CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy came into the MLS Cup playoffs as one of the lowest seeds in the field. So does that make them underdogs? Hardly.
“For me, this is the best team in the league,” Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson said, referring to the Galaxy. “This is our Real Madrid, this is our Barcelona of MLS.”
Such is the formidable test ahead of Seattle in the Western Conference finals, a two-game, aggregate-goals series that kicks tonight. It’s a worthy challenge for a Sounders team looking to validate itself in MLS after its first playoff series win in four years.
“They’re the defending champions,” coach Sigi Schmid said of L.A., “and if you want to win a championship, you’ve got to beat all the teams that are put in front of you. The Galaxy is the team in front of us right now and that’s the team we’ve got to beat if we want to win the championship.”
MLS suspended Sounders FC’s Marc Burch three games for his use of a gay slur in Thursday’s playoff game at Real Salt Lake, effectively ending the defender’s season. Burch, who was in line to start Sunday, was also fined an undisclosed amount and must attend diversity and sensitivity training. Midfielder Mauro Rosales and defender Leo Gonzalez are listed as questionable for the game. Schmid didn’t rule either out, and said Rosales could be available, but added the team could play it cautious since both could be ready for the second leg of the series on Nov. 18 at CenturyLink Field.
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