for this game

Seattle aims to inch closer to top spot vs. L.A.

Aug 3, 2012 - 9:28 PM Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Seattle Sounders FC will be looking to close the gap at the top of the Western Conference table with three points against the Los Angeles Galaxy at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.

With the first-place San Jose Earthquakes out of action this weekend, the Sounders will be hoping to take advantage and move to within seven points of top spot.

Seattle enters the match in good form having taken five points from its last three league contests, but it was the club's impressive 3-1 over Caledonia AIA in CONCACAF Champions League play mid-week that may have left a lasting positive impact.

Rookie Andy Rose played the starring role in that affair, grabbing a goal and adding two assists to put the Sounders in good stead heading into their crucial weekend tilt with the Galaxy.

"You need that first goal to really settle down and once we got that it felt like we started to dominate possession," the midfielder told the club's official website. "Overall, I thought it was a pretty impressive first half."

After the match, head coach Sigi Schmid spoke about striking a balance between putting in a good shift and planning for a congested fixture list in the coming weeks.

"For us right now we're in a tough stretch of games. So a little bit of it was, 'Let's get the win, let's manage the game, let's not kill ourselves,'" Schmid said. "It was great that we got the early goals and we had a three- nothing halftime lead, so as a result the work we put in the second half was not as great as the work we would have had to put in if we were tied or if we were trying to make up the deficit. So from that standpoint it was good."

Sunday's match should prove to be a strong test for the Sounders though - the Galaxy enter the match one of the hottest teams in MLS.

Los Angeles is 4-0-1 in its last five league games, claiming 13 points by a combined score of 13-6.

Three points in Seattle would be massive for Bruce Arena's side given how tight the playoff picture has become in the Western Conference.

The Galaxy occupy the final postseason berth, sitting fifth in West on 33 points. Seattle is tied with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on 34 points apiece, while Chivas USA is hot on the Galaxy's heals with 26 points and three games in hand. The Goats, who are not in action this weekend, will have four games in hand after the weekend fixtures conclude.