Sounders Struggle, Dominate, Move One Step Closer To Shield


L.A. just seems to have Seattle’s number. The Galaxy eliminated Seattle Sounders FC in 2010 and 2012, and blew them out 3-0 in the Clink earlier this season.

L.A. Galaxy seemed determined to make the most of Landon Donovan’s final home regular season game, outplaying the Sounders for much of the match.

There was one dangerous attack in the first half put together by Seattle. It was primarily a fantastic individual effort by Obafemi Martins, who used his quickness and footwork amid three Galaxy defenders to send a bending strike that would have been straight into the upper 90. But L.A. keeper Jaime Penedo got a glove to it and pushed it just wide for a corner.

Sounders FC had no intention of taking it easy on Landon Donovan in his final home regular season match.

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Other than that, the Galaxy were in total control of the match. Through 50 minutes, the Sounders trailed 2-0, and controlled only 40% of the possession.

Both Galaxy goals could have been avoided if the Sounders defense were able to clear the ball. The first goal was allowed through especially poor defending in first half stoppage-time when Brad Evans headed an L.A. cross back into the middle of the arc for Baggio Husidic, who sent a bouncing shot out of the reach of Stephan Frei and into the bottom corner.

In the 50th minute, a near-post cross from Landon Donovan was deflected towards the middle of the box. Once again, Husidic had the ball land right at his feet. He then dropped off a short back-pass to Marcelo Sarvas who lifted the ball just over the diving Frei into the left side of the net.

Frustration set in early for the Sounders when Clint Dempsey and Martins had some choice words for each other mid-way through the first half.

Things looked bleak for the Sounders, and their hopes of a Supporters’ Shield were becoming dimmer and dimmer.

It would take a super-human effort the rest of the way for Seattle to get a result.

Their first goal was definitely super.

In the 69th minute, DeAndre Yedlin held the ball on the right wing for a few seconds while sizing up Landon Donovan. Then he exploded forward as only DeAndre Yedlin does and sent a cross towards Martins, dead-center of the box.

With his back towards goal, Obafemi flicked the cross straight through two Galaxy defenders to Dempsey who sat uncontested from about 8 yards away from goal. Clint Dempsey doesn’t miss those. He blasted it into the top of the net without much of an effort from Penedo, who knew he was screwed.

Oct 19, 2014; Carson, CA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC midfielder/forward Lamar Neagle (27) is mobbed by teammates after scoring a second half goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy to tie the match 2-2 at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Three minutes later, Dempsey found Martins with space in the middle of the field. Obafemi commands a lot of attention while running at a single center back, so L.A. left back Robbie Rogers chose to help cut off Martins, leaving Lamar Neagle to run free down the wing. Martins found him with a through ball and Neagle blasted it home.

The shot was straight at Penedo, and even deflected off his leg. But it was so close to goal and hit with so much force that he couldn’t react.

Both the Sounders and Galaxy weren’t willing to risk overextending their attack in the final minutes, but one other play of note did occur.

L.A. center back, Omar Gonzalez, took out Gonzalo Pineda’s legs dangerously, and well before the ball arrived. He was given his second yellow of the game. The ejection occurred in the 88th minute, so there was no effect on the match, but he is suspended for Saturday’s rematch.

Seattle Sounders FC needs just a tie in that game to bring home their first Supporters’ Shield.