Sounders FC-Galaxy Preview
Greg Vanney is expecting Dignity Health Sports Park to be rocking on Saturday as Los Angeles Galaxy welcome Seattle Sounders in front of a capacity crowd.
The Galaxy's home attendance has been capped at around 7,000 so far this season, but the easing of coronavirus restrictions means a far bigger crowd is likely this weekend.
Vanney's side have won their last four home games and are unbeaten in seven on their own patch, a run in which the Galaxy head coach is hoping to further improve on.
"My estimation here is the guys are going to be very excited to be back in front of the energy that's going to be in the stadium," Vanney said.
"That's going to have them kind of amped up, so it's important that we play smart at the beginning, we don't get too many numbers going high, we don't get drawn into the game.
"We have to play with discipline and we have to play a smart game against a very good team."
The Sounders lead the way at the top of the Supporters' Shield standings with five wins and three draws in their opening eight matches.
However, they have drawn back-to-back games and boss Brian Schmetzer is concerned about possible rustiness after a three-week break between matches.
"For us, this break is convenient in some sense and inconvenient in others," he said. "I laid it out there to the team the other day because they weren't sharp in training.
"I just said, 'Look, you have to understand that you haven't played a game in three weeks'.
"There's going to be some time in the game where you might not be as clean as you normally are. What that requires is a little more concentration."
Los Angeles Galaxy - Jonathan Bond
Vanney may have a number of top-class attackers to choose from, but he relied heavily on goalkeeper Bond for the 1-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes last time out. The Englishman made 12 saves against the Quakes - the second-most in a single game in Galaxy's 26-year history - and he could be busy again against the Sounders.
Seattle Sounders - Raul Ruidiaz
This contest will bring together the two top scorers in MLS this season. The only player to have scored more than Ruidiaz's six is Galaxy striker Hernandez with seven. The prolific attacker was expected to miss this game, but he was not included as part of Peru's Copa America squad and is therefore available for selection in a huge boost for the visitors.
- The Sounders won their first game against the Galaxy this season, a 3-0 victory in Seattle on May 2. Seattle has lost only one of its last 12 against the Galaxy (W6 D5) dating back to 2016, though they have recorded multiple wins over Los Angeles in a single regular season just once before: W2 L1 in 2012.
- The Galaxy have won their first four home matches this season. They have had longer home winning streaks to start a season just twice since 2000, winning their first six games at home in 2019 and their first five at home in 2005.
- The Sounders are unbeaten through eight games (W5 D3) of a season for the first time in their history. Only one team has started a season unbeaten in their first nine matches of a season since 2015: FC Dallas, who started unbeaten in nine games to begin the 2017 campaign (W5 D4).
- The Galaxy have faced an MLS-high 51 shots on their target this season and goalkeeper Jonathan Bond has made a league-high 40 saves, averaging 5.7 saves per 90 minutes, also best in the league this season (minimum 360 mins).
- All 13 of their Hernandez and Ruidiaz's goal this season have been scored inside the box.
Updated June 18, 2021