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
Agudelo trial at Wolves ends    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Juan Agudelo's search for a club continues as English League Championship club Wolves passed ...
MLS clubs in position to outdo Mexican rivals    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The group stage of the Concacaf Champions League concludes with Week 6 with ...
What They're Saying: India Premier League    
"Heaven has gained a defensive midfielder; apart from the hard tackles and the breaking up of ...
Bielsa sits on cup of coffee    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Not everything is going right for Marseille's coach Marcelo Bielsa, whose ...
U.S. under-14 girls national team roster    
[CARSON CAMP] Head coach April Kater has called up 35 players (with one more to be ...
What They Saying: Emilie Jacquot    
"It is unanimously positive. The FIFA scandal had an excellent impact on our brand awareness." -- ...
On-fire Lee Nguyen hits golazo against Dynamo    
[VIDEO PICK: MLS Goals of the Week] Lee Nguyen scored both goals in the New England ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] No. 1 Washington jumped out to a 2-0 lead at San Diego State after ...
'Caps qualify for first time, three U.S. spots taken    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Vancouver qualified for the Concacaf Champions League for the first time when Saturday's ...
Soccer America Women's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] A goal in each half from Michaela Dooley and Stuart Pope gave Kentucky a ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives