On this day of celebration that the British chose to "tactically retreat" (ht to Arlo White), the Sounders will be facing the league leaders, the team that seems unstoppable, the team with the greatest American soccer player of this generation. The sport has risen enough that ESPN2 added it to their schedule. It is a game where a statement can be made, by the league and by both teams.
The Sounders though aren't positioned very well right now to make such a statement. Three staters (Hurtado, Alonso, Evans) are out with injuries, and Fucito still as well. On top of this neither Jaqua nor Vagenas are fully match-fit, and there was that Open Cup game against Portland.
What will Seattle do to overcome tired legs and health issues to beat the Los Angeles Galaxy?
Bunker and Counter - Wins matter so much more than pretty possession soccer, but at the same point we have seen in this World Cup that the Bunker & Counter can be pretty as well. With Seattle's issues on defense clogging the defensive third with an extra player should help quite a bit, and since Seattle is much stronger on the flanks, where most of the Galaxy pressure will originate this should help the attack.
Considering this is the style that LA has used themselves we could see a very cautious feeling out period at the beginning of the match, but as Seattle in ways mimics the US National Team in giving up early goals, this is a positive.
Use Ljungberg More - The Philadelphia Union, nor Freddie Ljungbeg himself, shut him down. It was poor passing in the central third that didn't get the ball to the side that the Swede occupied. He's one of the top talents on the team, but his best role is not making runs, nor finishing. His role is to have the ball at his feet, beat a man or two and slot the ball into the space created. He can't do that if his teammates ignore him.
Part of the problem were the near random clearences on the backline. Targeting those down the flanks so that either of Ljungberg or Steve Zakuani can chase the punt and pray should help get both more touches. Flank play is going to be key today. Both of the wingers will need to have a good repoire with Montero in a pivot role, and we should all just hope that Noonan puts a rebound in as if he were Jaqua (we don't expect him to start).
Mentallity - Or be as Winston Churchill. This is a parity league, and no team is going to dominate for a full 30 match season. The Galaxy have weaknesses - Age, wide defense. Seattle has an opportunity, but they can't play as they have. Today will be a day where the intelligence of the Rave Green will be tested. It will be a different match one that requires patience and precision in passing, and tight organization in defense.
Seattle has had a few great months in its short history, for the season to be rescued July will have to be one of those. In these next five games a stretch like the five that started the season would be acceptable (8 points in 5 for 1.6 PPM), but NOT good enough to relaunch the season. Nor will the start of 2009 be enough with its 9 points in 5. They need to copy the results from the end of 2009 with 10 points in 5, and to do that they will need to play a different style of game. It will be more patient, with moments of explosions. You could almost say I want the team to be Fredy Montero, and just be 5 minutes of brilliant. Be patient and explode on opportunities.
The time for attacking soccer is done. It is time to get results by any means necessary. Against teams like LA, Colorado and San Jose that will mean Bunker and Counter, and I don't really care.
TV - you'll have your choice on this 4th of July; ESPN2 with the national broadcast or KONG/FSN with Arlo White.
Be safe in your celebrations - Don't Drink and Drive, Don't blow yourself up
Watch the game, convince your friends and family to do it with you. Soccer is at a peak in this country, celebrate our nation by watching Keller and Donovan.
Listen to the damn coach concerning Penalty taking players - even if he's wrong, its better than just making it up.