Galaxy and Sounders battle to draw in Western Conference showdown

September 22, 2013

Carson, Calif. -- The Galaxy and Sounders faced off Saturday night amid the pre-game hype of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey potentially squaring off in an MLS match that had important implications for the approaching playoffs.  Unfortunately, neither Donovan nor Dempsey, the leaders of the U.S. National Team, would play in front of the packed crowd at the StubHub Center due to injury.

Los Angeles got the first chance to score when a loose ball found the feet of Gyasi Zardes in the 19th minute, but his shot to the far corner was tipped over the goal by Seattle’s Michael Gspurning.

The game between these two Western Conference rivals usually brings physical play and fouls, and this matchup was no different.

In the 25th minute, Seattle earned a corner-kick, leading to some shoving in the box.  Eddie Johnson was being marked by Omar Gonzalez until Gonzalez was picked by Sounders players.  Johnson consequently found himself open and was able to head in the ball for a 1-0 lead past Jaime Penedo.

Later in first half stoppage time, the Galaxy earned a free-kick from 25 yards away at the center of the pitch.  Juninho, who had not scored once in 2013, stepped up for the free-kick.  His shot went over the top of the wall and quickly dropped, finding the bottom corner of the goal for a 1-1 tie.

The score was not only Juninho’s first goal of the season, but also the Galaxy’s first goal from a free-kick in 2013.

The second half brought fouls, yellow cards, and a red card for Seattle’s Zach Scott.

After the game, Bruce Arena stated there was "inconsistent" officiating, as the first half had few calls and the second half was full of calls.  Despite the physical and chippy play, the Galaxy had many chances to score.

In the 60th minute, LA actually did score when a free-kick was headed by Gonzalez towards goal and Zardes scored.  However, the referees inexplicably called a foul against LA on the play, which was difficult to understand given how Seattle scored in the 25th minute with its physical tactics.

In the 77th minute, the Galaxy’s Laurent Courtois made one of his dazzling plays as a second half substitute when he escaped from his defender and played the ball forward to Sean Franklin.  Franklin pushed the ball up field and passed off to Marcelo Sarvas at the top of the 18-yard box, but Sarvas’ shot was too high.

Seattle responded by nearly winning the game in the 84th minute when a fantastic run with the ball by Brad Evans was crossed in, only to have the ensuing header go just wide.

Although LA gave a valiant effort in stoppage time to push for the go-ahead goal, the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Galaxy have five games remaining in the MLS season and currently sit in fourth place in the West.  LA is five points behind Seattle, who they must face in the Pacific Northwest for their final game.  Next week, LA travels to Portland for another important game.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for The Daily Sports Herald

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