Coming off their 2-0 Western Conference Semifinal victory over Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, the Sounders know there’s only one way they’ll be hosting the Western Conference Final: If the Galaxy take down Supporters’ Shield-winners LAFC in the other West Semifinal matchup – an El Trafico derby at Banc of California on Thursday (10:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US | TSN4, TVAS in Canada).
After Wednesday’s victory over RSL, both Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer and his players said after the dust settles they’ll be keeping tabs on the match that will determine their opposition, both for scouting purposes and the hope it will end with at least one more game in the friendly confines of the CLink.
“I know that’ll be a good game, a tough game. For me, of course I want to play at home, that’s probably the only reason why I want the Galaxy to win,” midfielder Gustav Svensson, who scored the opening goal on Wednesday, said after the match. “But it’s two good teams and we will have a tough team either way.”
Added winger Jordan Morris: “There might be some Galaxy fans in this locker room. But I watch all those games, they’re really exciting. That’ll be a fun one.”’
Schmetzer said that his focus in the aftermath of Wednesday’s match was on enjoying his team’s latest playoff win, but did add that the preparation for whoever that next opponent turns out to be will begin in short order following Thursday’s massive El Trafico showdown.
“[The coaching staff] will download the last three games for the Galaxy and LAFC and we will be prepared,” Schmetzer said. “As we enjoy our victory tonight and a little bit tomorrow, we’ll probably start preparing so when the game ends, we’ll be ready for whoever we play against.
“I’m looking forward to a good game because I’m soccer fan. For me, it doesn’t matter who wins, we’ll be ready for whoever we have to face. Certainly a home game would be nice, but other than that, it’s going to be an interesting game whether it’s the Galaxy or if it’s LAFC.”
For Seattle, there’s also still an outside shot that they’ll be able to host MLS Cup, should they manage to get there.
With Toronto FC knocking off NYCFC on Wednesday, that makes one less opponent in the Eastern Conference that the Sounders would have had to travel to face in a theoretical championship bout. Should Atlanta United also get eliminated, Seattle would host against any other team in the East that emerges if they can knock off whichever L.A. opponent they happen to get.
“I would love, love to give that to our fans,” Schmetzer said. “They deserve it. They actually deserve it. It was our intention to get as high up in the standings this year as we could to host a game. There’s a couple teams ahead of us, obviously Toronto did us a favor, but we cannot look forward past our next opponent. But that certainly would be nice. And I know my bosses would be happy.”