Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy | MLS Match Preview
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs LA GALAXY
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
Oct. 25, 2014 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #316)
11:30 a.m. PT (NBC; TSN2)
The Supporters’ Shield for 2014 – and home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs – comes down to a one-game clash between Seattle Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field before an NBC Sports audience. Sounders FC scored twice late to pull back into a 2-2 draw when the teams met at StubHub Center last weekend, and leave the teams level on points. Sounders FC will claim the Shield for the first time in the club’s history with a win or draw, while the Galaxy must win to take it for a record fifth time.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Sean Hurd; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Drew Fischer
MLS Career: 128 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 31; pens: 42
SUSPENDED: LA: Omar Gonzalez (through Oct. 26)
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 14 goals … Galaxy 6 wins, 21 goals … Ties 5
AT SEATTLE (7 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 8 goals … Galaxy 3 wins, 10 goals … Ties 2
7/28: SEA 0, LA 3 (Zardes 8; Donovan 18; Ishizaki 36)
10/19: LA 2, SEA 2 (Husidic 46+; Sarvas 50 – Dempsey 69; Neagle 72)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, the back end of a home-and-home series over the final two weeks which concludes the regular season and decides the Supporters’ Shield winner for 2014. Sounders FC came back for a 2-2 draw Sunday at StubHub Center; on July 28 at CenturyLink Field, Landon Donovan scored once and added two assists as the Galaxy stormed to a 3-0 win.
- The draw on Sunday ended a three-game Galaxy winning streak vs. Sounders FC at StubHub Center. The Galaxy victory in the first meeting this season was their first in Seattle since 2011.
- The teams also met in 2012 in the Western Conference Championship, the Galaxy winning 4-2 on aggregate, including a 3-0 win in Carson in the first leg.
- Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. SEA: P14 W6 L3 T5 … Sigi Schmid vs. LA: P20 W6 L7 T7
LAST MEETING (MLS):
- The Galaxy struck in first-half stoppage time. Dan Gargan sent a cross into the area from the right flank, and while Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans headed it toward the restraining arc, Baggio Husidic collected the ball and slotted it inside the right post.
- The lead was doubled five minutes after the break. Landon Donovan's corner kick was headed away, but only to the top of the box, and Husidic gave a small, square touch to Marcelo Sarvas, who blasted the ball off outstretched goalkeeper Stefan Frei's hands and into the net.
- Sounders FC pulled a goal back in the 69th minute after Obafemi Martins got a touch to a DeAndre Yedlin cross from the right flank and Clint Dempsey had a simple finish at the far post.
- The visitors then hit for the crucial leveler three minutes later. Lamar Neagle finished a counterattack from a diagonal ball from Martins, driving home an angled shot from the right side of the box.
- The Galaxy finished the game a man down when Omar Gonzalez was sent off following his second yellow card from referee Ismail Elfath after a sliding foul on Gonzalo Pineda in the 88th minute.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez (ejected 88), A.J. DeLaGarza, Robbie Rogers - Baggio Husidic (Alan Gordon 73), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Landon Donovan - Robbie Keane (Leonardo 89), Gyasi Zardes.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez - Brad Evans (Marco Pappa 66), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett 86) - Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC took points from a second consecutive road game with the draw against the Galaxy. Sounders FC and the Galaxy are still tied for first place in the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 61 points from 33 games.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at CenturyLink Field. DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott and Gonzalo Pineda came into the team, in place of Jalil Anibaba, Marco Pappa and Micheal Azira.
- With the late comeback, Sounders FC must gain only a point from the season finale against the Galaxy to secure the first Supporters’ Shield in club history.
- “I was extremely proud of our team because we took goals at the worst possible time. We took a goal right before halftime and we took a goal right after halftime,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “I think we helped in both those goals with a deflection and a combination of errors in the first. I think we showed character.”
- Lamar Neagle scored his ninth goal this season, a single-season career-high in his fifth MLS season, surpassing his 8-goal total of a year ago. Neagle has four goals and four assists in the last eight games, dating back to the start of September.
- Clint Dempsey scored his 15th goal of the season, his fourth goal in the last six matches. He has six goals and five assists since Aug. 24, with a goal and/or an assist in eight of nine games over that span.
