LA and Seattle Settle in Marquee Matchup

Both teams missing their star player play to a 1-1 draw as the playoffs inch closer
by Jamie Pham   |   Monday, September 23, 2013

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

CARSON, Calif. – The anticipated matchup between Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey was nixed before the game even started, as Dempsey did not travel with the team to Southern California due to a hamstring problem and Donovan was ruled out (left ankle injury sustained in last week’s game against DC United). 

Since signing Dempsey, Seattle had gone 7-1 in its last 8 games but it entered to StubHub Center winless in its last 6 games (0-5-1) against LA. To add to their woes against LA, Seattle had not scored a road goal in 364 minutes with their last goal coming way back in 2010.

That was until Saturday night when the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders settled for a 1-1 draw.

Seattle started a little bit off, as they could not get anything going in the midfield. The LA defense went with a high line that was very dangerous as Obafemi Martins was flagged a few times for being offsides but was very close to breaking away.

Gyasi started things off in the 19th minute with a shot at the top of the box that would have gone in if it weren’t for Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning’s fingertips.

Though, he has not been able to find the back of the net a lot this year, Zardes has had an abundance of chances which is great but he still needs to work on his passing. A couple of his crosses and passes could have easily resulted in shot on goals for Jose Villarreal and Robbie Keane but he just could not get the ball to them.

Eddie Johnson broke Seattle’s scoring drought in the 25th minute when he headed in a corner kick. Replays showed he was wide open because Omar Gonzalez got picked leaving Johnson open for the shot.

“(Johnson) pushes me, I try to catch up, and then I get picked and he runs free,” Gonzalez said. “It was a good play for him, and there was not much I could do after I got picked.”

Johnson almost scored again in the 39th minute but LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo was able to get to it this time. There were a few more really good scoring chances for Seattle but just like the Galaxy, passing in the box was inconsistent and a few crosses went over everyone.

Juninho was able to tie the score off of a free kick at the top of the box as he curled the ball over the wall and down towards the bottom left of the goal. It was also his 1st goal of the year. ,

Both teams had chances to take the lead in the 2nd half but could not capitalize on any of their opportunities.

Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho took control of the midfield and distributed the ball fairly well and even got a few scoring chances on their own as Sarvas had a few balls shot that went just wide of the goal.

Gonzalez headed in a corner kick in the 60th minute but it was waved off due to an apparent foul on Todd Dunivant. Dunivant was merely setting a screen for Gonzalez to get open which was similar to the one earlier in the game by Hurtado but that did not get called.

"It was a physical game and the referee decided in the 1st half not to call anything and then in the 2nd half, in the last 15 minutes, he called everything,” Arena said after the game. “So it was a little inconsistent at that end, but having said that, it was a fair game, hard fought, 2 good teams.”

There were a few close calls right at the end of the 2nd half when Seattle was down to 10 men because Zach Scott got his 2nd yellow card of the evening when he pulled down Laurent Courtois just outside of the box.

Courtois decided to take a shot on goal that sailed over the bar instead of curling it into the box.

Zardes had a chance a few minutes later when the ball was bouncing around the box. He gained control of it and fired it into the side netting.

“Yeah, it was a little off. Things weren’t falling. A lot of balls into the box, a few ricochets here and there, but they just didn’t fall for us,” said Keane. “It’s just one of those things. But we played well. We’re certainly the better team. It’s a game obviously we wanted to get three points but we didn’t.”

I wouldn’t say missing Donovan was a big factor in the draw, but it did show the lack of chemistry between Keane and Villarreal/Jack McBean. LA had their chances to get their 2nd goal of the night but couldn’t do it. A big factor for the Galaxy was how Villarreal seemed unsure and not confident every time he touched the ball.

Zardes is getting better on the left flank stretching out the defense and creating opportunities for him but he needs to work on his passing more.

As of this writing, the Galaxy are currently in 4th place with 45 points and have 5 more regular season games to go.

NEXT UP: September 25 – CCL: LA Galaxy vs. C.S. Cartagines, Estadio José Rafael Fello Meza Ivankovich, Cartago, Costa Rica. 10 p.m. EST, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Soccer 2 Go.

Jamie PHAM

Pasadena City College
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Former tour manager turned sports blogger, Jamie spends loads of time reviewing the Los Angeles sports scene and is a big MLS and USMNT supporter.