Steven Gerrard has gotten older, slower, and there are times when it seems like he does not care about what his team needs him to do. There's no denying most of the LA side is old and at times share this feeling. Of the attacking six (4-4-2), three of them will never even think about defending, Gyasi Zardes is bad at it, Sebastian Lletget is a serviceable winger, and Juninho has to do it all. Pair this with a backline that either is the best thing since sliced bread or hot garbage and a 'keeper who would be more mobile if he was replaced with a sack of bricks. The Galaxy are horrible at defending, so why are they #1 in the table?
Look at that typical attacking group, Robbie Keane, Gio Dos Santos, Lletget, Zardes, and Gerrard. They are good and each are very good at something different. Keane is a sharp shooter and can create. Dos Santos can pop up anywhere in front of goal, Lletget is a great winger, Zardes is speedy winger who plays with reckless abandonment and as a supplemental piece is perfect, and Gerrard who can thread a ball perfectly. They can rip a defense to shreds and the Sounders need to be cautious with how they play this group. With Marshall and Torres starting in the back, they go scoreless, with Evans and Scott, there's no guarantee this goes well for the Rave Green backline.
The only sure fire way to beat the Galaxy is three-fold:
1. BE DISCIPLINED! I can not stress this enough. We have to be disciplined not just in avoiding fouls and cards but in our focus. If we are lackadaisical or lose focus for a second, Frei could be in the middle of a nightmare.
2. Attack!!!! We want to make Captain Robbie Keane into General Armstrong Custer. He leads his men into battle. Plans to attack all day long and ends up a few goals down when the dust settles. The Sounders, if you didn't know, have a pretty good quartet as well. Ivanschitz and Valdez playing as wingers will need to put in their defensive shifts (Valdez I will argue is one of the best two way players in the league, so no concern there). They will be able to pin back the fullbacks and will create loads of space for themselves, now they just have to use it effectively. Clintfemi will get to play against a high backline that loves to play an offside trap. Martins is a lightyears faster than any member of the Galaxy backline and Deuce is crafty too, as long as the through ball is played as we know it can be, it'll be a very long day for Donovan Ricketts.
3. Win the midfield. They love to hold possession and have a midfield that can do it well. Gerrard may be lazy tracking back but with the ball he is still pretty good. Ozzie will be able to take him out of the match, or Juninho but not both. He'll be without Brad Evans, who I can almost 100% guarantee has to be the CB partner for the Flyin' Hawaiian. Gonzalo Pineda, Erik Friberg, Marco Pappa, Michael Azira, and Cristian Roldan available to be the partner. While I love attacking football, go with the safe pick and one Sigi's been making and starting Pineda next to him. Pineda and Ozzie are a tandem that can win that midfield. They the strength, knowledge, and work ethic to stop the Galaxy playing through the middle, the key is going to be can we attack through it ourselves?
No one major is injuried with just Todd Dunivant, Brian Perk, and Baggio Husidic. No one suspended but Juninho SHOULD be careful with his next yellow suspending him, but don't expect that. There was no midweek game for the Galaxy to be concerned about and nothing next week (just like the Sounders). They'll be at full strength and we'll be at Rave Green strength which I can only explain through this comparison. The Galaxy are Tylenol, we are extra strength Tylenol. With that, here are my projected lineups for this one. Oh and Sounders win in a goal fest, 3-2. I'll be there and that seems to help (so you should be too). Yes I am starting Leo Gonzalez, with Fisher's injury I think Sigi turns to the defensive stalwart against LA as opposed to the speedier Dylan Remick.