Great teams do not let up when they are up by a comfortable margin in a two-legged series. They continue to plug away, again and again, until there is no doubt that they are the ones who will prevail.
Such is the case with Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy, who are not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they are heading into the woods: the evergreens of Washington State, and Seattle, where Sigi Schmid’s Sounders await them in the second leg of the 2012 MLS Western Conference Championship.
If you recall, readers, Los Angeles have been awful against Seattle on the road this season, with their last home game a 4-0 impaling. Such a lopsided shutout will not be tolerated in the Galaxy camp, as the players feel that they are playing the beautiful game with a chip on their shoulder.
But that was the regular season. This is the MLS Cup Playoffs. The postseason. A completely different tournament, and one where you earn the stars above your logo. Now Seattle are not out of it yet, and their home dominance makes a comeback possible. But the Los Angeles Galaxy are used to delivering in big matches and are boldly predicted to not let up on Nov. 18, 2012 at CenturyLink Field.
Now then! Here are your 10 Bold Predictions for the second leg of this 2012 MLS Western Conference Championship.
1. Seattle will dominate the stats
If there is one statistic that Seattle will dominate in, it’s the match stats. So look for the Sounders to dominate these categories: duels won, attempts on goal, possession, passing accuracy, and open play crosses. Let’s face it: Seattle is behind the 8-ball. There will be numbers forward all 90 minutes for the Sounders. The onus will be on the Galaxy to weather the storm because history has shown that the stats don’t matter in matches involving LA.
2. LA will score first on the counter
And when Seattle put number forward and throw everything and a few kitchen sinks at LA, the Galaxy will take advantage of the attack and score first in the second half. Mike Magee is Mr. November for one obvious reason: he scores clutch goals in November. Add one more to the list of lethal blows to the opposition for LA’s No. 18 next Sunday.
3. Another brace for Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane, truth be told, is paid the big bucks for a reason. Big names score big goals in big games. Keane is an example of this. He scored a brace in the second leg against the San Jose Earthquakes, he scored a brace in the first leg against the Seattle Sounders, and he will score another brace in the second leg next Sunday.
4. David Beckham on the scoresheet
The influence that David Beckham brings to the pitch is immense. It’s been that way for quite a while. And on Sunday at CenturyLink, David Beckham will earn at least an assist against the Sounders in an attempt to add to the cushion the Galaxy currently have from the first leg.
5. Landon Donovan scores for LA
In the first leg against Seattle, Landon Donovan earned an assist, but in the second leg, expect Bruce Arena to turn Donovan loose. The View from Avalon boldly predicts at least one goal from Donovan in the second leg against the Sounders.
6. No goals or assists for Fredy Montero
Fredy Montero just can’t hack it in the postseason. In the regular season, it’s a different story—he does the work, but in the MLS Cup Playoffs, his scoring futility, his scoring v virginity speaks volumes. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. There will be no goals or assists for Fredy Montero next Sunday.
7. No goals or assists for Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson should have started against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center in the first leg, and would have left his mark heading into the second leg. Johnson will need the entire offseason to get back into form and ready to hit home runs in the playoffs. In the meantime, there will be no goals or assists for Eddie Johnson on Sunday.
8. Over four saves from both keepers
This is a second leg in which great goalkeeping separates contenders from pretenders. Seattle’s Michael Gspurning and LA’s Josh Saunders will need to be in lockdown mode and prevent a number of chances from going in. Look for over four saves from both netminders at the CLink.
9. At least 25 fouls and three yellows
The yellow card accumulation will not carry over into the MLS Cup, so expect the play to be very chippy and physical. At least 25 fould will be called and at least three yellow cards will be issued. However, no one on either side will be sent off.
10. Los Angeles walks back to the MLS Cup Final
Los Angeles know that they must play like they are the ones in a pinch. The Galaxy must play like they have a chip on their shoulder. The goals will be flying. It will be one-sided. And there may be a refund or two along the way. The Los Angeles Galaxy walk to the 2012 MLS Cup Final. The only question will then be: do they stay home, or do they head to RFK? Stay tuned…
Los Angeles Galaxy 4, Seattle Sounders 0
Los Angeles Galaxy wins on aggregate 7-0