The Seattle Sounders will know what they need in their bid to secure the Western Conference’s second seed by the time they take the field Sunday night.
The Los Angeles Galaxy, meanwhile, seem to be looking ahead since they are locked into their postseason position.
The Sounders have shut out the Galaxy twice this year, and these playoff-bound teams meet in Southern California in the MLS regular-season finale.
Both teams already know who they will be meeting in the postseason, with Seattle (15-7-11) facing Real Salt Lake and defending champion Los Angeles (15-12-6) set to host Vancouver in the one-game knockout round Thursday.
The Sounders, who defeated FC Dallas 3-1 last Saturday, must finish tied in points with RSL to earn the No. 2 seed, with Real Salt Lake moving one point ahead after playing to a scoreless draw with the Whitecaps on Saturday night. Seattle owns the tiebreaker based on having more goals.
“For us, obviously the goal as I’ve said is to finish in second,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “So we’ll have an idea because we’ll know the Salt Lake score before as to what we’ll need to do. But we know that if we win, we’ll definitely be in second place and second place means obviously we get the second game at home in that first series.”
Schmid said that the RSL result will not affect which players he will use. The MLS Cup will be held at the site of the team with more points, and three Sunday will bring Seattle’s total to 59 - which could be good enough to host.
“If we win the Western Conference and say, for example, Kansas City gets knocked out in the East, then that point total gives us a chance to maybe host,” Schmid said.
Donovan has been out since Oct. 6 with a bruised left knee, but says he will finally be back with the playoffs in sight.
“I’m available. I’m ready to play,” he told the Galaxy’s official website. “Obviously, we’re going to be smart about this weekend in general - with everybody, myself included.”
Beckham missed last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with San Jose with left ankle soreness that he says has diminished.
“It’s feeling a lot better now,” he said. “I’ve had another 10 days to train, get my fitness up and get the ankle swelling down.”
Los Angeles is winless in its last three (0-1-2) after a four-game win streak in MLS play.
“It’s a big game on Sunday, but not as big as the one on Thursday,” Beckham said.
Seattle, which is riding four-game unbeaten streaks overall (2-0-2) and on the road (1-0-3), has outscored Los Angeles 6-0 in two home meetings this year. Two of Eddie Johnson’s team-high 14 league goals have come against the Galaxy, while two of Fredy Montero’s 13 scores have been in this series.
“They play well together,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said. “It’s certainly a dangerous duo.”