CARSON, Calif. – Through 138 MLS matches, 10 MLS Cup playoff matches, 22 in the CONCACAF Champions League and 19 in US Open Cup competitions, the Sounders FC had never allowed a hattrick.
In a 20-minute stretch in the first half on Sunday against the LA Galaxy, that streak came to a screeching halt when Robbie Keane capped a half that saw him score three goals and one assist as the Sounders dropped their first result since March 30, ending their six-match unbeaten streak with a 4-0 loss to the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.
“They outplayed us. It doesn’t matter whether you lose 4-nothing or 1-nothing. It’s still zero points at the end of the day,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I don’t think anybody had a good game on our team.”
The Galaxy were the early aggressors in the match from the opening whistle and the Sounders were able to withstand that pressure until the 12th minute.
Keane carried the ball up the right side to get behind the defense, then crossed to defender Sean Franklin crashing the six-yard box for the first-time goal, his first of the season, to give the Galaxy the 1-0 lead.
Then Keane started his personal scoring spree.
In the 24th minute the Galaxy made it 2-0 off of a corner kick, one of seven corners they had in the first half. Landon Donovan played it into the box, where it ricocheted to Keane alone in the middle of the box and he rifled it into the net.
The Irish international would complete the hattrick with two penalties.
The first came in the 34th minute after Djimi Traore was whistled for a foul in the box while chasing down Gyasi Zardes on the left side. Keane stepped to the spot, and while his shot was stopped by Michael Gspurning, it was called back for encroachment and Keane converted the retake, putting it to Gspurning’s left while the Seattle keeper dove right.
Keane scored a second penalty in the 44th minute to complete the hattrick converting after Brad Evans was whistled for a foul in the box.
The field continued to tilt in LA’s favor in the second half, with the Sounders not registering their first shot until a Djimi Traore header in the 57th minute missed high.
In the 77th minute, the match saw a signature moment when Robbie Rogers entered as a substitute, making his debut for the Galaxy as the first openly gay male athlete in US professional sports, receiving a rousing ovation from the crowd of 24,811 at the Home Depot Center.
“It’s great. I talked to Robbie briefly before the game and it’s great that he’s back,” said Schmid, who coached Rogers with the Columbus Crew in 2007 and 2008. “I’m happy he’s back and we allowed it to be a nice night for him as we played poorly.”
The Sounders lost Shalrie Joseph to a second-half red card and will be without the midfielder in Seattle’s next league match, back at the Home Depot Center on June 1 to face Chivas USA.
“For us, the next game can’t be soon enough,” Gspurning said. “I think most of the guys would want to play tomorrow because that’s the only way you can make changes for the future.”
They will open the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in the third round on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Sounders FC – None.
LA Galaxy – Sean Franklin (Robbie Keane) 12; Robbie Keane 24; Robbie Keane (PK) 34; Robbie Keane (PK) 44.
Sounders FC – Brad Evans (caution) 43; Eddie Johnson (caution) 65; Shalrie Joseph (ejection) 87.
LA Galaxy – Gyasi Zardes (caution) 40; Omar Gonzalez (caution) 70.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Lamar Neagle 65), Servando Carrasco (David Estrada 65), Shalrie Joseph, Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson (Mario Martinez 72), Obafemi Martins.
LA Galaxy – Carlo Cudicini, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, AJ DeLaGarza, Greg Cochrane, Landon Donovan, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho (Robbie Rogers 77), Michael Stephens, Gyasi Zardes (Hector Jimenez 83), Robbie Keane (Jose Villarreal 73).