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Galaxy cruises past Sounders to earn place in Western Conference final



The Seattle Sounders entered the playoffs as the hottest team in MLS, but with a dominating performance on Sunday, the Los Angeles Galaxy proved that it was still the team to beat.

The Galaxy advanced to the Western Conference Final for a second year in a row after a 2-1 victory over the Sounders on Sunday night at the Home Depot Center. Edson Buddle and Omar Gonzalez scored to give the Galaxy a 3-1 aggregate in its series with the Sounders. Seattle pulled one back late in the second half off a goal by Steve Zakuani. The Galaxy will now host FC Dallas on November 14th for a berth in the MLS Cup Final.

"We played very well in the first half, but in the second half, we were a little sloppy and if we were a little smarter and sharper then we could have gotten the third goal," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "In a game of this magnitude and at this time of the year, I'm certainly pleased with [the game]. "

The Galaxy put in a great deal of pressure on a Sounders team that appeared tentative out of the gate. Los Angeles opened the scoring the 19th minute after Buddle headed in a corner kick ball by David Beckham. It was Beckham again, who provided the service on the second goal, on a free kick in the 27th minute. This time it was Gonzalez on the receiving end who was a step faster than the Sounders defense and headed the cross into the back of Kasey Keller's net.

Los Angeles got a bit of a scare late in the second half when Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez caught Donovan Ricketts in the midsection. Ricketts was down for around three minutes, but the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year was able to stay in the match. The Galaxy defense was strong throughout and successful in closing off space and preventing Seattle from utilizing their wide players.

"Zakuani and Nyassi were playing well and we knew that if we took that away from their game that we would beat them," said Landon Donovan. "We heard for a week before we played them up there about how happy that they were to play us in this series and my guess is that they probably have different feelings now."

Seattle struggled throughout the match to find any rhythm on offense as Fredy Montero and Blaise N'Kufo were unable to find service for long stretches of the match. In addition to Montero and N'Kufo, the Sounders flanks were increasingly out hustled by a cagey Los Angeles defense. Seattle did not control a considerable amount of possession until Alvaro Fernandez came into the match for Nyassi at the start of the second half.

With Fernandez in the match, the Sounders were able to control more of the second half possession. The Sounders broke through in the 86th minute when Zakuani scored the Sounders first playoff goal. Zakuani broke free of the Galaxy defense and fired a shot that beat a slow-reacting Ricketts. The Sounders have now been eliminated in consecutive years in the first round of the playoffs and remain winless in post season play. For Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, it is clear that his team is still a work in progress. 

"We have to become better and become hardened, we need to play with a discipline and a craftiness that [the Galaxy] have that we don't," said Schmid. "We have to mature as a team and that would allow us to make better decisions."

The Galaxy turns its focus to FC Dallas, who they will host next week at the Home Depot Center. The clubs are quite familiar with one another having only played two weeks ago, a match that the Galaxy won 2-1. Just one win away from returning to the Cup Final, Buddle admits that the club is looking to get a victory next week to have their shot at redemption in the MLS Cup.

"Last year's experience has helped us this year," said Buddle. We've been here before and we're hungry to get to get back to the finals and finish the job and I can definitely feel that in this locker room." 


  1. @Andy – I agree with there. I was thinking earlier in the season that an extra 2 spots would be nice for CCL teams. But maybe it won’t matter next year with the reserve league starting up and rosters expanding to 30.

    As for teams being affected in the playoffs, I can see that Columbus seemed to get worn out. Their form really fell off at the end there. But RSL didn’t really seem affected at all. And I do know that my Sounders didn’t really start to get hot until Open Cup and CCL play started up. It seemed like 2 matches every week made them better oddly enough. Only after CCL and OC ended and they were back to 1 match a week did it seem to affect their form.

  2. It meant something when your team was in it. Remember? All the Treble talk? Then you get bounced and it means nothing? If you get bounced by Dallas does that mean MLS Cup means nothing?

    Anyway, congrats to LA. Becks was MOTM in my opinion. Can’t really see LA losing to anyone at this point.

    And as for the talk about the Sounders being happy to be drawn with LA…. Don’t really know what Landy was talking about. But NOBODY was happy with that draw. Some fans (and players) were happy that Landy and Becks were playing together in Seattle for the first time. And the team wanted a shot at redeeming themselves after being swept during the season. Also, the team figured that either way you drew it up, you would eventually have to go through LA to win the cup. And that’s about it.

