Both the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy aim to carry the momentum of rivalry victories on the road this past weekend when they meet on Wednesday night at Dignity Health Sports Park.
The Galaxy (1-3-2, 5 points) may have pulled the bigger upset, downing LAFC 2-0 during a steamy Saturday afternoon despite missing star striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
The win was their first of the season, after they had been embarrassed by LAFC 6-2 during the MLS is Back Tournament last month. And it was built upon some unlikely sources, with Ethan Zubak scoring his first MLS goal and Julian Araujo contributing his first two assists of the season.
Given Chicharito had not trained with the club entering Saturday’s game since a right calf injury took him out of MLS is Back action last month, it’s likely more supporting cast members may need to step up again on Wednesday.
“This was obviously the first win of the season, and it’s amazing to do it against our rival, but I think it’s been building up for a while,” Zubak said of the victory. “I think that the mentality after Orlando is that we know that we have the right tools to do great things, and so everyone got together and made an effort to train even harder.”
Seattle (3-1-2, 11 points) took a more conventional route to its 3-0 win over Portland, with striker Raul Ruidiaz scoring twice and adding an assist as the Sounders turned a scoreless draw into a laugher inside the final 20 minutes.
And while it was a good feeling to hand Portland — the winner of the MLS is Back competition – its first loss since Week 1 of the regular season, for Seattle it was also just about building some confidence following disappointment in their own performance at that tournament in Florida. The 2019 MLS Cup winners went 1-2-1 at MLS is Back.
“Look, regardless of the result (Sunday) – and obviously we’re very happy with the result and three points and all that – I wanted them to play well,” coach Brian Schmetzer said afterward. “Had it been a draw, had we not gone away with anything, I just needed the team to believe they can play well. It was a big undertaking here after Portland’s great success in the tournament.
–Field Level Media