The Seattle Sounders did everything in their last match but win it, falling 1-0 to the arch-rival Portland Timbers on Wednesday in a game they largely controlled. Yet, they can remain in first place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference with a victory Sunday night against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Sounders (6-3-3, 21 points) visit Carson, Calif., hoping to regain the form that saw them score 10 combined goals in blowout wins over the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles FC.
Seattle has allowed just 11 goals this season, fewest in the Western Conference.
But up front, the Sounders leading scorer Raul Ruidiaz won't play Sunday. He was suspended by the league for one game Saturday when a foul he committed in Wednesday's game was reviewed and deemed to be violent conduct.
Although Seattle has the top goal differential in the conference by a wide margin (plus-15, with no other team better than a plus-6), the Sounders have had problems against teams that tend to sit back and look for a quick counter opportunity.
"Sometimes we get a little impatient," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. "Sometimes we have four guys in a line and our spacing just isn't right. We need to have the patience. The guys just need to sit in those pockets and the ball will come."
The Galaxy have gone successive matches without a goal and haven't won since Sept. 6. Los Angeles (4-5-3, 15 points) will have Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, their biggest offseason acquisition, back from a calf injury and in the starting lineup for the second game in a row. Hernandez has just one goal in his six appearances this season.
Galaxy and Mexican national teammate Jonathan dos Santos said Hernandez will get it going soon.
"I know him and I know that he will score goals, 100 percent. But we need to have patience with him," dos Santos said. "He's just recovering from his injury; he was out for two or three months. But he's good. He's happy to be here. He's in shape. We just have to have patience with him because I know that he's going to score goals and he's going to be the most important player for us."
--Field Level Media