CARSON, Calif. — The surging Seattle Sounders found some grit in the second half and shoved the LA Galaxy aside to collect a much-needed 4-2 win in brutally hot conditions before an announced crowd of 25,819 at the StubHub Center on Sunday.
Jordan Morris raced past LA Galaxy defender Daniel Steres in the 62nd minute, then slotted home a right-footed shot past Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe to give the Sounders the go-ahead goal. Morris had been largely quiet in the match prior to his breakaway, managing only one shot in the first half.
Morris found his stride in the later minutes of the match, as the Galaxy appeared to wilt. He doubled the Sounders’ lead in the 74th minute when he collected a loose ball inside the box and poked it past a sprawling Rowe.
The Galaxy dominated play for the first half hour of the match, outshooting Seattle 6-1, and finally broke the game open with a Robbie Keane header off a Sebastian Lletget cross. It seemed that the Galaxy, not the Sounders, would be the team to bring enough desire and form to the match to prevail on the day.
But as the heat started to slow down the game, Seattle managed to pull the game level on an own goal by Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme off a sharply struck Andreas Ivanschitz corner kick. It put Seattle on even terms heading into the locker room at half time, despite being outplayed for much of the first half.
The weather conditions were clearly a significant factor as the match wore on, with on-field temperatures at the kickoff hovering at around 100 degrees. Ultimately it would be the home side who wilted in the brutal conditions, not the visitors from the rainy Pacific Northwest.
Osvaldo Alonso finished off the scoring for Seattle with a cannon shot goal from 35 yards out that bent away from diving keeper Rowe and struck the side netting. With the three-goal lead, Seattle was celebrating en masse with traveling Sounders supporters, while the Galaxy had to endure a rare sight at the Stub Hub Center – fans leaving early, filling the aisles and heading to their cars with still over 15 minutes left to play.
The Galaxy managed to pull one back when late substitute Steven Gerrard drew a foul in the penalty area in the 84th minute. Robbie Keane converted, beating Stefan Frei low to the keeper’s right, for his second goal of the day. It might have been enough to earn Keane Man of the Match status, but after Los Angeles’ poor defensive showing, there was little reward for the Galaxy.
The win was crucial for the Sounders, who have now climbed to within two points of a playoff spot with four games to play. The Sounders now face a two-game week. They will host the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, before traveling to Vancouver for a Cascadia Cup showdown with the Whitecaps on Sunday.
The Galaxy saw a six-game unbeaten streak end, and surrendered second place to the Colorado Rapids, who hold two games in hand. The Galaxy will travel to Texas for a tilt against first-place FC Dallas on Saturday.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jordan Morris‘ two goals on three shots was easily the difference on the day, leading Seattle’s second-half surge.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Morris shoving aside Galaxy center back Daniel Steres to gain an open shot on goal, which he converted in convincing fashion, turned the tide of the match once and for all in favor of the Sounders.
MATCH TO FORGET
Jelle Van Damme, who has been one of the Galaxy’s brightest stars all season, allowed Seattle back into he match with his glancing own goal header in the 35th minute.