Buddle’s Goal Lifts Galaxy Past Sounders

For all the talk of the LA Galaxy slumping towards the playoffs, Bruce Arena’s club showed no signs of rust as they dominated a resilient Sounders team in the first leg of the Galaxy/Sounders playoff matchup.  The difference in the match was an amazing and surprising Edson Buddle goal in the 38th minute that caught Kasey Keller off his line and caught ESPN2′s JP Dellacamera and John Harkes by surprise.  But the story of the match was defense, in particular how LA handled Seattle’s strikers and allowed very few legitimate chances on goal.  Veterans Eddie Lewis and Omar Gonzalez led the way for a defense that helped Fredy Montero disappear in the second half and left Seattle desperately seeking a decent shot most of the match.

But before delving into the match itself, I want to touch on the incredible atmosphere in Seattle tonight.  As much discussion as there has been on MLS Talk about crowds and lack of people watching MLS matches on TV, the crowd tonight was Don Garber’s dream.  The place looked full and was very loud; although we should not expect any less from the excellent Seattle fans it was great to have an atmosphere in the playoffs that match the occasion.  I suspect we will see highlights of this match in many MLS promotional videos.

Both clubs came out seemingly tight, with both committing and creating turnovers that the other club used to create goal-scoring opportunities.  The pace of the half was excellent; both clubs went up and down the pitch and rarely did they keep the ball in midfield.  Seattle actually could have set the tone early as Zakuani finished off an Alonso shot that Ricketts had blocked, but Zakuani was ruled offsides.  If it would have counted, it could have drastically changed the outcome of the match as LA would not have been able to deploy its successful defensive strategy.

It was Edson Buddle that broke the scoreless tie in the 38th minute, a goal that could already be the best in the MLS playoffs this year.  The U.S. men’s national team striker collected a pass well outside the box, then turned and blasted a rainbow shot that went past the outstretched arm of Keller and into the top corner of the net.  While Keller was a bit off his line, the shot would have been near impossible to stop anyway, as it was perfectly hit.  The Most Valuable Player candidate showed why he made the final three for the award with the shot, and I suspect will make the ESPN rotation of highlights in a busy American sports day.

The second half was a repeat of this first for Seattle – numerous times the Sounders were able to advance towards the Galaxy net but could not find the quality or creative shot to tie the match.  In fact, looking at my notes for the match, there were very few obvious opportunities for the Sounders in the second half except for an occasional shot that was offsides.  A ton of credit should go to Arena’s gameplan but also the play of the Galaxy backline – Eddie Lewis, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, and DeLaGarza.  Because of them, Montero was an absolute non-factor in the second half and Nkufo, Zakuani, and later Jaqua were unable to create chances in the penalty area.  Even later on the match when desperation set in for the home side and Galaxy had a tired Beckham playing practically rightback (according to John Harkes), they still had no great chances on goal.

So Seattle has a huge task next week as they travel to Los Angeles down a goal.  They need to find a way to solve the Galaxy defense, something they were absolutely unable to do tonight.  However, considering the Galaxy’s form coming into the playoffs the number one seed is definitely fallible.

Share your thoughts on the match in the comments section or on Twitter @roberthayjr.

11 Responses to Buddle’s Goal Lifts Galaxy Past Sounders

  1. CA says:

    “Bruce Arena’s club showed no signs of rust as they dom­i­nated a resilient Sounders team in the first leg of the Galaxy/Sounders play­off matchup. ”

    “But the story of the match was defense, in par­tic­u­lar how LA han­dled Seattle’s strik­ers and allowed very few legit­i­mate chances on goal. ”

    Did you even watch the game?????

  2. Me says:

    “For all the talk of the LA Galaxy slump­ing towards the play­offs, Bruce Arena’s club showed no signs of rust as they dom­i­nated a resilient Sounders team in the first leg of the Galaxy/Sounders play­off matchup.”

    Seattle had 15/8 SHO/SOG to LAG’s 10/5. Buddle had a nice shot on frame that went in. Hardly a sign that LAG “dominated.”

