The Seattle Sounders are taking on their Western Conference rivals in the LA Galaxy on Sunday at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. (1 p.m. PT; ESPN, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360AM), and there will be plenty of star power on display. Here are the top three matchups to watch that could help decide the outcome of the match.
Giovani dos Santos vs. Osvaldo Alonso
He may not be performing to his own lofty standards so far this season, but the LA Galaxy No. 10 can still produce a touch of brilliance at a moment’s notice. Operating as a withdrawn second striker alongside Gyasi Zardes, dos Santos will try and do most of his damage beneath the Sounders’ back line, right where Alonso clogs the middle. If Seattle’s captain can slow down the Mexican international and take him out of an offensive rhythm, it may be a frustrating day for LA at home.
Romain Alessandrini vs. Joevin Jones
This will be a fun one. The Galaxy’s offseason acquisition is a pacey and menacing right winger, who loves to push forward and stretch opposing defenses. The Frenchman has a powerful left foot and is capable of creating chances inside and out. Jones is arguably MLS’ best attacking left back and is fast enough to stay with Alessandrini step for step. One of the most important things the Sounders can do to contain Alessandrini is push Jones forward and either force Alessandrini to track back and defend or exploit the gaps between him and young LA right back Nathan Smith.
Jordan Morris vs. Jelle Van Damme
The Sounders’ second-year striker will have a tough task against the Galaxy’s massive Belgian center back, but Morris has the pace to get past Van Damme if there’s an opportunity in open space. It will be imperative for Morris to stay high and pin the Galaxy’s line deep in order to give attacking midfielder Clint Dempsey more room to work in the space just ahead of his U.S. teammate and LA defensive midfielder Jermaine Jones. Morris recorded his first career brace at StubHub Center last year, and against a Galaxy team that has allowed 10 goals in six games so far this season, there should be opportunities to get on the score sheet.