It took a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps earlier this week for the LA Galaxy to break their winless run of seven straight league games. So the Galaxy can say they travel to Cascadia with a much-needed confidence boost as they take on the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.
Against the Whitecaps, the two changes Bruce Arena most needed to make were in front, where Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane made their return from international duty. The Galaxy had endured a frustrating month without the duo, and it was Keane who made his presence known right away, scoring a superb goal from the edge of the box to give LA the lead.
It created a much forgiving last few weeks, where the Galaxy inevitably looked like an average side without two of their key starters. In that regard, with the team almost nearing complete, there is the opportunity to hone a more attacking side. Half of the season has gone, and a positive run could help the Galaxy in more ways than just solidifying themselves in a playoff position. It means they can start to be seen as genuine contenders for the title again.
But as ever, CenturyLink Field is a tough place to visit. The Galaxy have only managed one win in their last seven visits to Seattle. The Sounders, though, have been anything but steady this season, and they currently occupy the final position in the Western Conference standings. What's more, Sigi Schmid's side has suffered two straight defeats at home.
You could understand if the Galaxy see the Sounders at their most vulnerable. Add to that the rivalry between the two clubs, and the Galaxy will see this as the perfect opportunity to take their shackles off and set the tone for what will be the second half of their season.
Seattle Sounders 3-2 LA Galaxy - October 28, 2015 - MLS Cup Playoffs
Erik Friberg's second half strike was enough to send the Seattle Sounders through to the next round of the MLS Cup playoffs, taking down the defending champions in the process.
LA Galaxy (4-4-2): Rowe; DeLaGarza, Steres, Van Damme, Cole; Dos Santos, Larentowicz, Gerrard, Magee; Zardes, Keane
Seattle Sounders (4-3-3): Frei; Mears, Scott, Marshall, Jones; Alonso, Roldan, Friberg; Kovar, Morris, Ivanschitz