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Sounders need rally to oust LA and reach MLS Cup

After losing first leg 1-0 in Los Angeles, Sounders and midfielder Brad Evans must win today over L.A., most likely by two, to reach Cup final. (Associated Press)
After losing first leg 1-0 in Los Angeles, Sounders and midfielder Brad Evans must win today over L.A., most likely by two, to reach Cup final. (Associated Press)
Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – This is not where the Sounders wanted to be.

“We talked about three scenarios: winning the game, tying the game and worst case is getting out of there with a 1-0 loss against us,” Seattle midfielder Brad Evans said.

Worst case it was. The Sounders lost the first leg of the MLS Cup Western Conference finals 1-0 in Los Angeles a week ago. The second leg is today in Seattle.

“It could have gone both ways,” Evans said. “We had a number of chances to score. They had the better of the possession and counter attacks that were dangerous but that always happens against them and I thought we held firm defensively.”

The Galaxy are trying to extend the professional career of Landon Donovan for one more week and erase the memory of last year’s Western Conference final when they let a 1-0 lead against Real Salt Lake slip away.

If the Galaxy play as well as they did in the first leg last Sunday, they likely will be playing for a fifth league championship at home.

Seattle – trying to become the first team to win the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup in the same season – could force extra time with a 1-0 win in regulation. But any goal by the Galaxy would make a Seattle comeback even more difficult thanks to the implementation of road goals as a tiebreaker in the MLS playoffs this season.

Seattle certainly didn’t have problems scoring in the regular season. The Sounders scored the second-most goals in the league (65), but in the playoffs their only goal came on a header in the first leg of the conference semifinals against Dallas.

Forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins have been silenced in the postseason, although the pair created a number of opportunities – in the semifinals against Dallas and last weekend against the Galaxy.

Seattle will try to match what it did against Los Angeles in the regular-season finale, a result that clinched the Supporters’ Shield. Two goals by Marco Pappa in the final 15 minutes brought a 2-0 home victory. That same score Sunday would put Seattle in the league championship game for the first time.

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