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Originally published September 19, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Page modified September 20, 2013 at 3:43 PM

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Sounders-Galaxy game to feature wealth of top names

Six designated-players. Nearly $19 million in combined salary. There haven’t been too many games in MLS history that can compare to the talent that will be on display in Sounders FC’s road game Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Saturday

Sounders @ L.A. Galaxy, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports

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The stars will be out Saturday. Call it the Constellation Cup.

Sounders FC’s game against the Los Angeles Galaxy will feature two talent-laden teams with nearly $19 million in payroll combined. Each boasts a full allotment of three designated players, and not in a long time — maybe ever — has so much individual talent been on display in an MLS game.

Clint Dempsey. Landon Donovan. Obafemi Martins. Robbie Keane. Eddie Johnson. Omar Gonzalez.

That group includes MLS Cups, World Cup appearances and dozens of international goals, and it doesn’t even include another DP in Mauro Rosales or Best XI honoree Osvaldo Alonso.

“I think when both teams are 100 percent healthy and everybody is out there on the field, arguably you could say from an MLS standpoint that’s about as much firepower as two teams on the field (could) have,” said Seattle coach Sigi Schmid.

“But at the end of the day, teams win championships, not individuals. Individuals are part of a team, and I think within that, (the Galaxy is) up on us a little bit. We still have to do that part of it. So once we’ve done that part of it, we can compare ourselves.”

The Sounders, strengthened by a five-game winning streak, sit atop the MLS standings, but Los Angeles still holds the best bragging rights with back-to-back MLS Cups.

Both have made the playoffs the past four seasons — Real Salt Lake is the only other team to do so — with the Galaxy beating Seattle in the conference finals last year and the conference semifinals in 2010.

Amid of the glut of standout individuals, L.A. coach Bruce Arena also preferred to focus on the collective.

“Neither of these teams has accomplished anything yet this year, so I’m not ready to put either one of us on a pedestal right now,” Arena said Thursday on a conference call. “We have to play this game, play out the season, see how our respective teams do, but both teams certainly have good talent and are obviously teams that have the chance to be pretty good later on.”

There are several subplots to the game, including Dempsey’s introduction to the power-packed West Coast rivalry. Since his return to MLS, this is his first game against fellow U.S. Soccer star Donovan and his first against Arena, who brought Dempsey onto the national team in 2004.

An interesting note for some, but Dempsey expressed no added significance this week.

“It doesn’t matter who you are,” said the forward, still seeking his first goal or assist. “If it was my brother, if it was my mom, it’d be the same — I’d want to win.”

MLS hopes this is the type of star-heavy matchup that can attract viewers in what Arena called “a very exciting time” for the league. NBC Sports Network will carry the national broadcast, adding even more significance.

“Hopefully it’s a good showcase,” said midfielder Brad Evans, another U.S. international. “Most of all, it’s just got to be a good game, (otherwise) it doesn’t matter if you have all that experience.”

Notes

• Donovan’s status has been uncertain throughout the week with an ankle injury, but Arena said the Galaxy is “planning on him playing.”

• Evans was a full participant in practice Thursday, a first since he suffered a calf injury Aug. 31 at Columbus.

• Arena called Dempsey’s MLS return “a well-constructed move, not only by Clint but the league, as well. I think it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Star studded
Saturday’s game between the Sounders and Galaxy will boast several players who have also featured for their respective national teams this year.
Player ClubNational team

Clint Dempsey

Sounders FCUnited States
Eddie JohnsonSounders FCUnited States
Brad EvansSounders FCUnited States
Obafemi MartinsSounders FCNigeria
Landon DonovanGalaxyUnited States
Omar GonzalezGalaxyUnited States
Robbie KeaneGalaxyIreland
Jaime PenedoGalaxyPanama
Star studded
Saturday’s game between the Sounders and Galaxy will boast several players who have also featured for their respective national teams this year.
Player ClubNational team

Clint Dempsey

Sounders FCUnited States
Eddie JohnsonSounders FCUnited States
Brad EvansSounders FCUnited States
Obafemi MartinsSounders FCNigeria
Landon DonovanGalaxyUnited States
Omar GonzalezGalaxyUnited States
Robbie KeaneGalaxyIreland
Jaime PenedoGalaxyPanama

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @joshuamayers

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