Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy | MLS Match Preview

Oct. 27, 2013 (WEEK 35, MLS Game #323)
6 p.m. PT (ESPN/Deportes; TSN2)


The curtain comes down on the 2013 MLS regular season on Sunday evening at CenturyLink Field as Seattle Sounders FC play host to the LA Galaxy. Both teams secured their spots in the MLS Cup Playoffs last weekend, and what they will need to do to jockey for playoff seeding will be known by kickoff. Sounders FC return home off a 2-0 loss at FC Dallas last weekend, while the Galaxy concluded their home schedule with a scoreless draw vs. San Jose.


REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Greg Barkey; AR2 (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 116 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 28; pens: 38

SUSPENDED: LA: Juninho (caution accumulation; through Oct. 27)
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Adam Moffat, Djimi Traore | LA: Marcelo Sarvas

ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 11 goals | Galaxy 5 wins, 15 goals | Ties 3
AT SEATTLE (5 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals | Galaxy 2 wins, 6 goals | Ties 1

2013 (MLS)
5/26: LA 4, SEA 0 (Franklin 12; Keane 24, 34, 44)
9/21: LA 1, SEA 1 (Juninho 47+ --  Johnson 25)
*    The teams are meeting for the third 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. LA's Juninho and Seattle's Eddie Johnson traded goals in a 1-1 draw Sept. 21 at StubHub Center.
*    In the last meeting, Sounders FC scored for the first time vs. the Galaxy in five meetings in Carson in league and MLS Cup play, since the 2010 season.
*    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: P11 W5 L3 D3 | Sigi Schmid vs. LA: P17 W6 L6 D5

*    Sounders FC took the lead in the 25th minute. Eddie Johnson lost his marker on his run from the top of the box and was alone just above the 6-yard box to powerfully head home Mauro Rosales' corner kick from the right.
*    The Galaxy pulled even on the final touch of the half, after Seattle defender Zach Scott picked up a yellow card for tripping Jose Villarreal just above the restraining arc. Juninho curled the ball inside the left post with the resulting free kick.
*    Sounders FC finished a man down after Scott was sent off for his second yellow deep in stoppage time, but the Galaxy could not take advantage.
*    LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo (Michael Stephens 90), Todd Dunivant - Hector Jimenez (Laurent Courtois 76), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Gyasi Zardes - Robbie Keane, Jose Villarreal (Jack McBean 81).
*    SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott (ejected 89), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Mauro Rosales (Brad Evans 76), Andy Rose (Adam Moffat 65), Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle - Eddie Johnson, Obafemi Martins (Marc Burch 82).

Seattle Sounders FC had their losing and winless streaks extended, falling 2-0 to FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Stadium. Sounders FC are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 51 points from 33 matches.

*    FC Dallas goal took the lead in the 65th minute. A free kick was expertly delivered by second-half substitute Michel and headed home by defender Matt Hedges, who didn't give Sounders FC goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann a chance to react.
*    FCD put the game away in the 87th minute. From a frantic sequence in Seattle's 18-yard box, David Ferreira fired an attempt on goal and the shot glanced off a Sounders FC defender right to Michel, who gladly slotted the ball into the net.
*    Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that dropped a 1-0 decision to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Brad Evans came into the midfield in place of the suspended Osvaldo Alonso.
*    SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Marcus Hahnemann - DeAndre Yedlin, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Adam Moffat (Andy Rose 80) - Mauro Rosales (Eriq Zavaleta 80), Brad Evans, Alex Caskey (David Estrada 69) - Lamar Neagle, Clint Dempsey.

*    Despite the loss to FC Dallas, with the Portland Timbers-Real Salt Lake draw later on Saturday, Sounders FC clinched a playoff berth for the fifth time in their five-year MLS history.
*    It was the fourth consecutive loss for Sounders FC, the fourth-longest losing streak in MLS this season. Each of the others were set by teams that failed to make the MLS Cup Playoffs: Chivas USA (7), D.C. United (7), Toronto FC (5).
*    "It rests on my shoulders that we haven't been able to come up with combinations that work for us," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. "We've had some chances but haven't been able to convert those chances. Guys are trying, they're fighting and battling. The combinations on the field just haven't been able to produce the goals that we wanted and needed at this point. The guys are obviously disappointed."
*    Sounders FC have conceded 12 goals over their four-game losing skein. They had allowed 29 goals total in their first 29 league games; they now rank ninth in goals allowed in the league.
*    Sounders FC were also shut out for a second consecutive match, the second time this season they were blanked in back-to-back matches (also July 6-13).
*    "Every team has its ups and downs," said Clint Dempsey. "You've just got to keep fighting and keep grinding. The stronger you are, the farther you'll go. Hopefully we can turn things around, get the right result in the final game and make the playoffs. It takes one game to be back on track. It takes one game to make a big mistake and fall off. It doesn't take much in this game for things to go up and down."
*    Dempsey made a second consecutive start and played the full 90 minutes for Sounders FC for the first time since Aug. 31. Potential strike partners Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins both stayed in Seattle to deal with injuries.
*    "Clint battled but is he at 100 percent with his shoulder right now? No. Then he took a knock that one time in the box. When you fall on it and the pain is there. You're aware of it," Schmid said.
*    Brad Evans was able to return to the lineup for the first time after missing the last two matches while on national team duty with the USA.
*    "The fight and desire is always there. It's just execution at the front and the back. ... It's just the little things," said Evans. "We give up a set piece goal, something we talked about, and it slides in past the post and that's kind of been the name of the game for us the last few weeks. Now we get a couple of days off to regroup and we've just got to fight like hell next weekend."

