Riding a league-best three-game winning streak, Sounders FC will visit two-time defending MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy on Sunday night in a nationally televised match on ESPN2. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. PT at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Sunday's match will be televised live on ESPN2 with Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas calling the action. The match can also be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call.
Sounders FC (4-3-3, 15 points) is the hottest team in MLS, winning its past three matches and extending its unbeaten run to six straight games (4-0-2). Seattle posted back-to-back four-goal games in home wins over San Jose and league-leading FC Dallas, marking the first time in club history that the team has scored four goals in consecutive matches.
Forward Eddie Johnson earned MLS Player of the Week honors following his two-goal performance last Saturday, and strike partners Lamar Neagle and Obafemi Martins added goals in two straight games.
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Seattle currently sits sixth in the West, one point behind fifth-place Colorado with at least one game in hand on every conference opponent.
The scene now shifts to Southern California where Sounders FC will face the LA Galaxy for the first of three meetings this season. The game will be a rematch of the 2012 Western Conference Championship that saw the Galaxy advance past Seattle, 4-2 on aggregate. Sounders FC won both home matches last season by a combined score of 6-0, but dropped the lone visit to the HDC, 1-nil.
The LA Galaxy (5-4-2, 17 points) are fourth in the West but have lost three of its past five, including a late 1-0 loss at New York last Sunday. Mike Magee's six goals ranks second in MLS, and both Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan have returned to the Galaxy lineup.
Following Sunday's match, Sounders FC will play a (Wednesday) U.S. Open Cup game (at the Tampa Bay Rowdies).
Sounders FC will return to The Home Depot Center for its second straight regular-season match when they visit Chivas USA on June 1. The two sides will also play each other in MLS Reserve League action on June 2.
Seattle's next home match is June 8 versus the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second Cascadia Cup contest of the season. The seating for the match will be expanded to include the upper bowl at CenturyLink Field, and is the first game of the 4-match ticket package, which also includes home matches versus the Portland Timbers on August 25, Real Salt Lake on September 13 and the Los Angeles Galaxy on October 27.
Sounders FC 4-Match ticket packages are available by phone at 1-877-MLS-GOAL or online at www.SoundersFC.com. Single-match tickets to Sounders FC home matches are available through SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster Outlets, the CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 800-745-3000.
Point Taken: Seattle Back in the HuntSeattle's recent run of form has catapulted the club back into the Western Conference playoff picture. After spending the first nine and a half weeks of the season last in the West, Sounders FC now sits sixth, one point behind fifth-place Colorado Rapids. The 1.5 points per game puts Seattle fifth in the conference and tied-ninth overall. Having played the fewest games in MLS, Sounders FC still has two to four games in hand on the top six teams in MLS.
Points Per Game Standings - Western ConferenceTeam PPG Record (points)FC Dallas 2.00 7-2-3 (24 points)Portland Timbers 1.58 4-1-7 (19 points)LA Galaxy 1.55 5-4-2 (17 points)Real Salt Lake 1.54 6-5-2 (20 points)Seattle Sounders FC 1.50 4-3-3 (15 points)
On a Run: Unbeaten Streak Nearing Club RecordSounders FC has been among the league's hottest teams over the past two months. With Saturday's win over FC Dallas, Seattle extended its unbeaten streak to six games (4-0-2) and has won three straight league matches for the first time in over one year. The three-game winning streak is currently best in MLS, and the six-game unbeaten run is tied with New York (5-0-1) for the second-best active streak, four short of Portland's 10-match streak (4-0-6). Only two teams (Portland and Dallas) have had longer unbeaten streaks this season, and it's the ninth time in club history that Seattle has gone undefeated in six or more consecutive matches.
Four Scores: Back-to-Back Four-Goal GamesFor the first time in club history, Sounders FC scored four goals in consecutive matches. The eight-goal output over a two-game span matches the club record set last season when Seattle scored twice versus Vancouver (August 18) followed by six goals at Chivas USA (August 25). The team record over a three-game period is 10 goals (August 27-Sept. 17, 2011), which Seattle could match on Sunday with two tallies versus the LA Galaxy. Over the past two weeks, Seattle has converted eight of their 17 shots on goal for a scoring rate of 47-percent. Sounders FC has now scored at least one goal five straight matches, including three multi-goal games.
Sunday on ESPN2Sunday's match against the LA Galaxy will mark two firsts for Sounders FC this season. The match is the team's first Sunday game of the season, and five more are on Seattle's schedule. Overall, Seattle is 6-6-5 in regular-season games on Sunday, but have not yet won a Sunday road match (0-6-3). The match will also mark the team's first ESPN game of the season, and seventh including CONCACAF Champions League and Desert Diamond Cup. Sounders FC will play 13 regular-season matches on national television this season, including eight of the final nine games.
