Riding a club record five-straight wins, the league-leading Seattle Sounders FC visits two-time defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy on Saturday night on NBC Sports Network. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Saturday's match will be nationally televised on NBCSN with John Strong and Kyle Martino on the call. The match will also be available on 97.3 FM with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller calling the action, and can be heard in Spanish on La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Sounders FC (15-8-4, 49 points) overtook the top spot in the race for the 2013 Supporters' Shield with a decisive victory over conference rival Real Salt Lake last Friday. Obafemi Martins scored a goal and an assist to earn Player of the Week honors, Lamar Neagle scored in his third straight game and Michael Gspurning recorded his fourth shutout in the past five outings.
Seattle sits first overall for the first time since March 23, 2012. After spending 17 weeks outside of the playoff picture, Sounders FC catapulted to the top spot, taking 24 of the past 27 possible points. The No. 1 ranking is the highest position Seattle has held this late in a season, and the club is just the third team in league history to erase a 15-point deficit to gain first overall.
The Rave Green now shifts its focus to the Western Conference clash on Saturday night in Los Angeles. Already holders of the longest winning streak of the season at five games, Seattle could set the club record with a win against the Galaxy. A victory on Saturday would also mark the most road wins (6) in MLS this season.
The LA Galaxy (13-10-5, 44 points) sit fourth in the West after a 2-2 road draw against D.C. United on Saturday. The Galaxy attack is led by Robbie Keane, who has six goals and two assists in the past four games, and Landon Donovan, who is two goals from matching Jeff Cunningham's league record of 134 career goals.
Los Angeles hosts Isidro Metapan on Wednesday night in CONCACAF Champions League play. The Galaxy currently sit second in Group 8 but has played just one game, winning 2-0 against Cartagines last month.
Saturday's meeting is the second of the season between Seattle and Los Angeles. In the previous meeting, the Galaxy downed Sounders FC, 4-0, on May 26. The third and final meeting of the season will be the regular-season finale on October 27 when Sounders FC will open the entire stadium.
Following Saturday's match, Sounders FC will return to the Pacific Northwest for a Sunday meeting with the New York Red Bulls. Seattle will then play five matches in October to conclude the regular-season campaign, including home games against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (October 9) and the LA Galaxy (October 27).
Tickets to all remaining Sounders FC home matches are available through SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster Outlets, the CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 800-745-3000.
Seattle and LA Meet for 17th TimeSaturday's match between Seattle and LA will be the 17th meeting between the two sides since the beginning of 2009, matching the club record. Over the past five seasons, the two sides have met 10 times in the regular season, four times in the MLS Cup Playoffs and twice in the U.S. Open Cup. Seattle is 3-5-2 all-time in the regular season and 1-3-0 in the playoffs against the Galaxy. The Rave Green won the first two meetings of 2012 by a combined score of 6-0, only to see Los Angles win the two regular-season meetings since by a combined score of 5-0, including a 4-0 loss in the previous meeting.
Sounders FC is 1-3-0 against Los Angeles in the postseason, meeting in the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2010 and 2012. The Galaxy took a 3-0 lead in the first leg of the 2012 Western Conference Finals before Seattle battled back in the second leg, pulling within one goal on aggregate before Robbie Keane converted a penalty kick to help LA back to the MLS Cup final.
Clash of National Team StarsSaturday's Seattle-LA matchup will feature several international stars. In addition to Seattle's Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans, the Galaxy's attack is led by U.S. legend Landon Donovan and Irish captain Robbie Keane, and USMNT center back Omar Gonzalez shores up the backline.
Donovan-the USMNT all-time leader in starts, goals and assists-is second on the Galaxy with eight goals and eight assists in 2013, including six goals and five assists in his last nine appearances, highlighted by a hat trick against Dallas on August 11. With 132 career goals, the 31-year-old is two goals shy of Jeff Cunningham's all-time MLS record. Donovan's next game will be the 300th of his MLS career.
Keane, one of the league's most prolific strikers, ranks in the top five with 13 goals (4th) and 11 assists (3rd) in just 17 games this season. Arguably the most efficient attacker in MLS, his 0.78 goals per 90 minutes ranks second and his 0.66 assists per 90 minutes ranks first. The 33-year-old has 31 goals and 21 assists in just 49 games since joining the league late in 2011.