    But in NO way at all were Seattle thinking LA was gonna be a walk in the park. So again, don’t really know what Landy was talking about. Pretty sure he doesn’t either. Sorry some fans wanted to see you and that some players wanted to play against someone of your caliber. It was an overall compliment to your team and stature.

  3. It’s definitely a combination of the ridiculous arrogance of Sounders fans combined with the mind-numbing media slobber that covers them which makes them hard to stomach. Those moss-covered losers may not find LARS “interesting”, but like a friend said, it took them longer to make that idiotic banner than it did for LA to drop 2 on them. Well done.

  4. You are right Steve…AJ has been superb in the middle, and he has been just as good on the right and almost as good on the left.

    It is Franklin who is scaring me in the back now…and this from somone who thought Franklin had a shot at South Africa before his injury.

  5. *THEY’RE* Anyways, Keller did look old and slow as balls on the field. I was surprised he didn’t stop that Delagarza goal.

  6. Agree, I think he’d do well too. He wouldnt lead the EPL in goals or anything, but he’d put a few in the back in the net if given the chance. Really, his only downside is his age, but you’d think he has 3-4 good years still.

  7. Que the crying & whining from the Flounders bandwagon. It’s nice to see arrogant pricks lose.

    And who cares about Seattle’s support. Seriously? Does ESPN want to keep bending over for them? I was sick of seeing clips of them every 5 mins.

  8. no. their gonna extend his contract for at least another year. its cool though because Marcus Hahnemann clearly wants to comeback and play for Seattle. The only thing is that he’s out of contract after this season and might consider joining up with either vancouver or portland, but his preferable choice would be seattle.

  9. your predicting an epl manager would rate him higher then what im rating him? what may i ask am i rating him my fellow basement blogger, lol?

  10. True fan or not, the attentive observer notes that Galaxy never lose this year when they take their opponent seriously… period. Early season RSL the only aberration, caused by a bad offside (non)call.

    They do need to take a lesson from their RBNY home loss though, a week or two after having dominated them at their place. If they bring that kind of effort next week, Dallas will complete its sweet 1-2 punch of revenge.

  11. Freddy Montero did not show up. Never Mind the wingers. Montero just didn’t show up.

    Don’t expect the same from Ferreira. Its gonna be a whole different game.

  12. I don’t know. His game has peaked at 28 and i don’t think he could succeed without any particular stand out attributes on the premier level.

  13. I would imagine he would be. Hopefully with his maturity he’s learned how to take on the LB role more confidently on the National level. Whats this whole thing i’ve heard about him and Bob not being on the best of terms? Can anyone clarify that?

  14. I think the only telling indicator about who were the best teams this year, were the teams that were competing for the Com. Shield this year

  15. Which is why I’m a proponent of teams who qualify for the CCL and SupaLiga to receive 1-2 additional roster spots and $50k-$100k in extra cap money. Right now, qualifying for those competitions hurts your chances of winning the MLS Cup the next year; give them an extra player or two to keep things fresh and it balances the playing field again.

  16. Outstanding game last night with a superb atmosphere. Best game I have attended in LA this year. The Seattle fans played a big part in this with their sizable traveling support.

    Well done Galaxy. Omar and AJ were outstanding. Crisp ball movement in mid field and opportunistic finishing made the difference.

    Tough one next week, but we can take it.

  17. Since my team is out, I’m supporting the current USMNT. (So NO Bobby Convey or Wondo! Those San Jose twits need to wear the Stars & Stripes before I ever consider cheering for them.). Gonzalez’s goal and dance were sweet. Also I am happy for Buddle. He should be the MVP.

  18. What happened to AJ DeLaGarza? I don’t remember him being as good as he’s been the last couple weeks. He played exceptional last night.

  19. Next year is going to be FUN!

    Portland and Vancouver won’t be superb next year but they shouldn’t be terrible either, which means they’ll have a little punch to fight back in the rival brawls.

    East Coast is waiting to see it

  20. Take a look at the schedule tOC. How many other teams played 8 games between Oct. 2nd & this weekend? How many other teams played 8 games in September? How many other teams played 6 games in August?
    Crew Aug 6 Sep 8 Oct+ 8
    Sounders Aug 6 Sep 8 Oct+ 9 (one friendly)
    RSL Aug 6 Sep 7 Oct+ 7

    Dallas 5 5 & 6
    Galaxy 6 4 & 6
    Earthqakes 4 5 & 7

    I’ve got to expect playing an additional 6-7 games, two games a week, over the span is going to affect playoff performance slightly, especially with the smaller team cap this year.

