Sounders FC

Sounders face familiar roadblock in Galaxy

Sounders defenders Andreas Ivanschitz left, and Leo Gonzalez apply pressure against Real Salt Lake on Sunday. Thanks to the Sounders’ 3-1 victory, they will play host to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the playoffs on Wednesday.
Sounders defenders Andreas Ivanschitz left, and Leo Gonzalez apply pressure against Real Salt Lake on Sunday. Thanks to the Sounders’ 3-1 victory, they will play host to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the playoffs on Wednesday. The News Tribune

Six times the Seattle Sounders have gone into the Major League Soccer postseason, and three times the Los Angeles Galaxy have knocked them out of it.

Now, with a seventh trip into the playoffs about to begin, the Sounders find the Galaxy once more standing in their way, this time in a single-elimination knockout match at 7 p.m. Wednesday at CenturyLink Field.

“We’re very confident,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “But we know we’ve got to be sharp, we’ve got to be attentive, we’ve got to be on our game. They’ve got players who can rise to the occasion as well. … L.A. is LA. To win the whole thing you’ve got to beat everybody somewhere along the way, or some people have to beat other people. It’s who we have, and we have no hesitation about playing L.A.”

Seattle and Los Angeles’ first postseason meeting came in 2010, with the Galaxy sweeping the two-game, aggregate-score Western Conference semifinal 1-0 in Seattle and 2-1 in L.A.

In 2012, they met in the conference final, with the Galaxy bolting to a 3-0 advantage in its home game, enough to advance despite a one-goal loss (2-1) in Seattle.

Last season, they met in the conference final again. Los Angeles won 1-0 at home and lost 2-1 in Seattle, but advanced on the away-goal tie-breaker.

“We’ve done well at home,” Schmid said. “Last year we won at home against them, and we got knocked out because of the away-goals rule. So we’re confident in terms of our ability to play well at home. It’s just a matter of us playing well, putting in the effort … and then letting the chips fall where they may.”

Seattle earned the right to host this knockout play-in match by finishing fourth in the Western Conference, just ahead of fifth-place L.A. Both teams had 51 points, but the Sounders had 15 wins to the Galaxy’s 14 — the first tie-breaker.

Like their coach, Sounders players expressed no concern about the pairing.

In addition to the benefit of a familiar field and cheering fans, the Sounders also are rewarded by not having to travel during the quick turnaround, while the Galaxy had to travel twice: flying from Kansas to Southern California on Sunday night and from California to the Northwest on Tuesday.

“Certainly it’s better not to travel than to have to travel,” Schmid said. “The turnaround is tight.”

Sixth-seeded Sporting Kansas City visits fourth-seeded Portland in the other Western Conference play-in pairing Thursday.

ADDED TIME

Schmid said Monday the club was awaiting more information on the condition of defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who left the season-ending win over Real Salt Lake on Sunday with an undisclosed injury. … The Tacoma Stars of the Major Arena Soccer League announced the signing of goalkeeper Chris Kintz and midfielder Duncan McCormick. McCormick, 19, is the son of Dick McCormick who played for the original MISL Stars from 1989-91. … Seattle Reign FC of the National Women’s Soccer League acquired U.S. national team defender Meghan Klingenberg, 27, from the Houston Dash in exchange for midfielder Amber Brooks and the fifth pick of the 2016 college draft.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com

blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

@donruiztnt

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