No disrespect to the New York or New England from the Eastern conference but the two best teams in the MLS this year went head to head again in the finals of the Western Conference. The winner of the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders 2 leg match-up will be a big favorite and should win the title. In leg one at the Stub Hub Center on November 23rd before a full crowd, the home Galaxy pulled off a 1-0 win in a thrilling, physical, close call game. There were many great chances by both teams even though Los Angeles played a better overall game.
Jaime Penedo came up huge in goal especially on a double save in the first half off of Matins and Dempsey back to back. A deflected goal by Marcelo Sarvis was the lone score. All the big names- Donovan, Keane, Zardes, Martins and Dempsey were held in check by the tough defense by each team even though Keane and Zardes had some early chances. Late sub Alan Gordon had a golden chance that was saved by goalie Stefan Frei late in the game on a point blank shot that would have made it 2-0 as every goal is huge.
Sarvis and AJ DeLeGarza played great games but both had to be subbed off with injuries and Leonardo was not even on the bench out with an injury. DeLaGarza set up the lone goal on a cross to Sarvis, whose shot deflected off of Chad Marshall for the only goal of the game. They have been getting treatment and hope to play on November 30th. The unsung players had to be Omar Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer and Robbie Rogers all on defense and Stefan Ishizaki on the right wing who controlled many balls and also hit the cross bar in the second half while Chad Marshall and Zach Scott anchored the Seattle defense. Scott was very lucky he didn’t get a second yellow card as he committed 5 fouls and a received a yellow card early but could have easily got another from the referee Kevin Stott by rough play on two other occasions. Brad Evans was solid in midfield for Seattle as was DeAndre Yedlin on defense even though he made a couple giveaways that could have proved costly. Seattle was missing key players Alonso (injury) and Neagle (personal matter) for the game.
Coach Bruce Arena of the Galaxy was very satisfied with his team’s play and the team is confident going into the next game said Landon Donovan. Donovan would love to go out with another MLS title as he is retiring at the end of the season.
Leg 2 of this playoff series is in Seattle on November 30th at 6pm PST and the Sounders need to win by 2 goals if the Galaxy scores at least one goal since away goals are a big factor. If the score is 1-0 at the end of regulation in favor of Seattle, there will be extra time and then a shootout if nobody scores. A tie at the end of regulation would give the Galaxy the win on aggregate goals. If the Galaxy wins this playoff match-up, the finals of the MLS will be back at the Stub Hub Center on December 7th at 12pm.
Playoff info, tickets and updates at www.lagalaxy.com