It’s no secret that the Sounders have a difficult task ahead of them on Sunday when they face the LA Galaxy and a 3-0 deficit in the second leg of the Western Conference Championship series at CenturyLink Field.
They will need to win by three goals to force overtime and four goals to win outright and while it’s a daunting hill to climb,
Here are some things to expect when the match kicks off at 6 pm Pacific.
LA will bunker
Playing with a 3-0 lead is the perfect scenario for the Galaxy. Historically, they are a team that has played a counter-attacking style, so bunkering in and playing a patient, counter-attacking style on Sunday won’t be nearly as strange for them as it was for the San Jose Earthquakes in the Western Conference Semifinals when they came home with a 1-0 lead over the Galaxy and went completely against the way they played all season and fell 3-1 in the second leg.
Because of that, Seattle will need to be patient, too.
They will need to take their chances when they come, while also being aware of LA making runs the other way like they did in the second half of the opening leg last week.
“We need to do a better job against the counter-attack,” Schmid said. “I didn’t think we did a good job, particularly in that period of time in the second half. We’ve talked about that, so we know what we have to do.
Patience is key
The Sounders need to score three goals, true. But they have 90 minutes to do it. It would help the cause to score in the first 20 minutes, but if they don’t, there is still plenty of time to pull goals back. When the Sounders got two goals against Real Salt Lake in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinal in 2011, the first didn’t come until the 56th minute.
“It’s not desperation until a certain point,” midfielder Brad Evans said. “You see how the game goes and what it gives you. We just have to put it all on the line.”
For 317 consecutive minutes, the Sounders didn’t allow a goal in the playoffs. Then they allowed three in 23 minutes against the LA Galaxy. While they need to score three, they also need to stop the Galaxy from scoring. Each goal they allow means another goal they will need to score to stay involved in the game.
Getting back to their earlier defensive form will be important if the Sounders hope to advance.
“For every goal they score, we have to score one more,” Schmid said. “It’s as simple as that. It’s very basic math.”
The crowd will be ready
The Sounders are expecting a crowd that exceeds 43,000 on Sunday. It will be a crowd hungry for Seattle to advance and ready to go bonkers on the first goal.
The players know and are ready to give the fans something to cheer about.
“This city wants a championship. We want a championship,” forward Eddie Johnson said. “This is what we work hard for all season.”
Kickoff is set for 6 pm Pacific from CenturyLink Field and the match will be televised live on ESPN. Tickets are still available at SoundersFC.com.