- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) - Not an hour had passed after the Sounders’ stirring late comeback for a draw against Los Angeles last weekend and the scope of the 2014 regular-season finale had already come into focus for Seattle’s Brad Evans.

As one of the few remaining players from the Sounders’ first season in 2009, Evans could speak with certainty about the return match between the Galaxy and Sounders this Saturday.

“The biggest game probably in our club history so far,” Evans said.

For the first time in league history, the Supporters’ Shield will be decided on the final weekend between the two teams vying for the regular-season title when Seattle hosts Los Angeles. It’s the back end of a two-week, home-and-home matchup between the two best teams in the MLS Western Conference. The first weekend lived up to its billing.

Los Angeles was in position to have the upper hand coming into Seattle, taking a 2-0 lead early in the second half. But behind goals from Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle, the Sounders rallied for a 2-2 draw, giving them the advantage going into this weekend.

Now a draw would be good enough on Saturday for Seattle to claim the Supporters’ Shield. Los Angeles must push for a victory otherwise the Galaxy will be the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

“I think they’re going to come at us and that’s my expectation. They know they’ve got to get a win in order to get the Supporters’ Shield and we have to react appropriately,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said.

Seattle was in position for the Supporters’ Shield a year ago before a late-season collapse as the Sounders lost four of their last five matches in the regular season. The Sounders went from MLS Cup favorites to being eliminated in the conference semifinals by rival Portland to complete the flop.

The comeback last week in Los Angeles was another indication that Seattle has a different resolve this season.

“Obviously, we would have liked to win that game. But we were happy to get out of there with a tie,” Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin said. “It’s a tough place to play and I think it gives us the momentum going into this game. Now we have our fans, on our field, we’re in our house so it left us with a pretty good advantage.”

Saturday is also the regular season farewell for retiring Los Angeles star Landon Donovan. Donovan was given a rousing send off last weekend at home and took time earlier this week to film a short video for the Galaxy’s website making prank calls to the Sounders.

The Sounders have a great deal of respect for Donovan.

“Landon has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport and has achieved an incredible amount,” Schmid said. “I think he’s a guy who locked in his future to MLS at a time when not everybody was doing it. It wasn’t fashionable to do, but was also for him the right decision and what he wanted to do and he’s played really well.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide