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May 26, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Sounders FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, preview and prediction

LA Galaxy LogoSounders FC (4-3-3) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (5-4-2)
Sunday, May 26, 8 p.m., The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
National TV: ESPN2 (Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman, Alexi Lalas)
Local radio: KIRO 97.3 FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)
Spanish TV: ESPN Deportes
Referee: Baldomero Toledo

KEY GALAXY PLAYERS

F/M Landon Donovan — As far as the Sounders are concerned, he never left, because the sabbatical didn’t affect this head-to-head matchup. He’s got two goals and three assists in six starts, and Seattle coach Sigi Schmid has made a point of noting how motivated the Galaxy star will be since he wasn’t called up for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Arguably the greatest player in U.S. soccer history playing with a point to prove? Could be dangerous.

F Robbie Keane — You can’t mention one in the dynamic strike force without the other. In fact, the two might be more relied upon when it comes to production following the trade of leading scorer Mike Magee to the Chicago Fire. He’s also got two goals and three assists. Schmid said, when on form, the Irish international is probably the best player in the league. He’ll be leaving for the national team after Sunday’s game.

D Omar Gonzalez — Well, there is one regular on the U.S. national team on the roster, at least, and that’s the 6-foot-5 center back. The fifth-year star has won a ton of honors already in his young career: MLS Rookie of the Year, MLS Defender of the Year, MLS Best XI, MLS All-Star teams. The perfect set-piece target is good for a goal or two every season and he doesn’t have one yet, so maybe he’s due.

KEY MATCHUPS

Servando Carrasco/Shalrie Joseph vs. Juninho/Marcelo Sarvas — The middle of the park will be missing a big one Sunday in Osvaldo Alonso, who is out with the groin strain. Carrasco been solid in four-straight starts, but not much of that time has come alongside Joseph. Both Galaxy mids are coming back from some injury concerns as Juninho is recovering from a kick to the shin and Sarvas was dealing with a back issue.

Eddie Johnson/Obafemi Martins vs. Gonzalez/A.J. DeLaGarza — The Galaxy forwards got their due earlier in the post, and now it’s about Seattle’s duo. EJ is up to four league goals on the year and Martins has scored in three-straight games (two off Fredy Montero’s team record). These guys haven’t started together since March, and much has changed since that day at Real Salt Lake. L.A.’s defense is traditionally strong, led by the old Maryland teammates.

Sounders mojo vs. Robbie Rogers lift — Seattle is one of the hottest teams in the league with three-straight wins and six-straight unbeaten. The offense in particular has been dazzling, with eight goals the past two weeks. Confidence is soaring, but the hosts could get a boost from a banner moment in sports history. If Rogers gets his international clearance, he could be set for a reserve appearance and thus become the first active and openly gay player to play in MLS. It could be a memorable night, for sure.

PREDICTION

What a collection of talent we could see on the field. And we’d better enjoy it, as guys like Johnson, Keane and Brad Evans will be leaving immediately afterward.

The Home Depot Center hasn’t been a friendly venue for the Sounders, who haven’t won there against the Galaxy since 2009 (an 0-4-1 run). And unless I’m mistaken, Seattle has only won one Sunday road game in franchise history at any venue.

Ultimately, I think we’ll see a pretty even game and some goals. Maybe even a Rogers appearance…

Sounders FC 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 2

SEA — Eddie Johnson (Brad Evans) 30′
LA — Robbie Keane (pk) 49′
SEA — Obafemi Martins (Mauro Rosales) 58′
LA — Landon Donovan (Hector Jimenez) 82′

*     *     *

What do you think? How do you see this one playing out?

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