Just like last year, the Los Angeles Galaxy (9-2-8, 35 pts.) play host to Seattle Sounders FC (8-4-7, 31pts.) at the Home Depot Center on the Fourth of July. Just like last year, Landon Donovan will be making his return from a long stint of national team duty in a major tournament. The Galaxy and Sounders take the pitch together for the second time this season, after opening up the season in a Seattle monsoon. The Galaxy are riding a 10 game unbeaten streak after Mike Magee's clean sheet in San Jose. Sounders FC have won three games on the trot, defeating the New England Revolution 2-1 at home last Saturday.
When these teams last met, Juninho struck his first of three outside the box strikes this season; a mark that has him tied for the league lead. That goal was the difference in the match. The Galaxy won all four contests between the two clubs in MLS play last year. This includes a 4-0 victory at Quest Field, which stands as the worst defeat in Seattle Sounders history. Seattle did take the US Open Cub quarterfinal match, three days after the clubs' second meeting. Coincidentally, the Galaxy and Sounders will meet again in the Open Cup, eight days from now in Tukwila, Washington.
David Beckham is listed as questionable, but is not expected to play in tonight's match as he's suffered a stress fracture in his spine. Josh Saunders misses this match with a red card suspension, and with Donovan Rickett on the mend, that means Brian Perk gets his MLS Galaxy debut. He allowed one goal against the LA Blues in US Open Cup play. Seattle has been without O'Brien White and Steve Zakuani, but forward Fredy Montero is also listed as questionable.
It's an important match in terms of the Supporter's Shield race. The Sounders are only a win and a draw away from the Galaxy in the point tally, and would certainly love to walk out of the HDC with three points. Every match is a must win situation, but this is the last time this season the Galaxy can directly affect the trajectory of a club hot on their heels.