TUKWILA, Wash. – Sounders FC practice had some unexpected visitors Saturday, the day before the decisive second leg of the MLS Western Conference finals.
Several full-voiced fans, with flags in hand, braved the wind and rain at the team’s training facility and brought a large banner.
The message: “We beat ’em before. We’ll beat ’em again!”
It was a last bit of encouragement before an attempt at a monumental comeback. Seattle is behind, 3-0, to the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy in the aggregate-goals series heading into today’s 6 p.m. finale at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders need a four-goal win to advance to MLS Cup. A three-goal win sends the series to a 30-minute overtime with a penalty-kick tiebreaker if a winner still isn’t determined. Anything less means Seattle’s season is over.
“The bottom line is we know the situation – we are playing at home and fighting for our lives,” said midfielder Brad Evans. “There is no other way to put it: It’s do-or-die time.”
So is today’s an impossible task? Not quite, but just about.
Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning called upon a saying in his native Austria that describes the situation.
“We don’t have a chance, but we want to use it,” he said, hoping the subtext of the phrase comes through after his translation.
Coach Sigi Schmid put it another way: “We just need to have a historic moment.”
The Sounders will look to get any advantage they can against the Galaxy.
Some have hoped for rain in the forecast, which, combined with slick artificial turf, could make matters difficult for the visitors from Southern California.
Midfielders Landon Donovan (hamstring tightness) and Juninho (Achilles inflammation) are the Galaxy’s main injury concerns. Both are listed as questionable.