a Zardes pass from the left byline, Keane beating Gspurning to the left side of the goal.

• Sounders midfielder Shalrie Joseph was sent off in the 87th minute after making contact with Marcelo Sarvas' face near midfield.

• LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Carlo Cudicini - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Greg Cochrane - Landon Donovan, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho (Robbie Rogers 77), Michael Stephens - Robbie Keane (Jose Villarreal 73), Gyasi Zardes (Hector Jimenez 83).

• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC  (4-1-3-2): Michael Gspurning - DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Servando Carrasco (David Estrada 65) - Mauro Rosales (Lamar Neagle 65), Shalrie Joseph (sent off 87), Brad Evans - Eddie Johnson (Mario Martinez 72), Obafemi Martins.

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy weren’t able to return to their winning ways, pegged back into a late 2-2 draw with D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at RFK Stadium. The Galaxy are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 44 points from 28 matches.

LAST MATCH

• The Galaxy had the lead after just seven minutes. Landon Donovan fed Robbie Keane with a clever back-heel pass in the penalty area, and his shot wrong-footed United goalkeeper Bill Hamid from close range.

• But in the 39th minute, United leveled the match. After Omar Gonzalez mis-controlled a long ball, Chris Pontius stripped the Galaxy defender and sidestepped goalkeeper Jaime Penedo before chipping in to an empty goal.

Highlights: DC 2, LA 2

• The Galaxy appeared to have hit the winner in the 81st minute when Michael Stephens hit home with a perfectly-placed shot on a set-up by Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, skimming a low shot from the edge of the area inside the right post.

• Yet United netted the equalizer in the 84th minute, when a cross came in from Perry Kitchen and substitute Kyle Porter headed home from the heart of the area.

• Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made five changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids at StubHub Center. Jaime Penedo, Omar Gonzalez, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane all returned from international duty and Hector Jimenez also came into the team, in place of Brian Rowe, Kofi Opare, Sean Franklin, Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal.

• LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - A.J. DeLaGarza (Sean Franklin 10), Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant - Hector Jimenez (Michael Stephens 77), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Gyasi Zardes - Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan (Jose Villarreal 46).

TEAM NEWS

• While pulled back into a late draw by D.C. United, the Galaxy have taken points from their last three road matches. Four of the Galaxy’s final six games are at StubHub Center.

• “At the end of the game, we're positioned to have three points, and we need to do better in those situations,” said Galaxy manager Bruce Arena. “ … (W)e got the second goal, which should be enough to give us three points, and we failed to keep them off the scoreboard at the end of the game. That's disappointing.”

• The Galaxy conceded yet another late goal – they have allowed 18 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches, second-most in MLS (behind Chivas USA with 20). It has cost the Galaxy 14 points.

• “Eight minutes to go with a lead, and sort of the same old story,” Landon Donovan said. “We'll look at the tape and see what happened on the play, but we can't keep doing that.”

• Said Omar Gonzalez: “I think first and foremost we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit today. …  I think all of us didn’t play well together, but we still got the point and we didn’t lose. As bad as we played, we were still up and put ourselves in a position to win with eight minutes left.”

• Robbie Keane netted his 13th goal of the season, fourth-most in the league in his 17th game, and his sixth goal in the last five games. Keane also added his 11th assist, sitting in third place in the MLS standings.

• “Robbie was on the ball a lot the whole game. His legs were a little bit tired. I think he stood on the ball a little bit too much tonight, and I think that’s a tribute to his travel and his fatigue,” said Arena.

• Landon Donovan set up his eighth goal of the season. He has five goals and two assists over his last five league games, returning to the Galaxy lineup after missing the Colorado while on national team duty. Donovan was forced out of the match at halftime after suffering a mild ankle sprain.

• There was a much larger injury concern after defender A.J. DeLaGarza suffered a dislocated elbow that forced him from the field before the game was 10 minutes old.

• On Wednesday, the Galaxy won their second game in the CONCACAF Champions League in as many starts, taking a 1-0 win against El Salvador’s Isidro Metapán at StubHub Center. Laurent Courtois scored the game’s lone goal on 6 minutes.

