Steven Gerrard prepares for first taste of MLS playoffs with LA Galaxy

Steven Gerrard

The Liverpool legend's Galaxy side face the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field in the one-match Knockout Round.

LA Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard will get his first taste of the MLS Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night when his side face the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field in a winner-takes-all clash.

Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City on the final day of the regular season dropped the Galaxy from second to fifth in the Western Conference, as they missed out on a bye through to next weekend’s Conference Semifinals.

Instead, a dismal run of just one win in their last seven league games means Bruce Arena’s men now face a mid-week trip to their conference rivals for a Knockout Round game, when they will have to find a way to stop the likes of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.

The whole situation is entirely unfamiliar to Gerrard, who has scored twice in 14 competitive appearances for the club since arriving in July at the end of his Liverpool contract, and he has been quick to look to his title-winning teammates for guidance ahead of the match.

Speaking to MLSSoccer.com before jetting off to the Pacific Northwest, the 35-year-old Englishman said: “A lot of players seem to be a lot more upbeat than myself, so maybe I need my teammates' help and guidance.

“I've been here three months and it feels like it's gone in a flash, and [the Seattle game is] 48 hours away now, so maybe I need some guidance from my teammates and people within the squad and the staff to show me the way.”

The Galaxy had looked like legitimate Supporters’ Shield contenders just two months ago after netting five goals for the seventh time in nine home games in a 5-1 thrashing of New York City FC, but their form has since dropped off in dramatic fashion.

Both Gerrard and fellow summer signing Giovani dos Santos have flattered to deceive over that period, including in a dismal 5-2 defeat to Portland Timbers earlier this month, although the Liverpool legend did produce a much more encouraging performance at Sporting KC when used further up the pitch.

“It was the manager's decision. He played me a bit more closely to Robbie and Gio, and I think tactically it worked very well,” Gerrard added. “I think on another night, with that little bit of care and attention to the last pass or the last finish, I think we could have scored maybe four or five goals. There was a lot of positives that have to try and take into Seattle, but [we're] trying to find that last little piece of the jigsaw.”

While the Galaxy’s regular campaign may have ended with a damp squib, their recent record against the Sounders suggests they have reason to feel confident going into the match.

As well as winning two of their three meetings this season and drawing the other, the MLS Cup holders have knocked Sigi Schmid’s side out of playoffs in 2010, 2012 and 2014, while most of the players that helped them claim an unprecedented third title in four years last term are still with the club.

Landon Donovan is the obvious exception but if Gerrard and Dos Santos can step up then, with skipper Robbie Keane also netting 17 times in his past 14 games, there is certainly no reason why the league's most successful franchise should not be competing in another final come December.

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