Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy continue their 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs run with the 2012 MLS Western Conference Championship against the Seattle Sounders. Los Angeles are coming off a big 3-2 aggregate victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, while late second half heroics from Mario Martinez gave the Sounders a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium to progress.
The first leg is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. PT at the Home Depot Center. Here are 10 bold predictions for this important tie between the Galaxy and Sounders.
1. Los Angeles will strike first
The Galaxy will want to give their home fans a show because there is a chance that if the Houston Dynamo don’t pull it out against D.C. United in the East, this could be the last home game for them. So, Los Angeles will need to strike early. And they have someone who can get the job done in Robbie Keane.
Keane finished the 2012 MLS regular season with 16 goals and scored a brace on Wednesday against the Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. If Keane is on fire at the Home Depot Center, it will be difficult for Seattle to put out the fire.
2. No goals for Fredy Montero
Fredy Montero has failed to deliver in the postseason, with no goals to his credit. He will not score on Sunday night at Victoria Street because the back line of Sean Franklin, Tommy Meyer, Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant will be on him like hawks to prey.
3. No goals for Eddie Johnson
Another player that the LA Galaxy back line will be marking on Sunday is Eddie Johnson, who led the Sounders in MLS regular season goals with 14. Unfortunately for EJ, there will be no joy at Victoria Street as the defense will successfully reduce Johnson to zero goals on the night.
4. More Magee Magic
Mike Magee has been the lightning rod for the Los Angeles Galaxy, scoring at clutch times during the regular season and postseason. His goal in the 39th minute on Wednesday punched LA’s ticket to the Western Conference Championship. Magee gets on the score sheet on Sunday, and it’s also in the second half.
5. No goals or assists from David Beckham
David Beckham has also been struggling to get assists, let alone goals, in the postseason. The countdown to retirement for LA’s No. 23 goes on and Beckham will finish Sunday with zero goals or assists. All those unsuccessful cross are adding up to nothing, as usual.
6. Landon Donovan with at least an assist
No goals are expected from Landon Donovan on Sunday, but at least one assist is expected from a player who has earned the right to continue to play the game with the passion or walk away from it on his own terms. The captain of the Los Angeles Galaxy will get at least an assist.
7. Super Mario strikes again!
The aforementioned Mario Martinez was responsible for helping Seattle punch their ticket to the Western Conference Championship. And in spite of the result that will be called here on the View from Avalon (scroll down for Bold Prediction No. 10), Martinez will get a goal late in the second half against the Galaxy.
8. Under five saves for both keepers
This is a battle of one team’s 10 vs. another team’s 10 on the pitch. Not a lot of saves will be made by Seattle’s Michael Gspurning or Los Angeles’s Josh Saunders. Under five saves will be made by both keepers each.
9. Under 30 fouls and four yellows called
Unlike the messy second leg between the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United, the first leg between Los Angeles and Seattle won’t have Mark Geiger as the referee. But even if, by some stroke of the devil, that is indeed the case, it will be a fast-flowing, free-flowing game between two budding West Coast rivals. Under 30 fouls will be called and under four yellow cards will be issued.
10. Los Angeles takes the first leg
The LA Galaxy won’t be resting easy after the first leg of the 2012 MLS Western Conference Championship. Their margin may seem comfortable, but if you recall, Seattle literally impaled the Galaxy 4-0 in their last meeting at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 5. For the time being, the Galaxy will have the ascendancy over Sigi Schmid’s Sounders heading into the second leg at CenturyLink on Nov. 18.
Los Angeles Galaxy 3, Seattle Sounders 1