Sounders 2 Galaxy 0
The Seattle Sounders FC, as a team, have had a problem with the LA Galaxy from the moment the side moved up to the MLS. Seattle has faced LA in the regular season and the playoffs, losing so many times that Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid must believe that LA head coach Bruce Arena has a Sounders voodoo doll somewhere in his possession.
On paper, the Galaxy were traveling to Seattle for last night’s game with a weaker than normal team. All world midfielder David Beckham stayed in LA, presumably to continue watching the Lakers in the playoffs. Joining him in LA, although maybe not at the basketball game, was forward Robbie Keane.
Even with those holes, LA hasn’t usually had a problem with Seattle. Two years ago, the Galaxy beat the Sounders 4-0 without Beckham. LA still had forward and team captain Landon Donovan, arguably the best American soccer player, and I never discount a reserve starting in place of the big name. After all, we’ve all heard about the second-string player getting his chance to shine when the first string player takes a day off, haven’t we, Wally Pipp?
Seattle started strong, attacking the Galaxy defense and dominating the first 45 minutes. Forward Eddie Johnson scored his second goal in two games on a basic run behind his defender and heading in a beautifully placed cross from midfielder Mauro Rosales.
While Johnson has been heating up, his forward partner Fredy Montero has been snake bitten in the worst way. Perennially a golden boot candidate, Montero came into the game on a scoring drought worse that the dust bowl during the Great Depression.
It’s not that he hasn’t been shooting or even missing badly. No, Montero’s had some beautiful shots that would have been in the back of the net normally. I don’t know if it’s bad luck or karma but lately Montero seems to be bringing out the best of the opposing keepers.
It looked like the same story again, as two sparkling efforts by Montero early on were stopped on amazing plays by LA keeper Bill Gaudette. That is, until the 47th minute. Just after the halftime break, Montero got the ball from midfielder Osvaldo Alonso around midfield. He turned and found himself with acres of space.
From about 35 yards out, Montero unleashed a corker of a shot, a goal that should be in the running for goal of the year, never mind the week, to break his scoreless streak. It’s impossible for me to watch it without my jaw dropping and my spine tingling. That is a shot you won’t see very often.
For that amazing shot and for breaking his season-long scoring drought in the most spectacular way ever, Fast Fredy Montero is my “Man of the Match.”
A close second in the running is Sounders defender Zach Scott. Scott has gotten better over the last season and against LA, he completely shut down Landon Donovan. Scott’s best moment may have been after the match when he was asked about playing a less than full strength Galaxy team and replied, “No, that’s their problem. I don’t care.” That’s the kind of attitude I like to see in my teams.
Seattle’s defense has been strong, allowing only three goals so far this season. Of those, one was a penalty kick, one was a weird, wind-aided corner, and the other was a goal of the week. If Seattle’s defense stays strong and Montero and Johnson continue to heat up the offense, this could be the year for the Sounders to break another drought—the MLS playoffs and Championship.
Getting three points against LA, full strength or not, the win takes Seattle to 5-1-1 with 16 points while dropping the Galaxy to 3-4-1 and 10 points.
Seattle continues a packed month of May by welcoming Philadelphia on Saturday, May 5, 2012.
Photo Credit: Jane G Photography