A look at the battles to pay attention to in tonight's massive match with the LA Galaxy.
Sounders FC vs LA Galaxy
October 27, 2013, 6 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: ESPN; 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
When Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy square off at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night, there will be a lot on the line as the teams battle for playoff position in the Western Conference. The rival clubs have had plenty of heated standoffs before and here are three matchups to watch for in Sunday’s regular season finale.
Robbie Keane vs. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
Entering the last meeting between LA and Seattle, Keane had dominated in three prior matches in league play, tallying three goals and two assists. He also accounted for all four Galaxy goals, scoring on three and assisting on another, in the Western Conference Championship series last year. Hurtado made it his personal task to make sure that didn’t happen again in that September match at the StubHub Center, holding Keane without a shot and limiting him to just 28 touches in the match. In just 54 MLS matches, Keane has 33 goals and 21 assists, including 15 goals and 11 assists this season.
Marcelo Sarvas vs. Osvaldo Alonso
The two defensive midfielders will be charged with thwarting the creativity of U.S. National Teamers Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, but the fans of the two clubs have great respect for their respective defensive specialist. Without Juninho in the lineup, Sarvas may take on much more of the defensive responsibilities, perhaps detracting from his role in the attack that has led him to a four-goal, six-assist season. While both will primarily be watching the playmakers on the other side of the ball, they have inevitably clashed themselves in matches between the two teams.
Gyasi Zardes vs. DeAndre Yedlin
The two Homegrown products may lose out to one of the Colorado Rapids duo of Deshorn Brown or Dillon Powers for Rookie of the Year, but Zardes and Yedlin show just how strong the rookie class is this year. The 22-year-old Zardes has four goals and four assists in 26 matches for the Galaxy, playing most often on the left wing. Yedlin, 20, earned an All-Star nod in his first season in MLS after two collegiate seasons at Akron and his 29 starts lead Seattle. The dynamic of the two meeting head-to-head is sure to be a highlight of a match filled with stars.