    Seattle did a poor job finishing, always seeming to run into defenders instead of taking quick shots or cutting to the outside. Ricketts was solid in goal tonight.

    I won’t say that this would have affected the result, but Salazar continues to be a hack when he refs Sounders games.

  3. Robert Hay says:

    I would have to disagree with the disagreements about LA Galaxy’s domination. Think of domination not in terms of statistical domination but dictating play. The match was played by the Galaxy’s rules and Seattle tried everything to crack their defense. Nothing worked.

    Now, can Seattle come back and win this weekend? Yes. But they need to figure out a way to great better opportunities to score.

    • Charles says:

      Agreed it was played on LA terms. The central passing that Seattle has picked other teams apart with was no existant. they had to resort to bombing it downfield and hoping the speed would win…but LA matched the Seattle speed. Seattle had its chances for sure, but Seattle has played LA three times in MLS league action and have scored once.

      go Sounders. Robert if you have never been to a Sounder’s game that is too bad, it is the thing to do in Seattle. They always say Seattle brings the Europe atmosphere etc.
      I have never been to anything but WCup games in Europe, but watching on TV there is no comparison….very few in Seattle would ever sit down like they do in the EPL games I see on the tube, my ears are ringing and my voice is gone this AM.

      • Robert Hay says:

        Charles -

        I love the city of Seattle (admittedly have been only once) and I have made it a goal of mine to one day attend a match there. The city is outstanding and my kind of town, and I would love to experience the city’s passion for its team up-close. If nothing else, the costume selection in the crowd last night was an A+

        • The Gaffer says:

          Same here Robert. I was watching the match last night on ESPN2 and wondering whether I could convince my missus that I should take a trip to Seattle to watch a game there.

          I’ve been to Seattle a few times but long before the Sounders were playing in MLS.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

    • Eric says:

      Whoever wrote the article “phoned it in”. It was actually a very exciting game. Buddle’s goal was hardly one that is going to make any highlight reel. The reason LA won the game is real simple and can be explained with one name…..Ricketts. One of the best games by an MLS goalie for a big game. 2-3 point blank saves that under normal circumstances the score at the end of the game ends up 2-1 Seattle.

  4. Jeromy says:

    By no means did LA dominate the game, LA did a great job messing with the flow of the mid field for the sounders but the fact of the matter is Ricketts had an amazing night and the sounders did not finish there shot well or were just unlucky. That was there game and the scrappy/dirty play that was made by the Galaxy defense ie Dema Kovalenko apparently went unnoticed to the blind eye of Salazar. Sounder will take the next game!

  5. Dan says:

    Galaxy dominated because the Sounders played into their trap and everything they did the Galaxy let them do. Lots of little passing and nothing happened. Buddle’s goal was magnificent and the Sounders were lucky to escape only 1-0, Donovan should’ve had the 2nd goal if he only just shot it.

    I honestly don’t see anyway for the Sounders to come away now. Sounders have a less than spectacular away record and getting the result at Qwest was their only chance. I expect a 1-0 Galaxy or 0-0 result next week.

    • Jeromy says:

      Are you serious, Sounders luky that donavon’s shot didn’t go in? what about the first 30 sec’s when we got caught off sides, or freddy montero’s header, steve Zakuani shot that went off the post or that piss poor shot Jaqua had 6yrd from ricketts? Galaxy was the lucky team, and Dan check your facts we do good on the road and most of our road loss’s were at the begnining of the season Lundgberg era. it is proven that other teams like coming to qwest, they love playing infront of a LARGER then life crowd inspite it being a hostile crowd to them. Sounders are a VERY good road team (6w-7l 3d).

  6. CA says:

    “Think of domination not in terms of statistical domination but dictating play.”

    No, not really. Seattle was plenty capable of playing their game. Ricketts’ stellar shot blocking was what kept Seattle from scoring. Seattle had 10 shots, 6 on goal, to LA’s 7 and 3. Seattle had 7 corner kicks to LA’s 3.(from espensoccnet.com) LA did NOT dominate this game. To suggest so is utter nonsense.

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