Big game in Carson this Sunday as your Seattle Sounders square off against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference Finals. All the time off and the relative anticlimaxity (neologism!) of the Dallas series, had me lulled into a false sense of serenity. It wasn’t until I started researching this post that the butterflies began welling up in the guts. The Sounders are in the Conference Finals. They are so close to the Treble but have to play Los Angeles. It had to be Los Angeles. I am terrified it’s Los Angeles. We can beat Los Angeles.
The Sounders proved in the last L.A. series that they are a different squad from seasons pat. They didn’t play like 2012 Sounders, the 2013 Sounders or even the 2014 Sounders. This Sunday in SoCal the Sounders need to stick to their new and improved formula: play to zero and spring a timely goal or two.
Tactically, Seattle has overthrown themselves completely. The team’s undergone a significant role reversal when you consider how they got to their franchise-record 20 wins and 64 points. From day one, Seattle simply said we’ll score more than you. But ever since the two drubbings we took at the hands of Dallas and New York at the end of September, it seems the team has put a real focus on playing defense-first soccer.
In the seven games since those back-to-back losses (including the playoffs), the Sounders have only conceded seven goals. A single goal-against a game is a huge improvement from the 1.5 per we were yielding up to that point. Averaging 1 goal against can win you MLS Cup.
Seattle’s gone 3-1-3 in this run as opposed to 17-9-3 before it started. Our hellbent-for-leather style earned us lots of wins but also resulted in a proportionality higher number of losses. Hell we had only three ties through 29 games and now have three in our last four. The team is committed to getting results.
Most surprisingly, despite the appearance of Seattle’s veritable bottomless font of goals drying up, the Sounders scored thirteen in their recent run. That’s good for a 1.8 goals-for average. I’ll ride 1.8 GF and 1.0 GA all the way to MLS Cup.