By JASON MITCHELL
SEATTLE –- Eddie Johnson ended a four-year scoring drought Saturday against the Chicago Fire. He only waited four days to find the net again, opening the scoring in the Seattle Sounders’ 2-0 victory over the shorthanded Los Angeles Galaxy Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field. A thunderous wonder-strike from Fredy Montero just minutes into the second half secured the victory.
In the 40th minute, midfielder Mauro Rosales sent a volley from 30-yards out toward Johnson, who had set-up just outside the keeper’s box with his back to the net. A slight, glancing header redirected the ball just enough to zip it past Bill Gaudette’s outstretched arms.
While the Sounders had more of the game and deserved its 1-0 lead at the half, it looked like the Galaxy might still find a way to escape Seattle with a point.
That was before Montero stunned the sellout crowd in the 48th minute, launching a rocket into the top left corner of the net from 35-yards out. It was the first goal of the season for Montero, who had come close numerous times on the season and is known to score in bunches.
The pair of strikes give Seattle, which has started slowly in recent years, a shimmering 5-1-1 record in the early-going and provide hope it might have finally found the one-two punch it has long sought upfront.
"I don’t think it’s going to be the last time you see us play a game where both Eddie Johnson and Montero score in the same game," said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. "I think this is the first of a few that are going to go that way."
The loss drops the Galaxy to 3-4-1 on the season. The defending MLS Cup champions started the season a sluggish 1-2, but were unbeaten in their last three matches at 2-0-1 and appeared to be rounding into form heading into the match.
"We can’t keep saying it’s early," said Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan. "We’ve gotten better, there’s no question, but we’ve gotta keep improving, and while we’re improving we’ve gotta start getting points. Saturday is a game that is very important now."
With a marquee match Saturday at home against the New York Red Bulls, Galaxy manager Bruce Arena opted to leave stars David Beckham and Robbie Keane at home.
"I think it’s a difficult week with the travel and playing on this surface," said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena. "We wanted to keep some players fresh for the game on Saturday. That’s decision I made. Whether it makes sense or not remains to be seen when we play on Saturday."
Donovan wasn’t looking to make an excuse out of the roster. "Historically we’ve done very well here with a mix of different lineups and personnel. This wasn’t a game we were out of by any means."
The victory at least temporarily ended the Galaxy’s dominance over the Sounders. Los Angeles had been 5-0-1 against Seattle in MLS play the last two seasons, including wins in both 2010 Conference Semifinals matches. The Galaxy were also 4-0-1 all-time in league play at Seattle.
Down 2-0, Galaxy coach quickly inserted Edson Buddle for Adam Cristman. Minutes later he also replaced Chad Barrett with Mike Magee. With substitutions made and the urgency of a two-goal deficit, the Galaxy was able to generate some possession throughout the second half, but created few scoring chances. Landon Donovan looked for the net from distance in the 62nd and 63rd minutes, but he struck his first shot directly at Seattle goalkeeper Brian Meredith and rolled the second weakly past the right post. Buddle’s lone shot sailed several feet high in the closing minutes.
The Sounders host the struggling Philadelphia Union (2-4-1) Saturday. Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning did not return to the field for the second half. The team reported he suffered a right hip injury in the first half.
Here are the match highlights:
Blame your manager for your weakened team! We don’t really care who we beat. Three points is three points.
Tune in the next time LA comes to Seattle.. 60K expected//ie; Sounders Stadium
I would be more worried about players getting hurt from tackles in the MLS than I would about getting hurt on the turf.
There have been far more injuries on the field because of tackles than because of the turf. Clearly people commenting on it have never played on it, because it isn’t like the old days with a layer of carpet on top of cement.
Arena’s decision was god awful. opting to not have beckham or keane was bad enough, i don’t care if you play on saturday too. then, you also sit magee?! it just makes no sense.
he should have gone out to win in Seattle, especially knowing NY is weaker than Seattle right now.
I hate to respond for someone else but he means artificial when he said “fake”. Like if you get a christmas tree that is not real, but fake, aka artificial christmas tree.
thank god, i thought i was the only one that notice that. Maybe 4 years since an MLS goal…..
your GK was a stud last night, nice excuse. all teams miss starters for games, for instance seattle was missing zakuani, fernandez, johannson and gspurning for half the game. stop making excuses, LA was horrid last night and deserved to lose by more than they lost by. besides your A team has been just as bad this year
seriously what is this fake turf people keep talking about?
what is fake turf? please elaborate
great goal, horrid defending. Montero would never get that sort of space in a match with average defending
LA had 4 starters playing, our GKs first game, both our fullbacks haven’t played this season, one ever. LA was an absolutely B or even C team last night, when Seattle beats the first team then they can talk
It’s not fake ben, it’s real turf. I have it on good authority.
The Sounders need their own stadium. The fake turf crap is horrid. Professional soccer should never be played on fake turf and I know the story about there brutal weather conditions is the reason for artificial turf. It’s dangerous for the players and changes the composition of the game drastically.
Even if LA had there starters playing, they probably would have lost. LA is one the worst team in the league and have million dollar guys who haven’t proved anything this season.
Or he had absolutely or respect for the Sounders, who had been embarrassing against LA for some time, or he didn’t his better players getting hurt on the fake turf.
If anyone made it to this comment without watching Fredy Montero’s goal in the highlights (start at 4:54) go back up and watch. Ridiculous goal.
Or he respects Backe’s genius and the c-team squad he’ll be rolling out on Saturday.
Arena’s “long term plan” stinks of pandering to ESPN. Why the F does he bench Keane and Magee (most of the match), and trot out Gaul and effing Adam Cristman against a powerful Western Conference rival? Because we play NY on Saturday and it’s broadcast nationally. Horse sh*t.
Doesn’t matter – every LA loss gets an asterisk/excuse.
Including Zakuani, Seattle was missing three starters too….another 1/2 if you count Gspurning being taken out.
Also scored for Preston North End about a year ago but they came back and called it an own goal on the keeper…his header hit the inside of the post and glanced off the keeper… he created the whole thing though…
Not to nitpick, but Eddie Johnson’s scoring drought was not four years long. He scored five goals for Aris in the 2009-10 season.
Especially not by the LA Galaxy Reserve Team. That was more than half of the lineup the Galaxy used in its last reserve game. They would have done better using the Academy players who actually sparked the reserves to victory then.
Skeeter is not a good commenter
A healthy roster in Seattle won’t be stopped.
l.a. is not a good team