Galaxy-Sounders Preview

While the Supporters’ Shield is out of reach for the

playoff-bound Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders, either team

can avoid the knockout round with a victory in the MLS

regular-season finale Sunday night in Seattle.

Los Angeles (15-11-7) lost its chance at finishing with the

league’s most points after a scoreless draw with San Jose last

Sunday, though it solidified the club’s record 15th postseason

berth.

The Galaxy occupy third place in the Western Conference with 52

points, one more than Seattle (15-12-6), which is tied with

Colorado for fourth. The teams finishing fourth and fifth will play

a knockout match, with the winner advancing to play the top

seed.

Los Angeles can avoid the knockout round with a victory, or even

a tie as long as Colorado doesn’t win at Vancouver on Sunday

evening. Anything but a victory for the Sounders will leave them no

higher than fourth.

The Galaxy played Thursday but used mostly a reserve lineup in a

4-0 loss to Isidro Metapan in CONCACAF Champions League play.

Landon Donovan sat out that game after accounting for two of the

Galaxy’s 12 shots last Sunday while still nursing an ankle

injury.

“Well, we clinched a (playoff) spot, but we wanted more and I

think we feel like we let an opportunity slip through our hands,”

Donovan told the team’s official website. “I think the expectation

is to make the playoffs and we had the chance to do something

more.”

Los Angeles has successfully navigated different paths to win

the MLS Cup each of the last two years, capturing the Supporters’

Shield in 2011 before a fourth-place finish in the West last

season.

The Sounders lost to the Galaxy in the 2012 conference finals

but won their home game in that series, and Los Angeles has lost

its last three visits to CenturyLink Field.

Seattle feels fortunate just to be headed back to the playoffs,

having lost four in a row and going winless since Sept. 13.

“It’s not ideal. We can turn it around now and win six or seven

games and we’ll be happy,” goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann told the

team’s official website. “Once you’re in, you’re in and nothing

else matters.”

Seattle has scored no more than one goal during each leg of a

six-game winless streak, including a 2-0 defeat at Dallas last

Saturday.

Clint Dempsey has yet to score despite 29 shots in eight games,

but the Sounders should be bolstered by leading scorer Eddie

Johnson returning after missing two contests with a groin injury.

Obafemi Martins, tied for second on the club with eight goals,

could also return after being sidelined two games by a similar

issue.

Robbie Keane has six goals and two assists in his last four

games versus Seattle after posting a hat trick with an assist in a

4-0 home victory May 27. The teams played to a 1-all draw Sept.

21.

Donovan has no goals and one assist in his last nine matchups

with Seattle.