Judgment Day: Seattle Sounders at Los Angeles Galaxy. You’ve been looking at numbers, you’ve been looking at highlights, but now all you need to watch is two games. Starting tonight, Seattle and Los Angeles take to the pitch to settle the debate and prove their supremacy.
The Sounders can win the Shield today in Los Angeles. They can’t lose it. This isn’t an aggregate series, so I want Seattle to play with nothing to lose. Attack, attack, attack. We aren’t going to tie in Carson, we’ll win or lose. Our defense isn’t as good as L.A.’s, so we need a shootout. If we can open the game up and pull the Galaxy all out of shape, we can win away. The battle midfield is the heart of this contest. Luckily, Seattle may have reinforcements.
Seattle is a better team with the pedigreed midfielder Gonzalo Pineda on the pitch. He has a stellar soccer IQ, and his creative vision and quality enables him to execute both sharp attacking passes and solid defensive positioning. He should be back in Rave Green for the first time since he suffered an injury in garbage time to New York. Much has been made of Pineda’s similarity to Mauro Rosales: a veteran star who signed as a trialist and contributed much more than anticipated. Hopefully the similarities end now. Mauro always fell quiet in the playoffs. Too much wear and tear just beat his bag of bones down come October. He could never contribute when it mattered, but Pineda may be key to fulfilling all of Seattle’s hopes.
Pineda will be fresh as a daisy for this year’s stretch run. He’s been rested since his injury at New York on September 20th. When the Sounders had a grueling schedule, Sigi had no interest in pacing his stars (remember all that “he needs to rest players” anxiety from a month ago?). Well Schmid may have stumbled into dumb luck, as the ageing Pineda has had a month to recuperate from the last six months of soccer. If the Sounders can combine a peppy and ready Pineda with a hungry Ozzie the central midfield with be a force to reckon with.
Bold Prediction: I hope Marco Pappa gets the start. Brad Evans is the “safer” bet, as Pappa drifts in too much and robs Seattle of width. Evans is also more of a two-way mid, but I don’t care. I want fireworks. Despite the math and logic and science and all that other boring crap, I have a feeling about tonight’s game. I know this is somewhat harebrained, but I am hometown blogger. I get paid the big bucks to through it all on the line: The Sounders win 4-3.