MLS: LA Galaxy v Seattle Sounders Preview and Team News
LA Galaxy go into the second leg of the Western Conference play-off semi-final defending a one goal advantage over visiting Seattle Sounders.
Donovan Rickets was in fine form in the LA goal, pulling off eight saves to help his defence hang on to the 1-0 lead provided by Edson Buddle’s 38th minute volley.
Online bookmakers are welcoming new customers with free bets ahead of the second leg at the Home Depot Centre in Carson, California at 02:00 GMT on Monday.
Galaxy had started the season in great form and looked to be coasting to the Supporter’s Shield with a big lead in the MLS standings at half-way.
But, a moderate second half of the season saw Real Salt Lake reduce the gap to three points in the final standings which were decided on the last day of the regular season.
The first leg of the Western Conference play-off saw a welcome return to form for an under-strength Galaxy defence who were facing a team that had stormed through their last fifteen games with ten wins.
Bookmakers don’t envisage Galaxy surrendering their advantage on home soil with Victor Chandler offering the best odds for a home win at 8/11.
A return to early season form when Galaxy kept ten clean sheets in the opening fourteen games would ensure progress to the Conference final, but they must be on their guard to Sounders quick counter attacks.
In the first leg at Qwest Field, Seattle were largely restricted to testing Rickets with long range shots and central defender Omar Gonzalez dealt comfortably with the crosses aimed into the Galaxy penalty area.
A similar display should suffice for Galaxy who have been beaten just once in six play-off games at Home Depot Center and have found goals on a regular basis, scoring 12 times to earn five wins.
Bet365 offer odds of 13/2 for Galaxy to win 2-0 and this correct score looks like it could be a popular choice.
Todd Dunivant missed the first leg for Galaxy and remains doubtful with a hamstring problem. Fellow defender Leonardo and midfielder Michael Stephens have complained of painful knees and will be assessed prior to the game.
Seattle will be without Brad Evans, John Kennedy Hurtado, Pat Noonan and Peter Vagenas with injury while Jeff Parke is a doubt due to a sprained ankle.