Sounders Solve Galaxy Puzzle
By MATT GASCHK
Sounders FC Insider
SEATTLE – For the last six matches, the LA Galaxy had been a “Boogey team” for the Sounders FC, according to Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid.
The Sounders last beat the Galaxy in MLS play on August 15, 2009, a 2-0 win at the Home Depot Center in the club’s inaugural season.
On Wednesday night with 39,002 fans at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders put an end to that hex, topping the Galaxy 2-0 to improve to 5-1-1 on the season with their third straight victory.
“It was good to get a win. It was good for us because sometimes you have a team that you call your, ‘Boogey team’ – a team that sort of gives you a problem and for some reason you can’t seem to jump over them. Like Chicago can’t seem to get past us right now,” Schmid said. “LA was that team for us a little bit, but we always felt we had confidence that we could beat them and today it showed.”
Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero provided the scoring for the Sounders while Michael Gspurning and Bryan Meredith combined on the clean sheet, as Gspurning left the match at halftime with a hip injury.
Seattle dominated the game’s first 45 minutes in every aspect, forcing Galaxy goalkeeper Bill Gaudette to make three first-half saves.
In the 23rd minute, it looked like it may all go for naught, though, as Johnson and Montero both had great opportunities stopped by the imposing LA ‘keeper. Johnson took the ball on the right side of the box, then cut to the middle for a left-footed shot from 13 yards out that Gaudette stopped at the near post. The rebound fell right to Montero who hammered the ball in stride only to have Gaudetted find his way into the ball’s path for another save.
In the 40th minute, Johnson finally put the Sounders out on top.
Mauro Rosales sent a tremendous ball from the right side, finding Johnson like a heat-seeking missile and Johnson snapped a header past Gaudette for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
“It was a perfect cross, I just wanted to get my head on it, and redirect it,” said Johnson, who scored on Saturday in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire. “The pace was already with the ball, and it was just a great ball by Mauro. It wasn’t hard for me because the cross was so perfect, but I’ll take it.”
Montero added to the lead with the type of style that has become his trademark since joining the Sounders in 2009.
Still looking for his first goal of the season and already being denied twice on attempts in the first-half, Montero carried the ball all alone on the right side, lulling the defense to sleep before dropping a 35-yard bomb over the out-stretched hand of Gaudette and under the crossbar for the 2-0 lead, putting the Sounders in control of the Galaxy as the second half got under way.
“That’s soccer, you know. Sometimes you don’t understand what happens to you, but this is the reality, and at the day I scored one goal and the team wins,” Montero said. “Three points is super important.”
As the second half progressed, the Galaxy were only able to get one shot on goal, a 62nd-minute shot by Landon Donovan that Meredith handled well for the save.
While the Galaxy held most of the second half possession, they couldn’t get more than that shot and Seattle held on for their fourth shutout of the season.
“It’s tremendous for Bryan Meredith to come in and keep a clean sheet for 45 minutes,” Schmid said. “I think he showed what I said last week, in that I think there are a lot of teams in this league he can be starting for. He’s a quality goalkeeper and we have a lot of faith in him.”
Both teams were playing the middle game of a stretch of three matches in eight days – and five in 15 days for the Sounders. The Galaxy opted to rest veteran players Mike Magee and Edson Buddle while leaving David Beckham and Robbie Keane behind in LA. Seattle, meanwhile, swapped out Adam Johansson for Zach Scott, who has been involved in all four Seattle shutouts in his five starts at right back this season.
The Sounders will host the Philadelphia Union (2-4-1, seven points) on Saturday at CenturyLink Field. It will be their only meeting of the season.
Sounders FC – Eddie Johnson (Mauro Rosales) 40; Fredy Montero (Osvaldo Alonso) 48.
LA Galaxy – None.
Sounders FC – None.
LA Galaxy – Marcelo Sarvas (caution) 34.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning (Bryan Meredith 46), Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 74), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, David Estrada, Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Alex Caskey 81).
LA Galaxy – Bill Gaudette, Bryan Jordan (Pat Noonan 71), David Junior Lopes, AJ DeLaGarza, Brian Gaul, Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Adam Cristman (Edson Buddle 53), Chad Barrett (Mike Magee 58).