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Sounders focused on Los Angeles FC, top spot in West

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It will be a battle of teams at opposite ends of the playoff chase when the Seattle Sounders visit Los Angeles FC in a rare Tuesday matchup.

While the Sounders (17-7-7, 58 points) still have work to do to wrap up the top playoff seed in the Western Conference, LAFC remains on the outside looking in at the playoff field.

After making the playoffs in each of their first three seasons in MLS, LAFC (11-12-8, 41 points) is three points out of the seventh and final playoff spot in the West with just three games to play. The club will host seventh-place Vancouver Whitecaps next week then end the regular-season at the Colorado Rapids on Nov. 7.

LAFC was left lamenting a missed opportunity for three points Saturday after a 1-1 tie at Minnesota United FC. Cristian Arango continued his hot run with a first-half goal against the Loons.

Arango has six goals in LAFC’s last three games, and 12 goals in his 14 games with the club since he was acquired Aug. 2 from Millonarios in Colombia.

“The next two games are at home and really important,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “I told the players, ‘Keep going. You guys have stuck together when things haven’t been perfect. Let’s take that point (Saturday) and use it in a good way, make sure that point counts by the end of the year.'”

The Sounders are coming off an even more disappointing result, falling 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. Seattle has just one point from its last three games as Sporting KC has pushed to within three points of the Sounders’ lead in the West.

The Sounders went down 1-0 in the fourth minute Saturday, got even with a Nicolas Benezet goal in the 58th minute, but conceded on a counter by Sporting star Johnny Russell in the 79th minute against the run of play.

The Sounders have Tuesday’s game at Los Angeles before they play the Los Angeles Galaxy on Nov. 1 in their final regular-season home game. They end the regular season Nov. 7 at Vancouver.

The Sounders will play the key Tuesday matchup without midfielder Joao Paulo, suspended for yellow-card accumulation.

“You have to move on as soon as possible,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “Our focus now is to not dwell on (Saturday) and play against a tough LAFC team that wants to make the playoffs. … There are no easy games in MLS, so it’s going to be difficult.”

–Field Level Media

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