After a highly successful first aggregate (1-0), The Galaxy look to finish the job
Defense for any sport is crucial for success, for the Los Angeles Galaxy, especially in this situation, that sentiment could not be any more true.
One win away from reaching their fifth MLS Cup title game (4-0 in the previous four), the Galaxy have had three-straight clean sheets and have completely dominated the 2014 MLS playoffs.
All season the Galaxy led the league in not only offense, but defensively they were in a class of their own.
LA during the regular season had a +32 goal differential, the best in MLS. And despite a little slip up down stretch of the regular season, LA has found their defensive niche, shutting down two of the elite offensive clubs in Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC.
The only way to describe LA’s post season success is in two words…
Head coach Bruce Arena has tinkered with the defensive match ups and it does not matter who plays where, the team simply gets it done.
The possible fate of hoisting an unprecedented fifth MLS Cup to send off Landon Donovan (left) on a high note sounds extremely enticing and fit for a Hollywood script rearing to go.
But Sunday’s task of eliminating the 2014 U.S Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield winners will not be easy for a couple reasons.
1. Seattle, after winning the Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup, can make history by winning the unprecedented “treble” if they get by LA and win it all.
2. It was just a year ago the Galaxy were in the exact same position, leading RSL 1-0 on aggregate only to fall in extra time in the second leg and denied the chance to hoist their third-straight MLS Cup.
The Galaxy know full well that they cannot allow the latter to happen again.
However, although his status remains unclear, Seattle could welcome the return of midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. If Alonso can go, that will boost an offensive attack that was sorely lacking in the first aggregate.
LA has already proven this method for an entire regular season and the first three games of the post season — zero goals allowed.
Once again Los Galacticos will have to face the 12th man at CenturyLink Field. With Seattle’s backs against the wall and an all of nothing mentality, the crowd will undoubtedly play into the favor for the Sounders — hence the home crowd name “12th Man”.
Although it may be overshadowed with the home crowd, Seattle will enter the Sunday’s match in unchartered water. Yes, Seattle has reached the playoffs in all six years they’ve been in existence, but they’ve never played in an environment like this with the stakes this high.
This Galaxy team only knows playing for championships, they know what this is all about.
As long as LA sticks to their defensive mindset and keeps Clint Dempsey (right) and Obafemi Martins (6 combined shots, 3 on goal in the first leg) at bay, LA will meet the New England Revolution for the MLS Cup with the one distinction that is missing in their illustrious history.
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