Galaxy confident, Sounders hopeful after first leg

BuddleSeattle (Reuters) 

By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Los Angeles Galaxy's 1-0 victory at Qwest Field against the Seattle Sounders has set the Galaxy up for a comfortable second leg at Home Depot Center.

As for whether the win sent a message to the rest of the playoff field that Los Angeles is ready to lift the MLS Cup? Landon Donovan doesn't see it that way.

"We don't need to send a message. We've been the best team for two years, so there's no message to send," Donovan said. "We know that we're good and we've got to keep playing like this if we're going to get to the final."

It was the second home playoff game in Sounders history, and the second time at home in the postseason with the Sounders shut out.

"We're disappointed in the result. When you weigh the whole game, I thought we created more chances than they created," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "You take a goal where, hats offs to Edson [Buddle], but he just turns and hits the ball in the direction of the goal and it could go anywhere, but it went in. At the end of the day, right now, we're down at halftime 1-0 and have a second half to play in LA and everything is still possible for us."

Schmid said he'll need more from Fredy Montero (who got his green card Monday and immediately became a permanent resident of the U.S., thus freeing up an international roster spot for the Sounders) and Steve Zakuani, his top scorers. He wants to see Montero avoid the extra touch on the ball and not try too hard. And as of last night, it didn't seem likely that central defender Jeff Parke would be able to play this week after he sprained an ankle in the second half and had to leave the game.

While Seattle's depth will be tested, the Galaxy's depth has already proved to be impressive. Eddie Lewis was a surprise starter at left back for LA and he kept fleet-footed Sanna Nyassi in check, then marked Zakuani adeptly when the Sounders substituted for Nyassi and changed their look late in the game. 

For Seattle, it was a familiar story – Enough chances created, but no finishing.  

"For the most part, I think a draw might have been fair," Keller said. "We feel very confident with the results we have gotten on the road that we can go down there and get through this tie. It's a long ways from being over. And that's what I'm probably happy about. If you're going to lose, this is the way to lose. You lose 1-0 on a ridiculous goal and you have all confidence to go down there…We will do our best to make it happen."

Zakuani said the Sounders got away from their simplistic yet successful game plan of building from the back through the midfield and up to the forwards, with the wings getting wide. He felt the ball bypassed center midfielders Nathan Sturgis and Osvaldo Alonso too often, and that the chances the team generated were off set pieces.

"We never had our game going. In saying that, we still had a lot of chances," Zakuani said. "I think we could've walked away with two or three goals possibly. It's frustrating and we have got to get ready for next week."

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20 Responses to Galaxy confident, Sounders hopeful after first leg

  1. GSW says:

    Can anyone tell me why everyone seems to think that a 1-0 lead is insurmountable? This is the MLS where parity rules and THERE IS NO AWAY GOAL ADVANTAGE. All the sounders need is a one goal win to send the game into extra time. That is not impossible nor is it going to be a comfortable game for LA.

  2. k says:

    Yes, Seattle will attack as they always do and LA will sit back and hope to get lucky on a counter again. LA plays ugly but in this case it worked and Seattle will have to score and score first if they are going to change it and make LA actually play the game.

  3. Paul C says:

    played* ugly. Sit back and park the bus is not typical LA tactics. They got a lead, parked the bus, did a great job of it, and won the game.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I love watching tactical games like the one last night. Both teams intentions and game plans were clear and cut, and it was a chess match through out.

  4. Waterlewd says:

    I’m with Paul C here. Seattle was too predictable. All it took was two experienced players in Donovan and Beckham helping their fullbacks pressure and deny space on the wings and Seattle’s attack was stalled. And instead of putting on Fernandez for Sturgis to link-up play in the middle, Sigi brings out Nyassi…ummm, I thought Seattle was happy with the 1-0 loss at that point.

    BTW, LA had the best move of the match with Juninho breaking in on goal. But overall, LA wanted to prevent Seattle from scoring, and the “played ugly” label sounds like sour grapes to me.

  5. Dougs says:

    Why did Sigi go with the long ball tactic in the second half and forgo the midfield passing that brought us so much success in the second half of the season? Very frustrating to watch Seattle display such a lack of imagination in the second half. Zakuani pretty much summed it up that they never found there midfield passing game in the second half but I think that was a result of a conscious decision by Sigi to boot it up to Nate, Montero, and Nkufo. To place the blame solely on the players for not finishing shows a lack of willingness by Sigi to take responsibility for a failed tactical decision.

  6. Waterlewd says:

    As it stands, an away goal rule would be more benficial to Seattle. 1-0 to Seattle in the next leg brings extra time with or without away goals. 2-1 for Seattle would put Seattle through on away goals (but is extra time in MLS playoffs), so I’m kind of confused by what you’re saying.

    Consider that LA was playing for a draw last night, I’d say heading back to LA with a 1-0 win is comforting to LA. Saying LA is in a more comfortable position does not mean it’s impossible for Seattle to oversome the one goal deficit — that’s an illogical leap. Although, I’m unsure who is making that leap, besides the every quotable “everyone”.

  7. Smith says:

    Seattle is a very predictable team. It’s amazing they’ve done as well as they have this year and they are going to lose game 2.

  8. Neruda says:

    Keller will respect Buddle in addition to Becks and LD.

  9. Travis says:

    They really are not that predictable, that second half was not how we typically play. We typically can attack with speed down either wing and like to switch the ball. That second half was pure desperation, we are not a long ball team

  10. Fred Garvin says:

    I like Seattle’s chances in game 2.. LA has yet to win the West.. at this point it’s up in the air.

  11. Hopper says:

    So predictable were the Sounders that they were the hottest team in MLS after they sent Ljungberg packing.

    @Smith, you don’t make any sense.

  12. CA says:

    Official word out of Sounders camp tonight is that Fredy Montero has been awarded his green card, “granting him permanent resident status in the United States, effective immediately.”

    Ives doesn’t like links here in the comments, so just google it.

  13. Terry says:

    Once the players get on the field, they are on there own. I’m sure Sigi did not want to lob long balls in the second half. Put the blame on the players. The question of tackticks may be, does LA play the same defense first mentality, or look to score. If they open up, then they open up to the Sounders attack up front. Four players with speed or goal scoring ability. I believe LA will play an open game at home. If they do, then Seattle will have room to play. If LA does not open up and it becomes a stalemate, then the MLS needs to really re-think their home and home playoff structure.

  14. Lil' Zeke says:

    gah?

  15. joe k says:

    because the LA midfield is far stronger than seattle’s

  16. soccerroo says:

    How does Landon figure that LA has been the best team for two years? Last year they made it to the final but lost and were not Supporter Sheild or US Cup Champions. Yes they lead from the start to finish of this season but is less than a year.

    I can easily see Seattle beating them if the game is open and LA is not playing for the tie. It dose not mean they will but nothing is a lock here.

  17. Peterjh says:

    Away goals are not a tie-breaker in the MLS playoffs.

    If Seattle is ahead 2-1 after 90, it is tied 2-2 on aggregate and they go to extra time. It’s done this way so the higher seed does not feel as pressured to score in the first leg (ie, can play for 0-0) and give them a little nit of an advantage.

  18. Peterjh says:

    NVM, just read the posts a bit better. Need to have my morning coffee.

  19. Charles says:

    There are a lot of us that like baseball a lot on this site.

    Heck of a game last night btw.

  20. Colin says:

    So LA needs to either A) play the way Seattle wants them to, or B) MLS needs to rethink the playoff structure? How does this work?