CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy's path to another MLS Cup title-game appearance depends on a strong showing in Sunday's home leg of the Western Conference final, right?
LA is putting no special emphasis on winning the opening match against the Seattle Sounders, especially after overcoming a 1-0 home defeat to beat San Jose in the Western Conference semifinals.
“As we learned in the last series, it's 180 minutes, potentially more,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “We're not going to get too caught up in what happens after the first game, whether it's good or bad. We want to play well and we want to use our advantage well, and we think if we play well, we have a good chance to win this game. We're also very comfortable going on the road and getting results, no matter the environment, and we've proven that over the years.”
WATCH: Galaxy talk Seattle series
David Beckham agrees, and he's already looking forward to next weekend's second leg at CenturyLink Field.
“I don't think it matters [what happens in the first leg],” he said. “I love playing in [hostile] atmospheres like [in Seattle]. It's what I've done throughout my career. I love playing in opposing stadiums where [the fans are] on your back, and it's nice to try to keep them quiet. We've done it once or twice in Seattle, and we haven't done it once or twice in Seattle.”
LA forward Robbie Keane wonders if the Galaxy are just better coming from behind, as they did in their Knockout Round win over Vancouver as well as in the San Jose series.
“The last few games, we've been chasing,” said the Irish striker, who scored the first two goals in the 3-1 win Wednesday night at San Jose. “I don't know if we're better chasing -- I'm not really too sure. It would be nice to go into the second leg with a lead, but we'll see what happens.”
Two years ago the Galaxy posted a 1-0 playoff triumph in Seattle en route to a Western semifinal sweep. But the Sounders have had the better of the series this year, dominating LA in 2-0 and 4-0 home wins before a late Mike Magee goal ended a bid for a 0-0 draw in the regular-season finale two weeks ago. Any psychological advantage the Galaxy once held is gone.
“I think they turned the corner this year with that. They beat us very handily twice in Seattle,” Donovan said. “And the game here, they could argue they could have, should have, won that game, too. They've played us very tough this year, and we expect the same thing in this series.”
The Sounders might be the favorite.
“They have the advantage,” Magee said. “They have more points than us, and they get the second leg at home, so I think the pressure is on them to win. They've obviously proven they can go to Salt Lake and get a result, which is extremely hard to do. I definitely say that they're the favorite at the moment.”
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.