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Los Angeles Galaxy will host the Seattle Sounders at the Dignity Health Sports Park this Saturday. The two sides are heading in very different directions going into matchday six.
Los Angeles Galaxy are sitting in 12th place on the Western Conference table. They’re yet to get a win on board, with three draws and one loss.
The Seattle Sounders look closer to the team prior to last season. They’ve got 10 points on board and conceded just two goals so far.
Odds taken from BetMGM.
Pick: Seattle Sounders to win. (+220)
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This would be a difficult match to call if all things were equal, but all things aren’t equal. Javier Herandez’s absence has had a big effect on LA Galaxy’s start to the season, and he won't be available for another two to five weeks.
Seattle Sounders, on the other hand, are purring. They’ve got the meanest defense in the league, along with Nashville, and they are playing a side that has struggled without their marksmen. The odds on offer don’t seem to have factored in that LA Galaxy are a very different proposition without their Mexican marksman.
Seattle Sounders offer excellent odds for this match, and bettors shouldn’t think twice before wagering some of their hard-earned money on the current CONCACAF Champions League holders.
LA Galaxy are the most successful team in MLS history, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they also have a superior head-to-head record. They’ve won 11, drawn eight, and lost just six of their 25 matches against the Sounders.
The last meeting between the two sides was an absolute classic. The match ended 3-3, with Dejan Jovelijic scoring a late equalizer to give LA Galaxy a valuable point in August 2022. The match had a lot of twists and turns, and a draw felt like a fair result in the end.
LA Galaxy took a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to goals from Javier Hernandez (10’) and Victor Vazquez (42’), but the Sounders fought back with an excellent second-half performance. Kelyn Rowe’s 53rd-minute strike and Raul Ruidiaz’s 61st-minute strike got them back in the game. It looked like they’d got all three points after Jordan Morris made it 3-2 in the 73rd minute but Jovelijic had other ideas.
LA Galaxy’s problems going forward hit a new low after drawing Portland 0-0 over the weekend. They couldn't break the deadlock despite having 68% possession and taking 17 shots on goal. This is the second goalless draw that LA Galaxy have been a part of this season, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be the last.
Javier Hernandez has been scrutinized multiple times since joining the five-time champions, but he’s been a massive miss for the side. The Mexican scored 19 goals in 38 games last season; even though he doesn’t offer much to the team besides goals, his value is indispensable to this side.
Hernandez will be out for another two weeks, so getting as many points as possible before his return is essential. The team is languishing in 12th place, but a draw could take them to 9th place. They have to go into this game with a hard-to-beat mentality. If they can nullify the Sounders' attack, there’s every chance of getting something from this game.
One of the only positives to Hernandez’s absence is that the team is now aware of their dependence on him and what they need to do going forward. It’s very difficult to win a championship as a one-man team, and LA Galaxy are learning that lesson now.
They need to look into the transfer window for a depth option in the next window, if not Hernandez’s successor. Hernandez isn’t getting any younger, and it’s best to start looking at a replacement right now. There’s also no guarantee that Hernandez will be the same player from before the injury. His mobility might take an ever greater hit.
With a fit Hernandez, LA Galaxy have the team to challenge the best teams, but they aren’t anywhere close to the best sides in the league without him. New York City FC learned that last year after Valentin Castellanos’ mid-season departure, and LA Galaxy are learning the same lesson now.
Seattle Sounders continued their ascent with a 4-1 win over Sporting KC over the weekend. Sporting KC surprised the Sounders by taking an early lead thanks to William Agada (5’) but the Sounders settled down and slowly took Sporting KC apart.
Jordan Morris was the star of the show; he scored all the goals on the night. His first came in the 23rd minute to level the scores. Half-time ended with the score 1-1 before Morris made it 2-1 in the 54th minute.
Sporting KC then shot themselves in the foot after Ben Sweat was sent off in the 63rd minute. Morris got his hat-trick in the 69th minute and added another eight minutes later. It was a memorable night for Morris, who became the first player in Sounders history to achieve the feat. It was also his second hat-trick for the Sounders.
Any team with a marksman capable of scoring four goals in a league game should be taken seriously, but it’s the Sounders’ work at the back that’s making them look like title contenders. They’ve conceded just two goals in five games; Nashville are the only other side with as good a defensive record this season.
The Sounders had an off-season by their high standards last year but made up for it by becoming the first MLS side to win the CONCACAF Champions League. The league, however, is the bread and butter, and they need to focus on that first.
They have a great chance of separating themselves from the chasing pack this week. LA Galaxy are having problems going forward, and no team has been better defensively than the Sounders. If the Sounders can keep things tight at the back, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t win this tie. Morris is in the form of his life; all they have to do is provide him some decent service, and they’ll earn all three points.
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Teams: Los Angeles Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders
Location: Dignity Health Sports Park
Time: Saturday, April 1 at 5:30 pm ET onwards
How to watch: Apple TV and Fox
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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