When the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders take the pitch at 6:00 pm Pacific they are playing for third place and avoiding the play-in wildcard game. With the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake both getting victories over Chivas USA this week, gone are any dream scenarios where a top two finish is on the table. A victory here simply serves to stave off the two teams currently below LA in playoff seeding.
The Galaxy plan to don their third kits for the occasion, where they will trot out yet another lineup in a year with little lineup consistency. Juninho is suspended due to yellow card accumulation, and though LA can trot out a lineup similar to the one that defeated Chivas USA 5-0 it won't be identical as Greg Cochrane looks to start in place of an injured Todd Dunivant.
The midday match between the Whitecaps and Rapids is a must watch for Galaxy fans, as a Colorado loss there at least insures that LA will host their first playoff match. Certainly LA would prefer to host the first leg of a conference semi-final against Real Salt Lake on the weekend, but they did host the wildcard last season and went on to win MLS Cup.
Seattle looks to be without Obafemi Martins, and the fitness level of Eddie Johnson is in some doubt after being held from practice at one point this week. Djimi Traore also appears as questionable on the latest injury report.
A.J. DeLaGarza tried to get fitness back in El Salvador midweek, so it's likely if Omar Gonzalez is able to go he'll be paired with Kofi Opare or Leonardo. Such combinations on the back line worked to keep two clean sheets last week at home. Landon Donovan looks to go, despite suffering through ankle inflammation in the match against San Jose.
The Sounders are currently on a four match losing streak, and are in the playoffs due to San Jose waiting too long to warm up and Seattle going red hot for just long enough.
There's all to play for in Seattle, a victory earning some of the beleaguered starters a full six or seven days to rest up. With the conference semifinals a short affair, having the legs to make it through will be crucial.