by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. We know the task at hand to get into the MLS Cup. It can be done, but it’s going to require both the Sounders and our supporters pulling on the ropes to get it done. If you can’t make it down to Carson for the match, link up with the Green Family here at home at a viewing party near you. As our boys in Green head once more into the breach, raise your glasses in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!
The Good News
The Treecutters are currently in the last Western Conference MLS Cup berth, six points clear of us on 41 points. Sounders FC have six matches remaining, including today’s, which allows us the possibility of earning 18 points in the standings. Roman Torres is back in the team. With he and Chad Marshall as our first-choice centre-halves, we should be well squared away in the defence department. Young Jordan Morris scored a clutch goal in Seattle last weekend to help deliver a needed victory against the visiting Vancouver side. Morris continues to grow and gain confidence playing first-team football for us. This can only be a good thing. Ever since he first pulled on his Rave Green shirt, Lodeiro has made us a better team. With Roldan, Morris, and others emerging as legitimate scoring threats, Lodeiro should have plenty of room to create quality chances at goal for both himself and his teammates. We defied the run of previous results with a win against Vancouver last match. The statistics favoured them, yet we won anyway. Although there is always hope to defeat an opponent against the run of form, this hope should be mitigated by the fact that Los Angeles are nine places above Vancouver in the league table, and that they have not yet lost at Avalon Boulevard this season.
The Bad News
Seattle are currently 14th in the league table, LA are 6th. Of our 20 meetings against LA in the league, we have won only four times. At Avalon Boulevard we have only won once in nine meetings (1-3-5). LA have lost only once in their last 16 matches (6-9-1). Sobering. In their last five matches, LA have won twice and drawn three times (2-3-0). Galaxy have gotten back their prodigal son with Landon Donovan renouncing the retired life to lace up his boots and have another go-round. Not really great news for us – or for any other team in the league for that matter. LA are unbeaten at home in the league this season (8-7-0). Sounders FC have performed abysmally on the road this season in the league (2-4-8). LA currently hold the best Goal Difference in the league at +17. Seattle’s Goal Difference is -3. Robbie Keane of Los Angeles and Eire, has scored seven goals against us in the league all-time. I think only Wandolowski of San Jose and United States has scored more against us (10 goals).
This is the last of our three league meetings with Los Angeles this season. Both of the previous matches were played in Seattle. We lost the first 0:1 on a Robbie Keane goal. We drew the second 1:1 with Roldan opening his account against LA, only for Lletget to level on 78 minutes. LA have knocked us out of MLS Cup three times, and out of the US Open Cup once. LA have won MLS Cup five times. We have yet to win one. LA have won 12 major domestic titles and we have won five. So no love lost between us and them. Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe has appeared 32 times for this, his only MLS club. The 27 Year-old Rowe’s career has been spent entirely in the NCAA and American domestic professional leagues. Rowe helped Los Angeles to a 2014 MLS Cup victory. His teammate Dan Kennedy has more experience keeping goal, but Rowe featured last week in the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw at Kansas City making me think he is the more likely candidate to start. The back four for LA in last week’s match featured Robbie Rogers, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, and Ashley Cole. The 29 year-old Rogers, other than two short stints in Britain for Leeds and on loan at Stevenage has played entirely US domestic football. Rogers has 18 caps and two goals for the United States. The 25 year-old Steres is also a US domestic product never having played out of the country. The 32 year-old Van Damme has had a long career in European football. The Belgian national team defender (31 caps) has played the bulk of his club football at RSC Anderlecht and Standard Liège, but his career includes matches with Ajax, Southampton, Werder Bremen, and Wolverhampton. Cole (35 years-old) has a wealth of footballing achievements stockpiled during his 19-year career. Playing almost his entire career at Arsenal and Chelsea, he also saw brief stints at Crystal