Los Angeles Series NotesThe LA Galaxy lead the all-time series at 4-3-2, but the two clubs are even in goals scored at 10-10. Seattle went 2-1-0 against the Galaxy in 2012, including 2-0 and 4-0 home wins before falling, 1-0, in the regular-season finale on the road. Los Angeles defeated Seattle, 4-2, in the 2012 Western Conference Championship as Sounders FC could not overcome a 3-nil first leg loss. Juninho leads all active players with two goals in the series, while Landon Donovan leads the Galaxy with four assists and Mauro Rosales leads Seattle with three assists.
About LAThe Galaxy (5-4-2, 17 points) sit fourth in the Western Conference, seven points behind league-leading FC Dallas. Their plus-seven goal differential leads the league, but LA earned a result just once (1-3-0) in the month of May. The Galaxy have gone 3-1-1 at home this season and have allowed just two goals in five games, but lost in their last home match, 1-0, to the Houston Dynamo on May 5. Coach Bruce Arena's club currently ranks in the league's top 10 in goals (17/T-4th), assists (17/T-5th), shots (151/10th), shots on goal (52/9th) and corner kicks (79/2nd). The two-time defending MLS Cup Champions lead MLS with 245 points (70-34-35) since the beginning of the 2009 season and are one of three teams (Seattle and Salt Lake) to qualify for the playoffs the past four seasons.
Galaxy NotablesThe Galaxy have been led this season by Mike Magee, who is tied for second in MLS with six goals but has been held scoreless since April 27. Irish forward Robbie Keane has been one of the most dangerous attackers in MLS since entering the league late in the 2011 season. The 32-year-old has two goals and three assists this season after notching 16 goals and nine assists in 2012. Landon Donovan, who ranks in the top five all-time with 126 goals (3rd) and 111 assists (4th), has two goals and three assists since making his 2013 debut on March 30. The American international recently scored a goal and had two assists in a 4-1 win over Philadelphia on May 15. Omar Gonzalez, the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, anchors a back line that has allowed just 10 goals this season (tied-third in MLS). The 24-year-old has played every minute of his 10 starts and recorded an assist in the season opener. Newcomer Carlo Cudicini starts in goal and is tied-fifth with a 1.00 goals against average with three shutouts.
SEA/LA ConnectionsSeveral Seattle and Los Angeles players attended UCLA together. David Estrada (2006-09) and Andy Rose (2008-11) played with the Galaxy's Brian Perk (2006-09), Brian Rowe (2007-11) and Michael Stephens (2006-09) at UCLA. Perk also played in the USL-PDL for the Seattle Wolves in 2009. Servando Carrasco (San Diego), Estrada (Salinas), Brad Evans (UC Irvine), Patrick Ianni (Lodi) and Sammy Ochoa (Riverside) have ties to Southern California. Marc Burch was selected in the second round (24th overall) of the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by the Galaxy. He made three appearances before joining Columbus in July. Burch and AJ DeLaGarza won the NCAA College Cup with Maryland in 2005.
Coaches ConnectionsSounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid began his MLS coaching career with Los Angeles in 1999, serving as head coach of the Galaxy for six seasons (1999-2004). Schmid won four major competitions, including the 2002 MLS Cup, and he was voted MLS Coach of the Year in his first season. Assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson played for Schmid's 2002 MLS Cup champion Galaxy team. Schmid also spent two decades coaching at UCLA, where he won three College Cups.
The Galaxy's Bruce Arena served as coach for the University of Puget Sound in 1976 and previously played for the Tacoma Tides of the American Soccer League. As U.S. Men's national Team coach he returned to Seattle to coach four games between 2002-05. Schmid (176 wins) and Arena (149) are the top two all-time leaders in regular-season wins.
Throw-insDylan Remick turned 22 on May 19. Shalrie Joseph will celebrate his 35th birthday on May 24...The referee for Sunday's match is Baldomero Toledo with assistants Ian Anderson and Baboucarr Jallow, and fourth official Alejandro Mariscal...Eddie Johnson is the only Sounders FC player will multiple yellow cards (three)...Microsoft Corp. and Major League Soccer announced a multiyear agreement to work together to bring MLS fans the best and fastest soccer content through the power of Windows 8. The improved app for Windows 8 will feature exclusive content and this season's schedule, standings, highlights, play-by-play, roster lineups, game stats, goals, cards and substitutions. In addition, with the Windows 8 live tiles, fans will be able to customize their experiences to focus on their favorite club news. Throughout the course of the agreement, Windows 8 and MLS will continue to innovate to create cutting-edge digital experiences for soccer fans. Fans can also look forward to trying the in-stadium Microsoft Surface tablet at more than 40 games throughout the season.