We’ve said here in this very space that the Galaxy’s 3-8-2 start to the 2012 season is a thing of the past. And the fact that they were the best team in MLS since July restored our faith in the champs.
But what they’ve done in the past four days has taken it to a whole other level. First they scored three goals in 18 minutes to stun San Jose in their own house, a place where the Supporters’ Shield winners hadn't lost this season. Then they hung another three goals in dominating fashion on the second-best defensive team in the league (at least when healthy) and really could have run out of Sunday night’s game with a 6-0 victory. That is not an exaggeration.
If the Galaxy follow this thing through and win a second straight MLS Cup – in the way they’re doing it, with perfect chemistry from every player on the roster from Designated Players all the way down the bench to teenage Homegrown players – they will enter the discussion as the best team the league has ever seen.
That Fredy Montero has disappeared in the playoffs yet again isn’t a huge surprise – he’s never been better than when he has Eddie Johnson at his side, and EJ is still not 100 percent.
But if Mauro Rosales isn’t available for the second leg, and Christian Tiffert is as anonymous as he’s been the past month, and the beaten-up Sounders backline doesn’t improve … well, there’s no way the Sounders are going to pull off the miracle of miracles in the second leg.
And that brings us to…
3. If the Sounders are leaning on their 4-0 win over LA back in August, they’re seriously deluding themselves.
Plenty of Sounders were singing the same tune as Jeff Parke postgame: “We’ve put four on them before, so it’s nothing we haven’t done.”
Sure, they routed a close-enough-to-full-strength Galaxy team that was undefeated in four straight at the time (and one that, for the record, went on a seven-game unbeaten streak immediately after that loss). But they’ve never hung a result like that on an LA team that is as much in full stride as it is right now.
The explosive Galaxy offense aside, their defense has surrendered only three goals in five games. To score four on them is an even taller task when you consider that Seattle have scored exactly one goal in their last four games.
You don’t want to go so far as to say it’s completely impossible. But it would take the best performance the Sounders have ever mustered as an MLS team. That is not an exaggeration, either.