• Here’s the Galaxy team: Brian Rowe; Rafael Garcia, Tommy Meyer, Kofi Opare, Greg Cochrane; Pablo Mastroeni© (Juninho 68’), Michael Stephens, Laurent Courtois (Marcelo Sarvas 80’); Jose Villarreal (Gyasi Zardes 68’), Chandler Hoffman, Jack McBean.

• “It's a big week for us, a really big week, and a lot of guys are going to have their number called,” Donovan said. “Fortunately, we've had a lot of reserve games in the last few weeks. We've had a Champions League game, so multiple games to stay pretty fit, and it's going to be a week where we have to use quite a bit of players.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

Seattle Sounders FC extended their winning streak to an MLS club-record five matches, defeating Real Salt Lake 2-0 in a top-of-the-table clash Friday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC now lead the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 49 points from 27 matches.

LAST MATCH

• Sounders FC had the lead after just three minutes. Obafemi Martins started the sequence by taking the ball 30 yards out and then laying it off to Andy Rose, who was streaking down the left side. Rose caught up to the ball near the endline and sent in a cross that Martins hammered in from about 10 yards out.

Highlights: SEA 2, RSL 0

• The lead was doubled in the 38th minute, with Martins in the middle of it again. This time, he received a pass near midfield and sent a ball to DeAndre Yedlin along the right touchline. Yedlin sped ahead of the defense and charged into the penalty box before picking out Lamar Neagle with a well-placed cross, who volleyed home from around 10 yards out.

• Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that claimed a late 2-1 victory against the Chicago Fire at CenturyLink Field. Zach Scott came into central defense in place of Djimi Traore.

• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Mauro Rosales (Eddie Johnson 75), Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso, Marc Burch (Clint Dempsey 61) - Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle (David Estrada 93+).

TEAM NEWS

• Sounders FC won their fifth consecutive match, tying their MLS club record set twice previously, last from April 14 to May 9 of last season. It’s the longest winning streak in MLS this season.

• Sounders FC have also taken 24 of a possible 27 points since July 28. It’s the most points from a run of nine games since Sporting Kansas City won nine games in a row from Oct. 15, 2011 to April 18, 2012; the last to do it in a single season was D.C. United, when they took 25 of a possible 27 points from Aug. 5-Sept. 12, 2007.

• It was also a third shutout in the last four matches for Sounders FC, who have allowed three goals over their last eight victories combined.

• “The commitment to defending is something we had already talked about a couple times after the game and got another shutout. You never know what other teams are going to do, how many points they are going to accumulate, so all we can control is the points we can accumulate,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “We got to get those games in hand, we got to win those points, and we got to continue to win at home. Maybe our away record isn't as good as it was last year, but certainly our home record is making up for it.”

• With the victory, Sounders FC not only took over the top spot in the Western Conference, but also in the chase for the Supporters’ Shield, emblematic of the best overall regular season record. Sounders FC had never been in first place later than the first three weeks of the season in their first four MLS campaigns.

• “In my opinion, we've accomplished very little," Sounders FC defender Zach Scott said. "We worked hard and earned everything we got to this point. But it means very little if you're in first place one week and lose that position the following week because you don't play well. Our goal is to prepare for a very good Galaxy team and hold this spot.”

• Lamar Neagle scored for a third consecutive game, and now has a career single-season high of eight goals. Neagle had scored three goals in a two-game span in back-to-back wins against San Jose and Dallas on May 11-18.

• Obafemi Martins scored his first goal since Aug. 3, and also added an assist, the first time in his MLS career he’s had a goal and an assist in the same game.

• DeAndre Yedlin contributed the second assist of his rookie campaign, his first since March 30, his fourth professional game.

• “It’s very important because we’ve been talking about finishing off plays for him,” Schmid said. “He’s got to be able to finish off plays. The assist he did well with his touch because he took himself into the box. He commits defenders and when you commit defenders you have to make the right choice and we’ve been working with him on that.”

• After missing two league matches while playing two World Cup qualifiers with the U.S. national team, Clint Dempsey came off the substitutes’ bench for the final half-hour.

• “We had Eddie go to the right side. Lamar (Neagle) went to the left. Oba (Martins) played up top. Clint was maybe more advanced than we would have liked defensively, but offensively he found some good spaces in there,” said Schmid. “I think they are versatile enough and there is enough hard work there-you saw Oba's work rate-that they can place change with each other, one guy goes out wide and the other goes in the middle, I think those things can get done.”