Galaxy vs. Sounders Match Preview: LA Navigates Foreign Waters Without Two Bright Stars

CARSON, CA - JULY 04: James Riley #7 of the Seattle Sounders misses the header as Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy looks to play ball in the first half during their MLS match at The Home Depot Center on July 4, 2011 in Carson, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Tonight, two of MLS' best Western Conference teams over the last two years meet in a mid-week clash at CenturyLink Field, when the LA Galaxy take on the Seattle Sounders at 7pm PST. The Sounders have won two matches in a row, their last win a 2-1 victory over Chicago on the road. The Galaxy have looked better after early troubles, unbeaten in their last three matches, coming off a 1-1 draw to FC Dallas on Sunday.

The big story going into the match may be more about who isn't there than who is. David Beckham and Robbie Keane did not travel with the team for undisclosed reasons, and Josh Saunders has left the team indefinitely as he deals with a substance abuse issue. Although reported otherwise, Landon Donovan did travel with the club.

Dave Clark from Sounder at Heart has been kind enough to send over a stat board for us to peruse before things kick off.

Team Duels Possession Pass Completion Advantage Shots +/- Run of Play Dead Ball
Seattle 53.8% 48.7% -0.6 2.4 1 2
Galaxy 53.3% 50.7% -1.6 2.7 1 0

The stat highlighted with a team color is the team with the advantage. Overall, it's fairly close across the board. Rebounds and PKs are not counted in shot +/-. Run of play, and dead ball are separate +/- stats not included in the main shots stat. This means the Galaxy have broken even on set play goals, which Seattle has a two goal advantage.

What has been repeated often leading up to this match, is that the Galaxy are undefeated against the Sounders in MLS play over the last two seasons. The Galaxy had won five meetings in a row, as the Galaxy also won both legs of the 2010 Western Conference semi-final, but the teams played to a draw last Fourth of July, making it just an unbeaten streak.

LA has won in their last three trips up to Seattle, and have never lost to the Sounders in Seattle. The Sounders have not scored at home against LA in 306 minutes of play. The Sounders have knocked the Galaxy out of the US Open Cup each of the last two years, but those games were not at CenturyLink.

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