Thu, 13 Dec 2018
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Salt Lake City

Things have changed since last Galaxy-Sounders matchup

Sports Xchange
22 Sep 2018, 15:16 GMT+10

The Seattle Sounders are barely clinging to a Western Conference playoff berth and the LA Galaxy are looking to move closer to the top six with the season winding down.

However, the matchup between Seattle and LA on Sunday in southern California will likely look and feel nothing like the first time they met just over a month ago.

On Aug. 18, Seattle matched the club record for largest margin of victory after hammering LA 5-0 in the Pacific Northwest.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the laugher was who did not suit up for the Galaxy -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish star has 17 goals, including five game-winners, in just 22 games during his inaugural season in MLS.

There was also a change off the field since the first meeting as coach Sigi Schmid resigned Sept. 10 and was replaced by assistant Dominic Kinnear.

"(This match is) way different," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer told the team's official website. "Zlatan ... new coach, playoff implications -- I mean, it's all different. Way different."

Seattle saw its nine-game winning streak -- an MLS record -- and 12-game unbeaten run snapped with a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. However, the streak has the Sounders thinking playoffs after three straight shutout losses to start 2018.

Seattle (13-10-5) is sixth in the West with 44 points. The Sounders are one point behind Real Salt Lake and trail the Portland Timbers and LAFC by three points.

LA (10-11-8), meanwhile, is trying to turn around a dismal stretch in the season's final weeks. The Galaxy are coming off a 5-3 road loss to Toronto FC last Saturday, and have been outscored 17-6 in a four-game winless slide, including three losses.

"We have to win the game, let's be honest," Kinnear told the team's official website on Thursday. "I think if we lose the game, we're in real big trouble, and I think our playoff lifeline is hanging by a thread."

He's not incorrect. LA is six points behind the Sounders and Seattle has a game in hand.

"There is still a chance and we know it," Ibrahimovic said Friday.

The Galaxy can use Ibra's scoring touch. Led by Stefan Frei, Seattle has given up a league-low 29 goals in 2018.

Seattle could be without midfielder Raul Ruidiaz after he exited early from Wednesday's loss with an ankle injury. The Peruvian midfielder, playing his first season in the league, is third on the club with five goals in only nine games.

The Sounders hold a 7-9-9 all-time record against the Galaxy in MLS regular-season play, including a 3-5-4 road record.

The Galaxy are 0-3-3 in the last six meetings.

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