Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Sounders take aim at top seed Galaxy
by Ridge Mahoney, October 29th, 2010 12:34AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS] In just its second MLS season, Seattle (14-10-6) has established itself as a model franchise by qualifying for the playoffs again while setting a league attendance record. It can further burnish its image with a conference semifinal series against Supporters’ Shield winner Los Angeles (18-7-5), which thumped the Sounders twice in their regular season meetings.

GOALKEEPING. Whatever else happens in this series, the goalkeeping should be reliable. Kasey Keller and Donovan Ricketts each recorded 11 shutouts, with the edge in goals-allowed going to Ricketts (0.90) over Keller (1.15). Both will be tested often by the quality crossing and incisive through balls that are features of two offenses that scored a combined 83 goals.

Edge: Even.

DEFENSE. Despite a stingy defense (26 goals allowed, second-best in MLS) the Galaxy is unclear about who will be the playoff partner for centerback Omar Gonzalez, already among the league’s elite in just his second season. Veteran Gregg Berhlater has looked slow since coming back from injury, so the spot may go to Leandro or one of the two speedsters, A.J. DeLaGarza or Sean Franklin. If there’s opportunity, left back Todd Dunivant will whip in the crosses. Seattle’s central combination of Jeff Parke and Pat Ianni has improved during the season but will be severely tested by the Galaxy, as will right back James Riley.

Edge: Los Angeles.

MIDFIELD. Nathan Sturgis has stabilized a Seattle midfield jarred by the departure of Freddie Ljungberg and injuries to Brad Evans to mesh nicely with the busy, tough and smart Oswaldo Alonso. The searing speed on the flanks of Steve Zakuani (10 goals, 6 assists) and Sanna Nyassi (2 goals, 3 assists) will be trouble if the Galaxy are sloppy. To complement Landon Donovan (league leader in assists with 16) and David Beckham, the Galaxy has many options, yet only veteran Eddie Lewis, who is retiring at the end of the season, is truly left-sided. Dema Kovalenko and Chris Birchall are the destroyers, Juninho plays nice balls into the seams.

Edge: Seattle.

FORWARDS. Edson Buddle just missed the Golden Boot by scoring 17 goals but his production tailed off after the World Cup, and the other options aren’t inspiring: Jovan Kirovski (four goals), Tristen Bowen (two), and Mike Magee (one). Possibly, Donovan (seven goals) plays up front, but regardless of where he plays he needs time and touches. Fredy Montero (10 goals, 10 assists) terrorized Seattle’s opponents for two-thirds of the season but is pointless in the past two months; still if he’s sharp on the ball there will be chances for Blaise Nkufo (five goals), Zakuani, and others.

Edge: Los Angeles.

COACHING. Between them, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and Seattle headman Sigi Schmid have won four MLS Cups, and are well-steeped in playoff soccer. Both have done excellent work this season and are among the best tacticians in pressure situations.

Edge: Even.

REGULAR SEASON. The Galaxy handed the Sounders their worst defeat at Qwest Field, 4-0, in May, and won the return leg, 3-1, on the Fourth of July.

FORM. Seattle shook off an early season funk to win six and tie two of its last 10 league games. Los Angeles is a lukewarm 5-4-1 in its last 10 games and all four of those losses were at home.

PREDICTION: Galaxy, 4-2.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
WPS owner Borislow dies of heart attack    
[OBITUARY] Dan Borislow, the controversial owner of franchise MagicJack in defunct Women's Professional Soccer, died Tuesday ...
MLS: Three games to watch    
[PREVIEW: Week 20] A pair of important Eastern Conference games and the first showdown of the ...
Teen star Saucedo becomes first Utahn to sign with RSL    
[MLS TRANSACTIONS] Real Salt Lake has signed 17-year-old academy star Sebastian Saucedo from RSL Arizona as ...
Teenager Hyndman in Fulham squad for Jax match    
[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES] Emerson Hyndman, the 18-year-old grandson of former FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman, is in ...
Concorde Fire plays PDA Harkes for McGuire Cup    
[U.S. YOUTH SOCCER] Georgia's Concorde Fire Elite and New Jersey's PDA Harkes will play Saturday for ...
What They're Saying: Arsene Wenger    
"He is a player with a good eye and good technique and is very agile. He ...
Top 20 U.S. soccer crowds    
[CROWD COUNT] Wednesday's game between the LA Galaxy and Manchester United drew 84,632 fans at the ...
Galaxy II signs academy product Jaime Villarreal    
[USL PRO] Jaime Villarreal, younger brother of Jose Villarreal, signed with LA Galaxy II, becoming the ...
Falcao is back! Playing baseball    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Colombian Radamel Falcao, recovering from an ACL injury, was perhaps the ...
Freddy Adu's latest stop: Serbia    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] A decade after making his pro debut at the age of 14 with D.C. ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives