Photo Credit: Getty Images
Time: 7:00 PM
TV: KONG 6/16
One game in a nine game May schedule and the Sounders have already emerged with a scrappy 3 points against Chicago. Only eight more games remaining and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with the Los Angeles Galaxy coming into town. Missing key players and coming into the 2012 season on a rocky start, the Galaxy come into CenturyLink in an attempt to continue their dominance over the Sounders. Will they be able to hold strong this year? We will see in this first meeting of the year.
After completing their 100th MLS regular season game on Saturday, the Sounders are now facing the only team that has fared better than them in the MLS through those 100 games, the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy in the past have relied on a plethora of star players including Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and David Beckham, while also developing strong younger players such as defender Omar Gonzalez. Through these factors they have acquired 184 points while Seattle is second with 171 points. This year though all of these pieces have not aligned to give the Galaxy the start they wanted to follow their MLS Championship run last season.
Before the season even started the Galaxy lost all star center defender Omar Gonzalez to an ACL injury that has benched him for the rest of the season. Other notable injuries include Landon Donovan (bronchitis) and David Beckham (Hamstring). The Galaxy have also lost starting goalkeeper Josh Saunders most recently to personal issues and have had to put back up Bill Gaudette, who hasn’t played since 2006, into the game. This has resulted in only 10 points in the Galaxy’s first 7 games.
This week it doesn’t get much easier for the Galaxy as Saunders is still out and reports out of LA indicate that Beckham and Keane have not traveled to Seattle with the team. The one piece of good news for the Galaxy is that they still have Landon Donovan and back up goalkeeper Brian Perk, who has more experience with the team than Gaudette. Without Keane and Beckham this leaves only Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan and ex-Sounder Pat Noonan to handle the scoring. For a team with 11 goals against and missing 40% of their scoring, this will be a hard task for a traveling Galaxy team.
In the last game for the Sounders the good news was the return of Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson. And, Eddie Johnson finally was able to capitalize and score his first goal as a Sounder. This week the Sounders would love to see the same for Fredy Montero as he is still scoreless in 2012. With a weak Galaxy team this would be the best time for some heroics from Montero.
With Beckham out of the midfield, look for the Sounders to control the central midfield while keeping it away from Donovan’s side. If Donovan is put in the middle it will be perfect for Rosales to take advantage of the wings. Either way the key should be to avoid their best player on the field. In the back, look for the defense to key on Edson Buddle and reduce as much space as possible for him to dribble into. Up front the Sounders just need to work it from the midfield and test the inexperienced goalkeepers early and often.
In front of a packed CenturyLink, in which fans are looking for the Sounders’ first ever win against LA in their history, the Sounders should have confidence in their ability to finally break through. Will it be a victory against the strongest line LA can offer? No, but it is still 3 points and a much needed boost in confidence against arguably the best team the Sounders have faced in their history.
I see the Sounders winning this game 3-2.