TUKWILA, Wash. - Seattle hopes to finally break through against the LA Galaxy Monday night (10:30 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com). Winners of three straight, the surging Sounders are set to try to reverse the historical tide of the series.
Landon Donovan and Co. own a perfect 5-0-0 record over Seattle in the past two seasons. That includes a 1-0 Galaxy victory to start the 2011 season, a game that left goalkeeper Kasey Keller frustrated.
“We know we should have gotten something out of that game in the first game of the season,” Keller said.
Seattle’s confidence is high coming into the return leg, with the three-game winning streak under their belt and the expected return of striker Fredy Montero. Montero’s return is bolstered by the recent play of Mauro Rosales, who has started Seattle’s past five matches.
On the opposite side of the ledger, David Beckham’s likely exclusion weakens the Galaxy lineup as the English midfielder deals with a stress fracture of his spine.
Even with those factors in Seattle’s favor, Keller knows LA always present a difficult challenge.
“They have the most points in the league, and they had the most points in the league last year, and so you have to give them a lot of credit because of that,” Keller said. “They’ve consistently been winning more games than anybody else. We know we’ve got a tough task.”
The futility against the Galaxy weighs heavily on Keller and the Sounders franchise as Seattle-LA games have always been heated affairs. In the first meeting at then-Qwest Field, James Riley was sent off after an altercation with Mike Magee. In 2010, the Galaxy’s 4-0 shellacking of the Sounders induced management to offer season-ticket holders a refund for the price of that match.
In the 2010 MLS Playoffs, Los Angeles strangled the life out of the Sounders attack to advance by a 3-1 aggregate score in the Western Conference semifinals.
While Schmid concedes that “It’s a rivalry that’s greatly in their favor right now,” Keller hopes this Independence Day match will be the one that turns the tide.
“This is a big game now,” Keller said. “We’re obviously disappointed with the way we’ve played against them the last three or four times so we’re going to go down there and try to make that right.”
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS