Los Angeles Galaxy (6-0-1)
Head coach: Bruce Arena, third year
Last week: Won at Colorado 1-0 on Wed., Won vs. Philadelphia 3-1 on Sat.
Last year: 12-6-12, second in Western Conference (lost in MLS Cup final)
KEY LOS ANGELES PLAYERS
F Edson Buddle — Nine goals. 15 shots on goal. That is ridiculous. This guy is on a hot streak I’m not sure I’ve seen before. And he’s scoring his goals in so many ways (remarkably none from the PK spot). He’ll be a handful for the Seattle defense and one to watch.
M Landon Donovan — Hard to imagine perhaps the best American field player ever is coming into the game as the sidekick. But an MLS-best six assists is nothing to sneeze at. Buddle’s production is in part due to some great service and there’s no doubt Donovan can take over a game.
G Donovan Ricketts — Goalkeeper stats are often a reflection of the team’s success. And a 0.29 goals-against average and five shutouts are certainly impressive. But this guy is the real deal. Perhaps the best in the league and Seattle will have to earn its goals.
Seattle F Fredy Montero v. Galaxy D Omar Gonzalez/Gregg Berhalter — Personally I think Montero’s been put into a tough spot as a central forward in a 4-3-3. That means a lot more back-to-the-goal work and against physical defenders, like L.A.’s duo, it could be a long day. But I thought Montero’s work against Columbus was pretty dang good.
Galaxy D A.J. DeLaGarza v. Seattle M/F Steve Zakuani — DeLaGarza is a guy that likes to get forward, as seen in his first-minute goal against Philly. Zakuani will be pressuring him high in the 4-3-3 and also taking him on 1v1 in the attack, should be a fun one to watch.
Bruce Arena’s tactics v. going for the win — L.A. will surely want the three points, but more than that I think they’ll want to keep Seattle from getting three points. A four-point roadtrip for the Galaxy would surely be a success, so the battle between the road side playing deliberate or opening it up will be interesting.
This should be a good one, much like the Columbus game. Though I fear L.A. might be willing to go for the draw three days after its last game in Colorado and slow the game down.
In all the games this season, this has been the hardest to predict. No result would surprise me: L.A. win, draw or Seattle win. For that reason I’m going to have to go with the least exciting of the three.
Sounders FC 1, L.A. Galaxy 1
LA — Gonzalez (Donovan) 34′
SEA — Evans (Zakuani) 58′