With the way the two teams are playing lately as the season transitions into the final few months and playoff implications become prevalent in so many matches, it’s bound to be quite a show.
“I think the team’s ready,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “The Western Conference games are six-point games, so it’s an important game from that standpoint. Whenever you have a stage like that, it’s a great opportunity for players to be showcased. If the team plays well, than the individual players get showcased.”
Additionally, the Sounders will have newly signed midfielder Christian Tiffert available for the first time, adding a new dynamic to a club that sits third in the Western Conference at 9-5-7.
Both teams have had their low moments this season, with the Sounders going winless in nine straight matches before their current streak of five straight unbeaten.
Through 13 matches, the Galaxy were at the bottom of the Western Conference at just 3-8-2. Since then they are 7-2-1 and have screamed into fifth place in the West.
Key to that turnaround has been the play of their Designated Player trio of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, as they have combined for 17 goals and 14 assists in LA’s last ten games.
“A switch they’ve made in terms of putting Donovan up front next to Robbie Keane, and Keane was Player of the Month last month so he’s on fire right now,” Schmid said. “Landon seems to be very comfortable playing up front. It makes them a very dangerous strike team.”
Keane has six goals and four assists in eight matches since returning from the European Championships. Donovan, meanwhile, is back to his award-winning form in MLS play. He has nine goals and seven assists on the season with an incredible mark of seven goals and five assists in his last nine matches, sitting out last week’s 1-0 win over FC Dallas because of yellow card accumulation.
“I think you see a different dynamic, especially with the way those guys are playing right now,” Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans said. “They kind of hit a lull for a little bit, but they picked it up and found out that it’s going to be hard work to still earn points in the league.”
At the same time, David Beckham has four goals and four assists in his last four matches, but missed two matches to suspension and another last week against Dallas while he was away at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.
While offensively talented, the biggest weakness for the Galaxy comes in their affinity to allowing goals in big numbers. Five times this year they have allowed three goals or more and only three teams in the league have allowed more than their 35 goals this season.
Kickoff is slated for 6 pm Pacific Time with television coverage on ESPN2 and the local radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM. Tickets are still available at SoundersFC.com.