Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy will need to go all hands on deck and produce against Sigi Schmid’s Seattle Sounders in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium, home of the LA Galaxy II, in Carson, Calif.
Seattle are coming off a 3-1 loss to Portland Timbers in MLS play while LA are coming off a gritty 1-0 win against the Houston Dynamo at the main stadium. Being clinical is what will help the Galaxy progress to the semifinals against either FC Dallas or the Houston Dynamo. It also helps to have clutch, routine defending across the board.
“We played well enough to get three points,” said Arena last Saturday. “Not our best game; I think we made things a little difficult on ourselves not converting the penalty early in the game and then a few other chances we could have been better with.
“I thought defensively we played well. Give Houston a lot of credit, they played real hard. But a little bit better, maybe we win this game by a couple goals and make it a little easier on ourselves. I think you see the tactics that we generally see playing a home game by our opponents. They did a good job getting numbers behind the ball and making it difficult for us.
“We have one of the best away records in the league, did you know that? We have one of the best away records in the league this year if you look. The league is very hard to play on the road because of the travel, the scheduling, and a lot of other things. It’s very difficult to travel and play away in this league…altitude, time zones, it’s very difficult.
“And often, teams, especially out of conference, will play on the road fairly exhausted. And you come back and it impacts you for the next game. If you look right now, I think there’s five teams in the league that haven’t won a game on the road this year. It’s difficult. Houston’s one of them. So as much as you want to make that a story, it is a story, but it’s the same for a lot of teams.”
“The team is really strong at the moment,” said Steven Gerrard the hero in the 66th minute over the Dynamo. “We’ve got Nigel [de Jong] to come back in, Ashley [Cole] to come back in, Robbie Rogers, so the future is bright. But I’ve been saying for a long, long time that success is built on a defensive platform and we’re defending really well. Brian [Rowe] is keeping clean sheets, Jelle [Van Damme] and Daniel [Steres] are really solid and the full backs are chipping in as well… If we keep that solid defensive base, we’ve got players on the team that can cause the opposition problems, who can assist goals and score goals. And that’s how you get success at the end of the season.
“It feels like we’ve got men in here. Men who are prepared to do the dirty work and go the extra mile for each other. Last year – without naming names, we were all responsible for it – we were too weak, we were too flaky, we were all over the pitch and we were conceding stupid goals. And that’s the reason why we all went home in October. If we want to stay for the duration in this fight for the MLS Cup, we need to keep trying to build on the recent form, which has been very, very solid.”
“We’ve given up a lot of late goals, lately we’ve been defending well,” said A.J. DeLaGarza. “Thankfully, three shutouts in a row, one in Open Cup, so yea we are getting the shutouts and we are getting goals so now we just have to play better. We know that inside this locker room it has not been pretty, and when it has been pretty we’ve lost. So we’ll take the three points and continue to get better.”
Kickoff is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET. The Live Blog is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the match between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders.
- At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
- At least five fouls will be issued.
- A goal will be scored in the last 15 minutes and stoppage time.
- Jordan Morris will score for Seattle Sounders.
- Stefan Frei will make at least five saves.
- Brian Rowe will make at least four saves.
- Steven Gerrard will score for LA Galaxy.
- Robbie Keane will score for LA Galaxy.
- No goals will be scored in the first 10 minutes.
- A penalty will be called.
LA Galaxy 2, Seattle Sounders 1