TUKWILA, Wash. – By almost any metric, the Seattle Sounders have been one of the top teams in MLS ever since they joined the league in 2009. But there’s at least one area in which the Sounders don’t measure up quite as well as they’d like: their record against the LA Galaxy.
The Sounders have been flummoxed by the Galaxy more so than any other team in MLS, going 0-3-1 against them over the past two regular seasons. In fact, the Galaxy are the only team the Sounders have failed to beat at least once in MLS play during that time.
So it’s understandable that the Sounders are looking at Wednesday’s game at CenturyLink Field (10 pm ET, watch LIVE online) as a little different than your average regular-season encounter.
“You always want to know how you stack up,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid told reporters on Tuesday. “Are we ready to take that next step? Are we ready to push on? Right now, we’re 4-1-1 and it’s a great start. But we want to build upon that.”
The Sounders may be facing the Galaxy at a vulnerable time. Coming off a season in which they became the first team since 2008 to win both the Supporters’ Shield and the MLS Cup, expectations were sky high for the Galaxy. But they crashed out of the Champions League quarterfinals and stumbled to a 1-3-0 start to the MLS season.
But that’s not necessarily reason for Sounders optimism (they’re 3-3-1 now, and unbeaten in their last three) nor does it lessen the importance of the game, noted Sounders midfielder Brad Evans.
“They started off slow, but the same thing happened to us last year and we almost ended up catching them in the end,” Evans said. “It’s not necessarily how you start, it’s how you finish. These are three points we really want. We’ve dropped some points to them in the past, and I can guarantee we’ll be fired up to come out Wednesday night.”
That kind of talk is music to Schmid’s ears.
“We’ll take all the fire we can get, and I don’t think you can get too fired up for that,” Schmid said.
To that end, Schmid seemed to indicate that Mauro Rosales, Adam Johansson, Patrick Ianni and Álvaro Fernández could all be made available against the Galaxy. If any of those players log significant minutes against the Galaxy, it would be hard to see them playing again against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
But before that game comes calling, the Sounders’ focus falls squarely on reversing a troubling trend.
“History is history, but you want to change it,” Evans said of the Sounders’ past performances against the Galaxy. “It’s three points on the table and it’s against a Western Conference foe. It’s become a rivalry now and that’s what we like to play.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.