How ‘bout dem Sounders (2)!
Last night’s come-from-behind win against the Saplings (or, Timbers 2 but let’s make Saplings stick) was what we expect from anyone representing the Sounders crest. As Zach Scott so famously said, “We beat Portland.” I don’t’ care of it’s in the USL or the Magic Pro Tour, Seattle beats Portland. Good on you S2 for carrying the banner.
A team we have had more trouble beating is the Los Angeles Galaxy. Nightmares of the Galaxy toying before destroying us is deeply scarred in all Sounders fans’ memories. However the perception of fear is greater than reality. Seattle is 5-5-3, with an aggregate goals scored of 16-18, in their last thirteen matchups against L.A. This run stretches back to the beginning of the 2012 season and includes the playoffs. L.A. knocked us out of the Western Conference Finals twice during this span but we have more than held our own. In fact, the teams are practically dead even. Though L.A. has gotten the timelier goals, Robbie Keane’s ball-to-hand penalty and Marcelo Sarvas’s strike, the difference between these clubs is razor-thin and shrinking.
L.A. traditionally dominates Seattle in the midfield. This season the midfield has been weak and one of the major contributors to their sloppy start. Maybe Bruce Arena corrects his lineup against us (it’s happened before), but even without Pineda, L.A. should lack their usual edge.
As I said before I see Azira starting and Seattle playing defense-first soccer. They’ll trust that Clint and Oba can link-up for a few moments of brilliance, while the squad focuses on the clean sheet. However, if there’s any player in MLS who, through sheer guile, can madden a defender it’s Robbie Keane. L.A. will look to exploit Brad Evans and force him into a boneheaded mistake or three. SO who wins?
It’s cliché, but which team is more up for this game? You can bet your sweet Aunt Betsy that this game has been circled on the Sounders’ calendar since the schedule was released. I don’t listen to that “every game is that same” crap. No one liked how we missed our shot at the treble. Sigi always wants to beat Arena and Dempsey looks like the kind of a guy who holds a nasty grudge. The Sounders win ugly, 2-1.