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MLS – Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Galaxy 0-1

MLS – Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Galaxy 0-1

Steve Zakuani or Sean Franklin, Seattle Sounders or Los Angeeles Galaxy in 2011 MLS season opener? PHOTO by Richard McEnery / ISIPhotos.com

Steve Zakuani or Sean Franklin, Seattle Sounders or Los Angeeles Galaxy in 2011 MLS season opener? PHOTO by Richard McEnery / ISIPhotos.com

Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Galaxy 0-1

0-1 Juninho Pereira Junior (58)

PREVIEW By Chris Reiko

Season opener is never easy to predict, because teams just getting off their preseason experiments and trainings. Obviously at this time of the year we have always more questions than answers, but let’s try to pick the winner.

Not many positives about LA team came from sources that looked closely the Galaxy preseason efforts. Preseason is gone, and results and performances are meaningless now. Edson Buddle is gone, but Whatever they say, the fact is that the Galaxy still have Landon Donovan, David Beckham and newly acquired Juan Pablo Angel. They can still play on the same high level if not higher. When you think about maturity and age of Galaxy stars, makes you think are they really going to play 100 percent? They too smart and too experience to risk injury in the first game of the season. On another hand, rain together with wet artificial turf would make things interesting for Sounders hungry youngsters.

Galaxy have huge psychological advantage coming to this game, their record in Seattle 2 wins and 1 draw speaks for himself, that including 4-0 demolition by Landon Donovan and his teammates last year. After that, game Sounders FC promised to refund tickets money to their fans for poor performance. Details about that game and refund  it’s a topic for separate article, but for sure that game is well remembered in Seattle and Los Angeles. The only team that beat Galaxy on Qwest Field was RSL in 2009 MLS Cup final, but in penalty kicks.

“There’s a lot at stake because obviously they are the team that knocked us out of the playoffs, so we want to come out and we want to play well for that reason,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said.

Sigi has his own unfinished business with Galaxy, where he was fired from before taking Columbus Crew, where he won his last MLS Cup title. Schmid does not need any extra motivation to beat LA, especially managed by his rival in all the MLS coaching records and statistics Bruce Arena.

Seattle midfielder Brad Evans has scored a goal in each of Seattle’s two season-openers, both at home, but we may not see him on the pitch.

“It will be game decision” – Sigi Schmid confirmed after last practice, that his players Steve Zakuani (adductor) and Brad Evans (hamstring) are doubtful for season opener.

WATCH below pregame interviews with Los Angeles Galaxy players

WATCH below pregame interviews with Seattle Sounder players and coach Sigi Schmid

MEET THE REFEREE

Veteran referee Alex Prus will start 2011 MLS season, on rainy weather at Qwest Field and wet artificial turf he will have difficult game. Just little over week ago Alex Prus was seen at few sponsors and sport marketing events in Poland, where he was also visited his mom. Prus is well known for letting game go on, sometimes he got criticized for it, but he definitely let players play a lot closer in contact, then some others MLS refs.

What is unique about officiating in 2011 MLS season opener? Alex Prus will be the first referee to use in official Major League Soccer game  foam to mark 10 yards line on attacking free kicks in final third of the field.

INJURY REPORT

Sounders

OUT:  FW Mike Fucito (R adductor strain); FW Nate Jaqua (hip surgery recovery); FW Michael Seamon (R leg neuritis); QUESTIONABLE: MF Steve Zakuani (hip injury); PROBABLE: MF Brad Evans (R hamstring strain)

Galaxy

OUT: FW Adam Cristman (L knee inflammation); Dan Keat (L heel fracture); DOUBTFUL – DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE – GK Donovan Ricketts (R hamstring strain)

WATCH below 9 minutes long deep Seattle Sounders scouting report

Chris’s PREDICTION

Seattle Sounders FC hosts the Major League Soccer opener for the third straight year. They defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-0 on March 19, 2009 in the first game in club history and last year they defeated Philadelphia Union 2-0 before 36,241 at Qwest Field on March 25. This is very first game of the season and to be honest this would be more of my guess than expertise, but Sounders winning series on openning day should continue.

On these difficult conditions, it is hard to expect some high level, or high scoring game. If you like, UNDER 2.5 goals seem safe to me. Rain and wet field may keep movement of the ball very conservative, from both sides. Bruce Arena and Galaxy last year had perfect start of the season and been unbeaten for long time, but it was last year. Based on preseason observations and other coaches opinions, sounds like this time around Sigi will use beautiful, but wet Qwest Field in his advantage.

In terms of stadium atmosphere, Seattle has the loudest and the best crowd in MLS, and this time Sounders players will finally use this in their favor. Guarantee that on this nationally televised on ESPN season opener, Sounders fans will put together awesome show, as they always do. This will be great evening in Seattle, I am picking Sounders to win at rate 2.55

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Chris Reiko was 97-82 last 2010 MLS season (accuracy 54.19 %) in picking winner or OVER / UNDER results, if you have some info or tips that can have influence outcome of this game please  CONTACT US

For the latest updates follow Chris Reiko on TWITTER at @ChrisReiko

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