Los Angeles Galaxy (10-1-3, best record in MLS)
Head coach: Bruce Arena, third year
Last week: Drew at Toronto 0-0
Last year: 12-6-12, lost in MLS Cup
KEY GALAXY PLAYERS
GK Donovan Ricketts — Seattle has had trouble scoring, and it won’t be easy against the 6-foot-4 stalwart in goal. The Jamaican has allowed just four goals all season, that’s a 0.29 GAA. On the other hand, the Sounders have given up four goals in, what, the last game and a half?
D Omar Gonzalez — This guy could be double trouble (offensively and defensively) for the Sounders, if you remember last game. Even taller than Ricketts at 6-foot-5, Gonzalez is an emerging talent that could be starting in the USMNT backline in 2014.
M Michael Stephens — Not sure if you’ve noticed, but this rookie has six assists already on the season. That’s more than anyone on the Sounders FC. Plenty of playmakers abound for this side, not just the big two, and this kid has become one to watch.
L.A. forward Edson Buddle v. Seattle’s backline — I’m penciling the league’s leading scorer into the starting lineup after returning from South Africa. Will Buddle be cooled off by the time off? The Sounders have been leaking goals recently…
Resting Landon Donovan v. Going for it — The USMNT star is surely exhausted after the World Cup and even mentioned having a slight hamstring knock. But with ESPN in town just for him, it’ll just be a matter of how much — not if — he plays. And will he make a difference?
Sounders now v. Sounders they want to be — Truthfully, it’s all about the guys in green (though they wore blue in this same game last year). If they show up and play like they can, this could be a competitive game. If not, it could get ugly.
Can Seattle win this game? That seems highly unlikely considering recent weeks. Can Seattle tie the game? Absolutely, if things go right. Can Seattle lose this game? Very easily.
This season is spiraling down for the Sounders, and I can’t see this being the game where it turns around. I also can’t see the visitors scoring a goal against that vaunted Galaxy defense and goalkeeper.
But, to be fair, my Sounders predictions for this season have been pretty bad.
Los Angeles Galaxy 1, Seattle Sounders FC 0
LA: Edson Buddle (Landon Donovan) 66′