    The beginning of August saw a 3 point difference between the Crew, RSL and LA for the Supporter’s Shield. I gotta give credit to all three teams that got knocked out for keeping it as close as they did.

    Not so much for NYPinkCows, no excuse there…

  21. +1, sometimes there’s a little arrogance on the Seattle fans comments that rub people the wrong I think…… but they do have good fan support though!

  22. You have semi-valid points about Seattle, RSL, and the Crew’s extra-MLS work, but consider…

    The Crew are the fourth best team seeded in the playoffs, with the third-lowest goal differential of all 8 teams going into the playoffs. They last played CCL on Oct 21… and a casual glance at that starting lineup shows none of Saturday’s starters started then.

    RSL has been in reasonable form during the latter part of the season. Last played CCL Oct 19… and a casual glance shows only two of their MLS starters started that match…

    Seattle last played CCL on Oct 19 and a casual glance would show they also only started two of their regular MLS starters.

    I don’t claim to say that injuries and wear and tear don’t take it out on players in extra matches, but you’ve gotta play to incur wear and/or get hurt…

  23. I was at the game tonight and really noticed the best part of Seattle are the fans. The fans cheered them on to the last whistle and that is very admirable.

    As a Galaxy fan, I really had no doubts that they would win. True Galaxy fans know that our team steps it up another level during the playoffs, the only thing that bugs me is the effort they give when they have a comfortable lead. It is necessary to play the entire 90 minutes or you risk losing. That should be common sense to these guys.

  24. Yeah, he’s not complaining about the DP rule as much I suspect he’s complaining about the DP rule as it applies to LD and Becks, with grandfathered this and deferred that, etc

    It’s a point but those guys make the league better, and it’s definitely not why we lost tonight.

    As for Portland, gloat while you can, because your team is heading for some serious expansion beat downs next season.

    No offense, but unlike Seattle and Vancouver, you’ve never won a championship at any previous level, so it’s hard to imagine you’ll jump right into the playoff chase. Best of luck to you.

  25. There’s no question LA was the better team. My Sounders still have some maturing to do, and need to get tougher. Congrats to LA. It’s their time.

    One interesting note: the three playoff teams that played the most games this season because of going deep into other competitions, all lost in the first round, and all looked tired doing it. Seattle, RSL, Crew. Just a thought.

  26. Wow…you are soo very good at sarcasm! I mean you must’ve been the person who invented sarcasm because look at you…using it like a champ!

  27. I’m ashamed of my Los Angeles Galaxy for not allowing Seattle to exhibit the beautiful game to the fullest. Seattle averages over 30K in attendance, the league should have just given them the cup for blessing us with their presence. I suppose I’ll just have to take consolation in the Galaxy playing in the Western Conference final, even if they didn’t deserve to advance over the total football that is Seattle.

  28. Last I checked the Flounders had 2 DPs and let a third go this year, yet you are complaining about the DP rule? Really? Really? Most teams don’t have one and with the huge number of customers your team has they could easily afford another of much higher caliber.

    See ya next year,
    Tom in Portland

  29. FCD vs LA Galaxy ??? whoever wins will obviously be the favorite to win MLS Cup

    it will get easier from here on out for FCD… RSL was #1 and LA was #2 so if they advance to the the championship i think it will be a cakewalk

  30. Sounders are a good squad and I think we’re better than San Jose, Colorado and Dallas.

    We’re not better than LA .. . . .because the MLS changes the rules to bring top player to NY and LA, like Beckham . . . and Donovan.

    That being said, we got beat. Specifically, we got beat (3-1) with the difference being two Beckham free kicks.

    I’ve been on the “he’s more of a marketing thing than a footballer” bandwagon for awhile. Pretty-boy earned his paycheck tonight.

  31. My Sounders made the second half pretty exciting, but clearly LA was the better team. Congratulations Galaxy and Galaxy fans. Go get em.

  32. LA is finally playing like they want it again. Mid season there was no enthusiasm. These last two matches have been 90+ minutes of grinding work from all 11. Well done boys.


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