Rivals Seattle and Los Angeles to renew pleasantries for first time this MLS season

Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy

MLS Regular Season
Monday, July 28; 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: ESPN2; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)

The LA Galaxy had a slow start to the 2014 MLS season, but Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid knows that its 7-4-6 overall record is not an indicator of its talented roster.  The last nine matches, however, have been more indicative of the level the Galaxy is capable of, as LA has gone 5-1-3 in that stretch.

“When you have Robbie Keane and you have Landon Donovan, you’re always going to be dangerous,” Schmid said.  “[Gyasi] Zardes has come into goal-scoring form lately, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

Keane and Donovan have shown to be clinical in their ability to combine over the last three years.  Since Keane joined the Galaxy in August of 2011, the Irish international has 44 goals and 27 assists while Donovan has notched 23 goals and 28 assists.

This season, LA Head Coach Bruce Arena has shifted formations and altered the role Donovan plays and the versatile attacker has three goals and four assists in 15 matches.  Keane, meanwhile, has 10 goals and six assists in 16 matches.  He and Sounders FC forward Obafemi Martins are two of just three players in MLS to rank in the top eight in both goals and assists this season.

In addition, Zardes has tallied six goals and one assist, all over the last nine matches.

Though it could be a daunting challenge to hold off a group of that ilk, Seattle is buoyed by the confidence of playing at CenturyLink Field.  At home, Sounders FC is riding three consecutive shutouts and a six-game winning streak.

“We’ve played against them before and they’re tough to handle.  But I think our defense has really improved this year and I think we’re moving with great momentum,” said DeAndre Yedlin.  “Everybody’s connecting and I think it will be a great game.”

For all of the talent LA boasts, Sounders FC has a hefty lineup of its own and is more focused on keeping its own form than containing the Galaxy.

“It’s going to be a tough game.  They’re a team that has a lot of quality on it.  But at the same time, we need to make sure that we continue the form that we’ve been on at home and try to get as many points as possible,” said Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey, who has nine goals and three assists to his credit in 10 matches this season.

While the Galaxy’s recent form may be more reflective of the team fielded by Head Coach Bruce Arena, Sounders FC feels the same about its own 12-4-2 record.  Seattle has held the top spot in the standings since April 26 and has goals to keep extending the lead over the teams chasing from behind.

In that regard, the match against the Galaxy is as big as any other.

“It’s always a big game against the Galaxy.  We have to stay at the top of the league and get the three points,” said midfielder Osvaldo Alonso.  “We are playing good and we have to come out on Monday and play good soccer.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm PT.

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