Sounders hope to stay sharp in regular-season finale

Oct 26, 2012, 1:01 PM | Updated: Oct 28, 2012, 3:46 pm

A victory Sunday night over the defending MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy would give Seattle Sounders FC second place in the Western Conference.

It’s also a game the rave green would like to use as a tone-setter for next week’s playoff series against Real Salt Lake.

Sigi Schmid told me in our Coach’s Corner interview that he’ll try to strike a balance in the last regular-season match.

“We obviously want to keep our momentum going and have our guys continue to keep the rhythm of playing week in and week out,” he said. “Being able to step out with a majority of our starters on the field will be a key for us.”

The strategy might be entirely different for coach Bruce Arena’s Galaxy, which must take on Vancouver Whitecaps in the play-in game early next week. That means star players like Landon Donovan and David Beckham might see limited minutes, if any. Donovan is recovering from a bruised knee and Beckham is dealing with a sore ankle.

Seattle has dominated Los Angeles in their two prior matches, with 4-nil and 2-nil victories at CenturyLink Field.

Schmid said his defense was outstanding on both occasions.

“You know they’ve had the habit over the last few years of scoring some great goals against us. This year we’ve been able to keep the great goals at a distance,” he said. “We have to continue to play sharp and tight on their key individuals like the Donovans, the [Robbie] Keanes, and the Beckhams.”

While the Sounders have qualified for the MLS playoffs every season of their existence, they have yet to advance out of the first round.

Seattle is a confident group heading into this postseason thanks to an unbeaten streak in all competitions which started in early August. Michael Seamon has witnessed the determination while working against the starters in practice.

“They’re constantly switching positions in the midfield, and that makes the team extremely dangerous,” Seamon said. “The key thing is they’re all working really hard, getting up and getting back. Their passing is also on a whole new level now.”

The Sounders will put playoff tickets on sale Monday, Oct. 29.

Matt Johnson hosts the pregame show at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller picking up the play-by-play at 6 on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.

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