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May 2, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Sounders FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, preview and prediction

LA Galaxy Logo.jpgSounders FC (4-1-1) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (3-3-1)

Wednesday, May 2, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.

TV/radio: KONG-TV 6/16, 97.3 KIRO-FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)

Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM

Referee: Hilario Grajeda

KEY GALAXY PLAYERS

M Landon Donovan — Reportedly the only Galaxy designated player who made the trip to Seattle. Has had some great games against the Sounders in the past, and has particularly impressed with his defensive commitment in those games. Especially dangerous on the counterattack, which could be a focus for the visitors.

M Juninho — The big names get a lot of the attention, but the Brazilian midfielder has arguably been the best L.A. player against Seattle in the past few years. He scored the winner in last year’s game here and had a phenomenal goal against the Sounders at The Home Depot Center back in 2010. He’ll be sure to test Michael Gspurning from distance a few times.

GK Bill Gaudette — With the news that starter Josh Saunders has been enrolled in the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program, and with backup Brian Perk still recovering from sports hernia surgery, the 30-year-old journeyman will likely get the call. He’s got some experience having played for Columbus, Puerto Rico and Montreal before joining the Galaxy this year. Expect some long delays on goal kicks.

KEY MATCHUPS

Mauro Rosales vs. Todd Dunivant — The Sounders captain said he expects to be OK to play and coach Sigi Schmid said he was fine yesterday, so I’ll guess he gets the start. After getting just 50 minutes Saturday, it should be more a matter of how his foot/ankle feels and not his fitness/knee. Dunivant is a steady, seasoned pro — perhaps the best left back in the league.

Edson Buddle vs. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado/Jeff Parke — The returning Galaxy forward hasn’t produced at his best since coming back to the league. He has one goal and one assist in seven games. But with Robbie Keane not making the trip, a lot of the responsibilities up front will fall on his shoulders. It won’t be easy against a stingy Sounders defense.

Galaxy dominance vs. Galaxy personnel — The one-sided nature of this rivalry (is it a rivalry if it’s been so one-sided?) is pretty clear. L.A. has a 5-0-1 record in MLS games against Seattle in the past two years. But how will the team be affected by the absences of David Beckham, Keane and Saunders. Can a less-than-full-strength Galaxy team come here and get a result against the motivated Sounders?

PREDICTION

Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said the Galaxy should be judged not on its slow start, but in the quality of its players. Well a lot of that quality didn’t get on the plane, so it’s hard not to expect that to affect the game. And the visitors aren’t especially known for their depth.

This is an opportunity for the Sounders to end a drought against L.A. and take the three points, and I expect them to do that. I think this game means a lot more to Seattle than it does to the visitors and pregame buildup has exemplified that.

I also think this is the night there’s a goal from someone we’ve been waiting to see get one. Surely it has to be Fredy Montero’s time, right?

Sounders FC 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 0

SEA — Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales) 21′

SEA — Sammy Ochoa (David Estrada) 70′

* * *

How do you see this one playing out?

COMMENTS

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