After an embarrassing 5-1 exhibition defeat at the hands of Real Madrid, Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy will pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and prepare for Sunday's crunch-time encounter with Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash.
The Sounders are coming off a 3-1 victory over Caledonia AIA in CONCACAF Champions' League action and currently sit third in the MLS Western Conference with a record of 9-5-7 (34 points). As for the Galaxy, they are 10-10-3 (33 points) and can leapfrog over the Sounders with a victory on the road.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2. Here are 10 bold predictions for Sunday's blockbuster tilt between the Galaxy and Sounders.
Time and time again, a common theme for Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy holds firm: They concede more open play crosses, possessions, attempts on goal, duels won and better passing accuracy to their opponents.
With the crowd on their side, look for Seattle to dominate in these categories at home in front of what is expected to be another sold-out crowd at CenturyLink Field.
And another common theme for the Galaxy is Los Angeles conceding the first goal. Seattle will score within the first fifteen minutes of the match. Eddie Johnson has been the revelation for Seattle, with eight league goals to his name. Seattle's No. 7 will make it nine to his credit.
Seattle's top provider is Mauro Rosales. This season, the Sounders' No. 10 has six assists in MLS play. Rosales is a midfielder that is worth his weight in gold, and he will record two assists against the Galaxy.
It's been a quiet year for Fredy Montero in Major League Soccer, with only four goals in 18 games played. However, this will be the game in which he snaps out of his funk and brings home another, preferably off a Rosales delivery. Montero gets on the score sheet in the first half.
The Seattle Sounders are, on paper, an opponent that the Galaxy can handle. That's where the likes of David Beckham comes into play. Beckham leads the Galaxy in assists with nine in 2012.
While Becks earned an assist against Real Madrid, he will need to record more to keep Los Angeles in the game. Beckham will get two assists on Sunday against Seattle.
One of LA's top producers is Robbie Keane (nine goals this season for the Galaxy). The man can create space for himself, but he needs to be on his game and finish his chances. Keane will get on the scoresheet, but it will be in the second half of play.
All of LA's designated players will play key roles in the outcome of this match, and Landon Donovan is no exception. Donovan is tied for the club lead in goals, and he will be on the scoresheet for the Galaxy.
A big question mark heading into Saturday is who Seattle will start at goalkeeper. Andrew Weber acquitted himself in the Sounders 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA, but will he give up the role to Michael Gspurning (pictured), who held his own against the Colorado Rapids last weekend? As for Los Angeles, Josh Saunders is expected to start in goal.
Both goalkeepers are going to have it tough with making stops, and they will make under seven combined. Say hello to the firing squads, you netminders.
Whenever Seattle and Los Angeles—two proud footballing clubs—hit the field, there's going to be some pushing, some shoving, and some physical tackling. The onus will be on the referee to establish order, early and often. There will be over 18 fouls called and over three yellow cards issued. However, no one will be sent off.
Osvaldo Alonso was the hero last week for the Seattle Sounders in their 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. This time, he will score a late goal to deliver all three points for the Sounders in a high-scoring game at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle Sounders 4, Los Angeles Galaxy 3