Hello stars. Please be stars. - Otto Greule Jr
There's a kind of sadness to getting crushed in leg one, in that you can not just forget about it. This is not a series ala the NBA, MLB or NHL where the total score matters not. Every single goal in that drubbing will stick with Sounders fans and buoy Galaxy fans.
Going down three-nil in leg one sucks. It drew tears out of my eyes as Two More Questions was composed (maybe not). If allowed Josie of LAGConfidential to gloat (she didn't). In this round the focus is on moving forward, but on moving forward with that last result influencing how the match will be played.
Expect little to no changes from the LA Galaxy unless they are injured (Donovan, Juninho, Buddle all questionable). From the Seattle Sounders FC you could see many changes and hopefully do. Sigi Schmid needs 100% from every player that got his side to the Western Conference Finals (6 PM ESPN, or just buy tickets).
SaH: Can LA get even more bunkery, or do they go with the standard system?
LAGC: Given LA's success off the counter in the last match, I expect LA to sit back and let Seattle come at them then make a break for it. Bruce Arena mentioned post-match that not getting a fourth goal despite all the chances for it made things on Sunday more difficult, so I do expect LA to try for that fourth goal when the opportunity presents itself. I don't expect LA to press to make that happen.
Seattle will have to press, given their situation, so the chances should be there for the fourth even if LA has ten men behind the ball.
SaH: Is there anything about Leg One that gives you cause to worry?
LAGC: Juninho took a knock and Landon Donovan went down with cramps, both of which give me pause. David Beckham notoriously hates the turf in Seattle, and Christian Wilhelmsson doesn't have the experience with how the ball will play off it like the other stars do. So I worry that the first leg may have taken a lot out of the Galaxy legs that now are going to face a Seattle team with nothing to lose. The Galaxy players on yellow card warning were able to get through the first leg without an issues, so that's a relief.
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LAGC: Since Seattle has nothing to lose, do they come out an a extra offensive formation like a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3? Why or why not?
SaH: Hopefully not. Part of the flaw was that they changd things up in the Playoffs. Rather than use what got them there (a 442/4231 hybrid) they switched to a central third possession system. Yes, a large part of that was brought about due to injuries and suspension. Ideally Sigi Schmid will have fewer of those to deal with on Sunday the 18th. Healthy and fit Seattle's combined offense and defense were better than all but the San Jose Earthquakes (hooray dropped points!). The biggest question will be along the left side where one of the following will start at left back - Gonzalez, Scott or Evans. Than there is left mid where the options are Evans, Martinez, Zakuani and Estrada. With that flank defending Franklin, Beckham and Wilhelmsson the Sounders must figure out how to slow that attack and take advantage of the spaces that open up.Expect a near standard Seattle lineup, one that will feature two top forwards, a top assist man and two of the better midfielders in defense.
LAGC: If Fredy Montero has another match like the one he had Sunday, who else can step up and get Seattle back in this series? What do they bring that he couldn't?
SaH: If Montero can't step up the miracle won't happen. It will take Montero and Eddie Johnson doing well for Sounders fans to go home happy. Johnson has proven this year that he isn't just a fast and flashy player who drifts out wide (he can still do that well), but also a force in the box who doesn't just win headers but wins games. His ability to head the ball was sorely lacking. You probably noticed all those crosses to the far post at about 8 feet or so up? It's as if the Sounders were missing a key element in their attack and forgot. Even if both of them have great games it may not be enough.But this is the time for Montero to show that he is a Donovan-esque player, not a DeRo. His numbers compare to those two, except at this point he isn't doing it when it matters which makes him like old DeRo. Seattle needs Montero of FIFA13 cover fame; the young DeRo that wins championships; the Landon that picks a team up and carries them to victory.Columnists and bloggers around the USA already have a Fredy Montero narrative. He needs to give them a Fredy Montero epic poem.