NEWCASTLE, England (AP) – The timing of Sunday night's marquee matchup with the Los Angeles Galaxy isn't ideal for the Seattle Sounders.
The Sounders are in the midst of a difficult stretch as they host the Galaxy in a matchup of teams enjoying five-game MLS unbeaten streaks.
Seattle (9-5-7) won 3-1 at home Thursday over Caledonia AIA of Trinidad and Tobago in a CONCACAF Champions League match. The Sounders visit Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday in the U.S. Open final as they try to capture that trophy for the fourth straight year.
These teams are separated by one point in the Western Conference standings, although Los Angeles (10-10-3) has played two more games. The Galaxy also played Thursday, but the circumstances were different in a 5-1 exhibition loss to Real Madrid.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid didn't use top scorer Eddie Johnson against Caledonia, and wasn't ready to tip his hand on who he will employ Sunday.
"We've got a lot of games in a short period of time so we have to move some people around to make sure that we're fresh so our lineup against L.A. won't be the same as it was on Thursday, just like L.A.'s lineup won't be the same as they played against Real Madrid, I'm sure," Schmid said.
Schmid gave Fredy Montero starts Thursday and July 28 in a 2-1 win at Colorado. Montero, who has five MLS goals and added one against Caledonia, came on as a substitute in his previous two league contests.
Seattle is 2-0-3 in its past five league games while Los Angeles won 1-0 at FC Dallas on July 28 to improve to 4-0-1 in its last five.
The Galaxy are a far different team than the one that fell 2-0 at Qwest Field on May 2, when Johnson and Montero scored for the Sounders. That result was part of a season-high seven-game winless run for Los Angeles, which played without David Beckham, Robbie Keane and starting goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Those three are back now, with Keane emerging to total five goals and three assists during this five-game run. Landon Donovan, who returns Sunday from a suspension, has three and three in that span.
"The switch they have made in terms of pushing Donovan in front next to Robbie Keane - who was player of the month last month, so he's on fire right now - and Landon seems to be very comfortable up front so it makes them a dangerous strike team," Schmid said.
The Galaxy were thoroughly outclassed Thursday, but readily admitted they were not on the same level as the Spanish champions. They are anxious to get back in action against an MLS opponent.
"We want to do well against that type of team, but they play in another league and another world even," defender Omar Gonzalez told the Galaxy's official website. "(Seattle) is the game that matters and I wish that we wouldn't have even played that game."
Los Angeles was 3-0-1 in its four visits to Seattle before the May loss.