By Money Mike
The Sounders finally snap their winless skid against the Los Angeles Galaxy with a 2-0 win Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 39,002 in attendance. With the win, Seattle climbs into third place in the Western Conference standings and remain six points shy of the first place San Jose Earthquakes with still a couple games in hand between the two. Seattle's next match is Saturday afternoon at 1pm against the Philadelphia Union here in Seattle. That game will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Seattle got it rollin' early in the match and put LA's weak backline under pressure. Mauro Rosales's free kick was intended for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and it looked like Chad Barrett got a head on it and goalkeeper Bill Gaudette came off his line to gather the ball. Gaudette is making his second straight start in goal for Josh Saunders who is suspended indefinitely after being enrolled in Major League Soccer's substance abuse and behavioral health program. In the 10th minute, Mauro Rosales made a cut outside of Bryan Gaul and whipped in a good cross to the six yard area for Fredy Montero who turned and tried to slide the ball through, but Bill Gaudette made a huge kick save.
In the 23rd minute, Mauro Rosales sent Eddie Johnson away down the right hand side. Johnson waited a couple of seconds for help to arrive in the penalty area before doing a scissors move to get past David Lopes. As help arrived, Johnson decided to go alone with his left foot which was spilled by Gaudette and Fredy Montero was there for the rebound, but somehow Gaudette was able to get a foot to that to deny Montero point blank.
The breakthrough finally came in the 40th minute as Seattle capitalized on some poor defending all around in LA's half. Mauro Rosales was left with loads of time and space and he whipped in a beautiful curling ball to the middle of the penalty for Eddie Johnson who beats two LA defenders for a snap header that probably should've been saved by Gaudette, but the ball ended up in the back of the net for Eddie Johnson's second goal in as many matches to give Seattle a 1-0 lead going into the break.
In the second half, the Sounders ended up making a change in goal. Michael Gspurning was replaced by Bryan Meredith after a hip injury that has been bothering him for about a week. So unfortunately, he was taken out and Meredith came on for his first MLS appearance.
In the 48th minute, Fredy Montero finally got on the score sheet in big way. Once again, no pressure on the ball from LA and Montero from 35 yards out hits an absolute belter for his first goal of the season that he's been chasing for seven games and quite possibly a top candidate for Goal of the Year, but more importantly, it gave the Sounders a 2-0 lead.
The LA Galaxy hoped to claw their way back and get something out of this match by bringing in Mike Magee and Edson Buddle and for most of the second half, the Galaxy had a ton of possession, but didn't really have anything to show for. In the 62nd minute, Landon Donovan tested Bryan Meredith from about 20 yards away with a left footed strike, but it was straight at Meredith. A minute later, Mike Magee tested him from about the same distance and a few thought it went in, but it missed just wide of the far post. That was the last real opportunity in the match for LA.
Another great turnout by the Sounder nation, that's 55 consecutive MLS matches that have been sold out here in Seattle since the Sounders joined MLS and I don't see that streak ending anytime soon. As a matter of fact, not in a long time. Because of the success this team is having right and the direction they're going in the future, fans will continue to pack the stadium and add to their streak of sellouts as Soccer in America continues to grow. Every year, the capacity for Sounder matches has increased. At the start, the capacity was around 28,000 in 09' and then the fan base started to grow and grow and it continues to grow, so now the capacity is around 39,000 now although there are four matches this season including the friendly match against Chelsea where they'll open up the entire stadium.
Former Sounder Pat Noonan made his return to Seattle since he was taken in the Re-entry Draft by the Galaxy last December. He came on for the last 19 minutes match and didn't really do a thing for the Galaxy because they were outplayed, outcoached, weren't fully prepared for this match. Landon Donovan had a disappointing night, Edson Buddle was unable to provide any spark to LA's attack, Sean Franklin had a disappointing night, Marcelo Sarvas came close a couple of times to getting a red card, Bryan Gaul had a rough night defensively, all night LA just couldn't find a way to click it into full gear.
I was a little surprised to see Bryan Meredith come on in the second half. I thought he did very well in his 45 minutes of work. Took a couple of touches at the start of the half, made a good stop on the shot from Landon Donovan, kept his nerve the entire half and he didn't look like was playing under a bit of pressure. Meredith made his Sounders debut in the final group stage match of the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League against Monterrey, mainly because Sigi wanted to rest Kasey Keller for the playoffs that time and Terry Boss and Josh Ford were on the DL. The reason he was out there as a backup to start the match was because Josh Ford is still out injured as well as Andrew Weber.
Gspurning underwent an MRI earlier today on his hip and it appears unlikely that he'll play Saturday in their home match against the Philadelphia Union. If he's unable to go, what I'm hearing is Bryan Meredith will get the start and a guy named Steve Spangler who recently played goalkeeper at Oregon State University will join the squad as an emergency backup.
Eddie Johnson had another terrific night, picking up his second goal of the season and hopefully his goal last night can put an end to all the critics about the Sounders trading Mike Fucito, who unfortunately is now with the Portland Timbers, and Lamar Neagle to the Montreal Impact to get Eddie Johnson. He's made a lot of progress getting back into goalscoring form and so far he hasn't disappointed. I can say now that the Sounders pulled off a good trade because of Johnson's performance recently and also because of his caliber which is much higher than Fucito and Neagle.
In case anybody who was at the game didn't notice, Leon Washington of the Seattle Seahawks was at the match. He does have a couple of pictures and videos from the match on his twitter page. Tony Ventrella caught up with him at halftime for a Sounders 1 V 1. Here's the video....
The Sounders have now won three in a row and continue to add to their best start in franchise history. Even though the Galaxy didn't put their strong team out there, it was nice to get that first home win against them out of the way. The Sounders are three points back of Real Salt Lake for 2nd place in the Western Conference with three games in hand and are six points back of the San Jose Earthquakes for 1st place in the West and if they can take advantage of those games in hand, not only can they take over first in the West, they can take over the top spot in the race for the Supporters Shield.
Seattle Sounders FC - Eddie Johnson 2 (Mauro Rosales 1) 40'
Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 1 (Osvaldo Alonso 1) 48'
Los Angeles Galaxy - Marcelo Sarvas (caution; foul) 34'
Los Angeles Galaxy - Bill Gaudette; Bryan Jordan (Pat Noonan 71'), A.J. DeLaGarza, David Lopes, Bryan Gaul; Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Landon Donovan; Adam Christman (Edson Buddle 53'), Chad Barrett (Mike Magee 58')
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning (Bryan Meredith 46'); Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 74'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, David Estrada; Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Alex Caskey 81')