The LA Galaxy extended their undefeated streak to three games, playing to a scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy are third place in the Western Conference with 52 points from 33 matches.

*    Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo made four saves, including diving stops on a Steven Lenhart header from a corner kick in the 27th minute and a Chris Wondolowski header in the 40th minute.
*    Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch was called upon to make three saves.
*    Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made five changes to the team that defeated the MontrÈal Impact 1-0 at StubHub Center. Jaime Penedo came in between the posts for Brian Rowe, Omar Gonzalez and Greg Cochrane started in the back four for Leonardo and Todd Dunivant, and Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane returned as the strike partnership in place of Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal.
*    LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez (Leonardo 73), Kofi Opare, Greg Cochrane - Michael Stephens (Robbie Rogers 68), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Gyasi Zardes - Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane.

*    While the Galaxy saw their two-game winning streak come to an end, they did clinch a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 15th time in 19 MLS seasons.
*    "We clinched a spot (in the playoffs) but we wanted more and I think we feel like we let an opportunity slip through our hands," said Landon Donovan. "I think the expectation is to make the playoffs and we had the chance to do something more, so we are disappointed by we have to move on and we have to big games this week so we have to move on."
*    The Galaxy have now not allowed a goal in 308 minutes, the eighth-longest streak in MLS this season, recording three consecutive shutouts. It's been achieved with two different goalkeepers, and Jaime Penedo returned between the posts after Brian Rowe had backstopped the 1-0 win vs. MontrÈal.
*    It was the fourth clean sheet with Penedo in goal, in his eight starts after joining the club in mid-August. As a team, the Galaxy have 13 shutouts this season.
*    "He has been very good. As a team, including the Dallas game in August, it has been 14 games in official competitions, including the three CONCACAF games, and we have only let up 10 goals in our last 14 games," Arena said. "We've played well defensively, our goalkeeping has been good. Jaime was very good tonight."
*    Donovan was able to return to the Galaxy starting lineup after being held out of the win vs. MontrÈal at midweek with an ankle problem, but ended the match still tied with Jeff Cunningham as the all-time MLS league goalscoring leader with 134 goals.
*    "I told you it needs six weeks of rest, but, unfortunately, we're not going to get six weeks of rest," Donovan said. "So that's the way it goes. Just gotta deal with it."
*    Greg Cochrane made his first start since June 8, coming in at left back in place of Todd Dunivant.
*    "I thought [Kofi] Opare and Cochrane did well. We had a lot of trouble with (Shea) Salinas in the last 15 minutes of the game, I thought he was very effective. He was probably their most dangerous player on the night, he is a good player," Arena said. "But I thought Cochrane held up really well in that match-up versus (Cordell) Cato and toward the end of the game. And Opare did well. They are a tough team to play against, physically strong, when they make it direct they are a handful. But I give those guys a lot of credit, they played well."
*    Robbie Rogers was able to make his first league appearance since July 20, coming on for the final quarter of the match in a wide midfield role.
*    "It's been quite a while," Rogers said. "It felt good to be out there. It felt, I don't know, just kind of like finally. Finally I'm helping the team out. | . It's been [two] months since I played, and there's a lot of improvement I need to make."
*    On Thursday, the Galaxy concluded their CONCACAF Champions League group play with a 4-0 loss to Isidro Metapan in El Salvador. The Galaxy had already clinched a berth in next year's knockout stage, but with the defeat will now face Mexican side Tijuana in the quarterfinals.
*    Here's the Galaxy team: Brian Rowe; Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Oscar Sorto (Robbie Rogers 46); HÈctor JimÈnez, Laurent Courtois (Charlie Rugg 70), Juninho, Rafael Garcia; Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean (Chandler Hoffman 46)

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