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July 4, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Sounders FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, preview and prediction

LA Galaxy Logo.jpgSounders FC (8-4-7) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (9-2-8)

Monday, July 4, 7:30 p.m., The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

TV: ESPN2 (Rob Stone and John Harkes)

Radio: KIRO 97.3-FM (Arlo White)

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

KEY GALAXY PLAYERS

M Landon Donovan — Arguably the best player in the league and has eight goals in somewhat limited time. Has the ability to create danger from all over the park and it’ll be interesting to see where he plays. With Beckham out I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take the majority of set pieces as well. Has been hot and cold against Seattle in the past.

D Omar Gonzalez — An athletic specimen at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds that I’m not sure the Sounders can match up with. Scored a goal in last year’s league meeting at the HDC so watch out for him pushing forward on free kicks and corner kicks. If a lot of Seattle’s attack is coming from crosses from the wings, he could be dominant.

GK Brian Perk — Lots of attention is on the third-string goalkeeper with Donovan Ricketts injured and Josh Saunders suspended. Listed as 5-foot-11 on the team website, but just 5-foot-9 on the league website. Will he be able to step up and hold his own in the spotlight? We’ll see.

KEY MATCH-UPS

Mauro Rosales vs. Todd Dunivant — L.A.’s left back is one of the most reliable in the league having played every single minute of all 19 games this season. He’ll have his hands full if Rosales pushes out to the right, as I expect he might. I look forward to see how he works with Montero in the offensive third.

Juninho vs. Osvaldo Alonso — The Brazilian midfielder has scored a pair of remarkable goals against Seattle in the last few games — each on long-range shots from outside the box. I think the Cuban might be the most important player on the field tonight. If he can dominant defensively and stay strong on the ball, the Sounders could escape with a result.

Seattle’s hot streak vs. the team’s nemesis — There might not be a team in the league that’s hotter than the Sounders right now. Three wins in a row. Six games unbeaten. But L.A. has been the boss of the rivalry recently with five straight wins. There aren’t many excuses available for the road team tonight if that runs to six.

PREDICTION

This is shaping up to be an exciting one and should be a lot of fun. This isn’t a natural, geographical rivalry, but there will definitely be some emotions that come into play. I think that’ll lead to some goals.

The Fredy Montero + Jabulani + 3rd-string goalkeeper is a combination that intrigues me. I think this could be a game for Seattle’s DP forward to shine, but we’ll see if the shots from distance are open to him. Coach Sigi Schmid said this is a chance for the Sounders to prove themselves.

Will they be up to it? I’m calling a tie…

Sounders FC 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 2

L.A. — Gonzalez (Donovan) 29′

SEA — Montero (Rosales) 50′

L.A. — Juan Pablo Angel (Donovan) 64′

SEA — Alvaro Fernandez (Erik Friberg) 71′

* * *

What do you see in this one?

COMMENTS

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