Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Galaxy hope to bring an end to their four-game winless streak on Sunday when the club welcomes a familiar face to the StubHub Center, Seattle Sounders FC.
The two sides have squared off three times in the past five years in the Western Conference playoffs, including last season when the Galaxy advanced to MLS Cup after beating Seattle on away goals.
Los Angeles went on to win MLS Cup last year, but the team has looked like anything but defending champions having lost back-to-back games without scoring a goal.
The Galaxy were easily outplayed in a 2-0 defeat at Vancouver last time out, and head coach Bruce Arena was most concerned with his team's lack of fight.
"We have no excuses," Arena said after the defeat. "We were soundly beat over 90 minutes. They out-competed us from the start, and, as a starting point, if you don't have the battle in you, the right kind of [drive to be] competing in a game, you have no chance."
Despite the poor start to the season, veteran forward Robbie Keane knows it is a long season, and he believes this team is capable of putting it together when it matters most.
"It seems to happen to us a lot at the start of the season," Keane said. "Start off very, very slow and then end up kicking on and then winning it. Hopefully that will be the case again."
Seattle enters the contest in a bit better form having snapped a two-game winless slide with a 1-0 win against the Houston Dynamo last weekend.
Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins both returned to the lineup after sitting out with injuries in a 0-0 draw with FC Dallas, and they combined on Seattle's lone goal in the 40th minute with Dempsey setting up Martins.
That tally continued a great start to the season for both players with Dempsey having now notched three goals and two assists in three games, while Martins has found the net three times himself, accounting for all six of the team's goals so far this season.
The return of both players certainly makes things easier on head coach Sigi Schmid, who is pleased to be able to choose from his full squad.
"We always look forward to being able to choose from the whole group," Schmid said upon the return of his star forward partnership. "I think the young players have done well, and they'll continue to push, and that makes our other players better also. But, yeah, [I'm] looking forward to being able to pick from a complete squad."