Earlier we opened up the pregame analysis with a look at the defensive five in Bruce Arena's current 4-1-3-2 system. Those five have been quite effective defensively, limiting their opposition to the second fewest shots and second best goals against average in the league.
But this match is a marquee crusher because of the Galaxy you do know. Even casual soccer fans will know at least two players from each team, and all MLS fans will know that the offensive sets for both LA and Seattle are stocked full of talent.
With the return of David Beckham and Landon Donovan to the states the Galaxy are resurgent. Their offense in the last seven has racked up 11 goals. I say racked up, but honest 1.57 Goals For isn't a great Average. Not with Beckham as a Central Mid, Donovan as the Right Mid and the ancient Eddie Lewis as the Left Mid this should be a potent offense. With MLS stars like Alan Gordan, Alecko Eskandarian, Edson Buddle and Mike Magee up front the Galaxy should be the 2 goal a match team that they've been the last three.
While yes, they are scoring two a match over the short stretch, but that has only been a short stretch, and shouldn't be seen as an indicator for this match due to the international performances of Landon (@Mexico)and David (in Europe) and their travel. Also with the Galaxy's attacking five there is significant age.
The game will come down to a few key matchups
Zakuani & Gonzalez v Donovan and DeLaGarza - This left side v right side should have the advantage for Sounders as the Rave Green are faster, and overall stronger on the attack, but with Donovan not coming back defensively much a turnover on either Steve or Leo's part could equal a breakaway for the Galaxy and an off-balance. As always the crosses sent in must be put on net and test Ricketts/Saunders. Without Hurtado the speed in Seattle's centerback pairing will be lacking, so Landon will likely easily capitalize on any mistake. Zakuani will have to show enough of a threat that Landon gets forced to retreat.
Evans v Beckham - With Brad playing a classic box-to-box central midfielder and Beckham being more effective from distance this will put both in the Center Circle quite a bit. Brad must play the model/actor/player tightly. Don't let him wind-up for one of his patented not-really-a-set-peice kicks. As soon as Evans gets the ball off of the Englishman he needs to push up the field since LA works with 5 on Defense and Seattle only has 4 dedicated (unless either CM or wingback gets involved).
Graham and Marshall v the Set Play of Galaxy - The Galaxy score on set-plays, with the best kick taker in the league and probably one of the best in history on their club, NO space can be allowed in the box. It will be up to Marshall, and maybe Taylor Graham (now off the DL) to command the area, particuarly in the air for Alex Gordon. While the fleet Alonso and fast wingbacks of Riley and Gonzalez will do their part the Centerback duo has to stand tall and strong. They certainly won't be winning foot races, so it will be their experience and height that must shine. Not giving up stupid fouls within 45 yards of Keller is a good idea too.
You likely already read it but Freddy Montero has been sold outright to the league rather than just loaned. Adrian is also working on the same deal for Hurtado and likes the Depo Cali youth system. Great finds by Adrian.
Ljungberg really has to stop blaming the referees, he even says so himself, and then promptly blames them.
... stuff that happens here in America "would be a straight red in Europe. They wouldn't be allowed to play more of the game."
"But that's part of the game and I just have to trust the referees. There's nothing I can do about it," he said. "But of course it's sad when you miss a couple of trainings a week because you've been kicked and there's bruises and you can't move. That's part of the deal at the moment."
With Montero falling back to 5th in the Productivity Standings let's look at the Galaxy Numbers
Donovan 1.53 (3rd in League)
A win in LA would be the first win on grass for the Sounders (they need to figure that out to get a Cup) and bump the Rave Green back into the 80%+ chance to make playoffs.
Lastly, Donovan has Swine Flu (he tested positive when in Miami PRIOR to the Mexico match). It isn't likely at this time to effect the match.