- “We take confidence in that if you keep playing and that if you keep moving and keep creating you are going to get you opportunities and I think we showed that,” Dempsey said. “... For the most part we played well and in the second half when we got the goals back we were the ones that kept pushing to try and get the winner. I feel good about our teams character and look forward to the challenge of the next game.”
- Obafemi Martins recorded a pair of assists, now with 12 for the season and his fourth 2-assist game this year. Martins has nine goals and six assists over his last 11 games, dating back to Aug. 20.
- After three consecutive matches starting in the back four, Brad Evans moved into a midfield role for the Galaxy match. He came off just after the hour in favor of Marco Pappa, who came off the substitutes’ bench following five consecutive starts.
- “[Marco] Pappa was gone and there were some issues and he couldn’t get his visa so he couldn’t play in Peru. So he had done five days of nothing so we decided to go this way and be a little bit more defensive,” Schmid said. “One of the reasons we subbed [Brad] Evans out was because he was sitting on four yellow cards so at time being down 2-0 we didn’t want to risk him getting a yellow card and missing the next game because we felt it was going to come down to the next game. We knew Pappa could come in and play well.”
- Said Evans: “Pappa comes on and we have two great build-ups and two great finishes within 3-4 minutes and a couple more after that. Wearing down their team a little bit and bringing on a couple of skillful guys and they make a big difference. Next week maybe we take that into consideration and with the home game and now we look at the biggest game in our club history so far.”
The LA Galaxy had their home winning streak put to an end after six games, but still extended their home undefeated run to 16 games with the draw. The Galaxy and Sounders FC are still tied for first place in the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 61 points from 33 games.
- Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made four changes to the team that fell 2-1 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Dan Gargan and Robbie Rogers came into the back four for Leonardo and James Riley, Marcelo Sarvas started in midfield in place of Stefan Ishizaki, and Robbie Keane replaced Alan Gordon up top.
- The Galaxy ended their home campaign with just a single loss – the 1-0 season-opening defeat by Real Salt Lake on March 8. They took 40 of a possible 51 points at StubHub Center hosted matches, the most in MLS this season.
- “Something's wrong, because a team like ours with experienced guys cannot permit this ...,” Marcelo Sarvas said. “We feel like a loss because it's 2-0, the importance of the game. I feel very much hurt, and, of course, you feel frustrated not only for this game, but what happened in Dallas. We could be here laughing and celebrating if we had [paid] more attention [to what we needed to achieve].”
- With the result, the Galaxy must win the season-finale at CenturyLink Field if they are to claim the Supporters’ Shield for a fifth time, the most of any team in MLS history.
- “In the end we realized that a point still keeps us alive so as frustrating as it is we are still alive for the Supporters’ Shield and now we have a tough task, but one we have already done this year and we have to try and replicate and win in Seattle next week,” said Landon Donovan. “It is not the end of the world; we will move on and get ready.”
- Said Baggio Husidic: “You can’t go into Seattle and hold back and expect to tie, it doesn’t really work like that there. The best way to go there is to go after them and to try and win the game, and it’s a good mentality to have; nothing to lose so I think it will be a lot of fun to play out there.”
- Husidic matched his MLS single-season career-high with his fifth goal, equaling the total he had with the Chicago Fire in 2010. Husidic also set a one-year career-best with his fourth assist.
- “Baggio [Husidic] played well, he had a good solid game. Obviously the goal was important for us, he did a good job laying the ball up for Marcelo, but a good solid performance,” said Arena.
- It was the second time in his MLS career Husidic had at least a goal and an assist in the same game; he had two goals and one assist in the 6-0 win vs. Colorado on Sept. 5.
- “Like I said, I think this team has been so successful because guys have been able to step up,” Husidic said. “Obviously Landon [Donovan], [Robbie] Keane and Gyasi [Zardes] are huge contributors on the offensive end and they’ve done a lot. Some of the other guys step in and get a goal and an assist and that’s a sign of a good team.”
- Marcelo Sarvas scored his third goal this season, his first since Aug. 23. He had a goal and two assists in his last two games.
- The Galaxy will have a selection issue in central defense after Omar Gonzalez was sent off late and will be forced to miss the finale.
- “It is a little harsh I think to send him off, but that is part of the game, it can happen,” said Donovan. “It is certainly going to affect us, not having Omar hurts, but it is an opportunity for someone else to play, and an opportunity hopefully for Omar to get some rest and regroup and get ready for the playoffs."