Palace, and AS Roma. Cole has 107 caps for England. The midfield for LA in last week’s match featured Raul Mendiola, Jeff Larentowicz, Sebastian Lletget, and Emmanuel Boateng. The 22 year-old Mendiola, listed as a forward, has played his entire career in US domestic football with the Galaxy. This is noteworthy, as Mendiola was born in Mexico. Mendiola helped LA to win the 2014 MLS Cup. Larentowicz, at age 33, is a veteran of US domestic football. He has played over 300 matches, scoring 38 goals, for four MLS clubs. The Pasadena-born Larentowicz has won an MLS Cup, a North American SuperLiga, and a US Open Cup. The 24 year-old Lletget we know all too well as his two late goals in the US Open Cup this year effectively torpedoed the Sounders’ out of the competition. Although developed by Sporting Santa Clara and West Ham United, the native San Franciscan has only played first-team football for one club – the Galaxy. His relative inexperience hasn’t seemed to hamper his effectiveness in any way. Lleget has played 11 times for USA youth teams, but has yet to feature in the senior side. Boateng is also listed as a forward. The Ghanian-born Boateng has only joined the Galaxy this season, but his experience includes playing 37 times for Helsingborgs IF of the Swedish League. Strikers featuring for LA last week were Robbie Keane and Alan Gordon. Keane’s resumé is quite well known. The Irish marksman has 146 caps and 68 goals for Eire. Keane’s club career has mostly been played at Tottenham, Wolverhampton and Los Angeles, with spells at Coventry, Inter Milan, Leeds, Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham, and Aston Villa. Keane has appeared nearly 600 times in his professional career scoring well over 200 goals. Keane has earned the ire of the Sounders’ faithful as he has scored seven times against us in the league. The 36 year-old Keane’s list of honours is long and includes three MLS cups, an English Football League Cup, and MLS Supporter’s Shield, and a Nations Cup. Gordon, although exclusively a domestic footballer, has played for four different MLS Clubs. During his career the 34 year old Long Beach native has over 250 professional appearances with over 65 goals scored. Gordon’s teams have won five major titles. Landon Donovan needs no introduction to devout supporters of the US National Team. Donovan is one of the Galaxy players most likely to come off the bench. Nearly 400 pro appearances and over 155 goals scored. Donovan holds 157 USA caps, and has 57 international goals – more than anyone else that has ever played for America. Although the bulk of his experience has been with Los Angeles and San Jose, the 34 year-old Donovan has had stints at Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, and Everton. Donovan has won six MLS Cups, two MLS Supporter’s Shields, one US Open Cup, four CONCACAF Gold Cups, a FIFA Confederations Cup runner-up medal, and a laundry list of individual honours. The Galaxy feature a wealth of experience mixed with a bit of youth and skill. In short, they are formidable opponents demanding our best effort and concentration. In our 20 all-time league meetings both sides have over 30 bookings and have seen four Sounders and three Galaxians sent off. Buckle in for a woolly one.
Galaxy Defender, David Romney played for both USF (NCAA) and San Francisco City FC of the PDL. Defender, Daniel Steres was once selected by Sounders FC in the Waiver Draft, but never appeared in the first team. Forward, Alan Gordon, played 28 times for the A-League iteration of arch-rival Portland Timbers. Midfielder Sebastian Lletget was born in San Francisco, and once played for Sporting Santa Clara. Lletget is now better known for his two goal demolition job that sent us crashing out of the US Open Cup this year.
Selections for Last Match
Los Angeles: Rowe, Rogers, Steres, Van Damme, Cole, Mendiola, Larentowicz, Lletget, Boateng, Keane, Gordon.
Bench: Kennedy (gk), DeLaGarza, Romney, Donovan, Garcia, Husidic, dos Santos.
Seattle: Frei, Mears, Torres, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Fernández, Lodeiro, Ivanschitz, Morris.
Bench: Miller (gk), Fisher, Valdez, Friberg, Gómez, Scott, Anderson.
Los Angeles –
OUT: Zardes (broken foot).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Gerrard (hamstring)
OUT: Kovar (broken clavicle), Dempsey (irregular heartbeat).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Evans (calf).
None suspended this match.
(LA) Van Damme and Larentowicz out next booking.
(SEA) Joevin Jones and Alonso out next booking.
Los Angeles defender, A. J. DeLaGarza was born in Maryland but plays his international football for Guam (10 caps, 0 goals).