• Sounders seeking a higher seeding in playoffs
• Galaxy warming up for wild card clash with Vancouver
• Send your tweets to @KidWeil
It’s been a funny old season for the Sounders. Santos did for their Champions League ambitions with an emphatic second leg dismantling in Mexico, while Sporting KC stopped them winning their fourth consecutive US Open Cup. They’ve had a solid Champions League campaign again this Fall and are into the quarter finals with minimum fuss, but the pressure to finally deliver an MLS Cup has been compounded by disappointment elsewhere.
Eddie Johnson has had a good season in the end, breaking back into the national team and breaking the club season scoring record held by Fredy Montero, but he and Montero have sometimes given the impression of the town not being big enough for the both of them.
That said both of them have very happy memories of their games against the Galaxy this season - particularly the remarkable dismantling of LA in Seattle on August 5th.
As we mentioned LA know what they need to do to get to MLS Cup and chances are they’ll have to do it very differently than their run to MLS Cup last year, where a single game Western Conference Final and the knowledge that MLS Cup was being held at the Home Depot Center meant that having negotiated New York in the second leg of the Western conference semi-final (don’t ask) the stars were perfectly aligned for the Galaxy to win it in front of their fans, which they duly did. This year though, their woeful start to the season has meant that despite decent form recently, the only way they’re going to be hosting MLS Cup again this year is via a win today (for starters) and Houston Dynamo finding a way past Chicago, Sporting KC and DC or New York, for an unlikely repeat of last year’s final.
Stranger things have happened of course, but for that even to be a possibility the Galaxy have to beat the Whitecaps, beat the Earthquakes (with the second leg in San Jose), then beat either Seattle or RSL (again with the second leg on the road). And they have to score against Seattle - which they haven't done in their two meetings this year...
Not much home field boost in that mix then - but the Galaxy did get some small encouragement in that area this week, with news that for the Vancouver game at least, an agreement had been reached that an exception could be made to the usually stringent midweek noise regulations that place severe numerical restrictions on crowd attendances at the Home Depot Center. The stadium is in the middle of the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus, and everyone knows students love an early night.
First tweet - and Andy Gillooley fancies the Galaxy's chances, Here's his take on tonight
Welcome to the 323rd, and final, game of the regular season in MLS - which sees LA Galaxy hosting Seattle Sounders, in what could yet turn out to be a preview of the Western Conference Final (because 323 games is never enough...).
This being the final game of the regular season, the permutations for that scenario happening are a little less complicated than they were last weekend...or last month...or a few months ago, when the Galaxy were awful...or when Seattle went on a nine game run without winning...or the off-season, when brows were first furrowed at the phrase “unbalanced schedule”...or...
Basically, we know the line ups for the Western Conference playoffs, though there’s still a little bit of housekeeping to take care of today that will have a knock on effect for scheduling and in Seattle’s case, a potentially significant impact on their overall playoff hopes. A win today would take them from 7th overall seed to 3rd - giving them second leg home advantage in their conference semi-final against Real Salt Lake, and perhaps just as importantly, ensuring that should they manage to negotiate their way through the West they would be seeded to host MLS Cup against all but overall number two seed Sporting KC, of the potential Eastern opponents. A draw tonight could leave them with potential final trips to DC or New York, while a loss would mean a potential visit to Chicago. And while we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves with talk of finals, it is relevant that the Sounders are decent on the road, but rather more decent in front of 60,000 plus in Seattle.
The Galaxy, meanwhile, know how their path to a repeat MLS Cup starts - with a home wild card game against Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday night. Interesting to see what selection Bruce Arena goes with tonight, with that game and a possible semi-final first leg a few days later in mind (and Beckham and Donovan needing game time after injuries). Seems like only yesterday we were discussing Arena’s handling of his squad for the three games that made up their opening week. But those games, and the sight of David Beckham wading through ticker tape in Toronto, were actually one long season and a gazillion Chris Wondolowski goals ago.
I’ll be back shortly with more build up and team news shortly. In the meantime get your tweets and emails coming in to @KidWeil or firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s hope we get a good end to the regular season, before the playoff party begins...