For the third time this MLS regular season, the LA Galaxy take on a resurgent Seattle Sounders side at StubHub Center on Sunday.
For Bruce Arena and the Galaxy, a win is all they need to clinch a spot in the playoffs. The Galaxy are currently second in the Western Conference standings and all three points against the Sounders would take the team to the postseason with three games to spare.
In all fairness, the Galaxy are completely deserving of a playoff spot. Despite struggling with injuries all campaign, the Galaxy has grown into the season. Sure, they have failed to see wins through on several occasions, but when coach Bruce Arena was building the team at the start of the season, he served notice that he wasn’t planning for his team to have a late-season collapse like last season. Now here we are with four games to play, and the Galaxy are within touching distance of one of their primary goals.
The Sounders also need a win here but for completely different reasons. Through relentlessness and grit, the Sounders have moved on from their horrid start to the season, and interim manager Brian Schmetzer has done a well-enough job to keep his team in the playoff hunt.
In the end, a point in LA would hardly be a disaster for the Sounders, but at this point, they need to start adding up points quickly. Sitting seventh in the Western Conference standings, the Sounders are five points off sixth place but with two games more to play. The problem is Southern California has hardly been a place the Sounders call ideal. Their last win in SoCal came in 2009, and they have just one win in their last seven games against the Galaxy.
Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy - July 31, 2016 - MLS
Sebastian Lletget’s late goal earned the Galaxy a point at CenturyLink Field.
LA Galaxy (4-2-3-1): Rowe; Rogers, Steres, Van Damme, Cole; Gerrard, Larentowicz; Boateng, dos Santos, Lletget; Keane
Seattle Sounders (4-2-3-1): Frei; Mears, Torres, Marshall, Jones; Roldan, Alonso; Fernandez, Lodeiro, Ivanschitz; Morris