Key for the LA Galaxy in this series will getting Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes active with Nick Rimando and Chris Schuler trying to shut that down. How likely are we to see that happen? I answered three questions from RSL Soapbox to about how LA views this upcoming series.
1) Robbie Keane missed out on the final match of the season to determine the Supporters' Shield winner. How much of a concern is there with Robbie Keane's health at the moment?
Players go through the season with nagging injuries, that's a truism throughout all sports and it certainly is almost expected of older players. Bruce Arena is the king of the bait and switch on injuries since MLS relaxed injury reporting (and even before then), but in this case I feel he's being straightforward. The risk of aggravating the chronic injury on Seattle's turf outweighed the slight benefit of finishing first overall instead of second overall.
By the way, we're now at a point where a player can be held with a nagging unknown injury and that's the most information we'll ever get. If he doesn't play in Sandy, Utah maybe then we'll learn what body part hurts? It's a bit crazy.
2) What is different about the Galaxy this year as opposed to when they met RSL in the Playoffs last year? Are the Galaxy more likely to succeed this year?
Last year's Portland and RSL were this year's Seattle and LA. It seems like forever ago, but I'm sure Salt Lake fans remember how though the PORvRSL battles were during the regular season and how everyone was waiting for the playoff series. That's what Seattle and LA have done this year, but the difference I see is that LA and RSL also had some intense battles this season but they were so long ago they might as well have taken place in another timeline.
The principles are all still there for both sides, except for LA's fullbacks who have made a full swap. Gyasi Zardes was just starting his coming out celebration last season, which has been full on through the 2014 campaign. Salt Lake still has Chris Schuler and Nick Rimando to frustrate LA's offense. It's going to be tight.
3) Is the team's motivation to win for Donovan in his last MLS season a net positive or a net negative? How much of a distraction is it?
Over the month of October it reached a point of critical mass, with the Donovan's farewell tour meaning every media outlet ever created reaching out for an exclusive and pregame ceremonies taking time away from locker room speeches.
The playoffs should be free of that. There's no one left to give Donovan a gift, and the look back is less important now than cementing the legacy. If you don't think that's motivation, see Beckham, David in the dictionary. this group has done this before.