Donovan, Galaxy thrash Sounders

Galaxy_Sounders

 Photo by Jane Gershovich/JaneG. Photography

By JASON MITCHELL

SEATTLE — It was billed as matchup showcasing two elite MLS teams, but only one showed up.

The LA Galaxy came into the Emerald City on Monday night and ran the Seattle Sounders off their own field, scoring three first-half goals en route to a 3-0 romp in front of 39,304 at CenturyLink Field.

The Galaxy dominated from the start, combining beautifully and with verve, piling up chances through Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and Marcelo Sarvas. Donovan led the way with a goal and two assists. Sarvas added a pair of assists as well.

Gyasi Zardes, slipping into dangerous channels and pockets throughout the match, opened the scoring in just the eighth minute. Sarvas found Donovan streaking into the penalty area, and Donovan laid off a beautiful one-touch pass to Zardes, who easily beat Stefan Frei from the penalty spot for the 1-0 lead. It was Zardes’ sixth goal in his last seven matches.

Donovan doubled the lead just 10 minutes later, pouncing on a rebounded shot and finishing with a simple left-footed tap from point-blank range.

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena moved Donovan wide left to start the match, but the longtime U.S. international credited his performance more to mentality than formation.

“It was more about my demeanor and my attitude than anything,” Donovan said. “I had a good week in training. I felt like I hadn’t played well lately and that bothered me. I got myself to the point in early May where I was playing very well, and I was at the top of my game, and then the last month or so has been difficult for a lot of reasons and I think my performance dropped off, so I wanted to get back to getting to the top of my game and I felt that way tonight.”

Stefan Ishizaki capped the scoring in the 37th minute, tracking down a Sarvas through-ball on the counter and one-touching a right-footed shot into the far corner.

The scoreline could have been even more lopsided had the Galaxy—who outshot the Sounders 11-3 in the first half alone—converted a few good looks. Zardes nearly added a fourth goal before halftime, but Frei delivered a double-save to deny a pair of close-range shots. Ishizaki also nearly picked up a brace, forcing Frei into a diving fingertip save from 17 yards out in the 79th minute.

The Galaxy (8-4-6, 30 points) had an eight-game unbeaten streak snapped last week, but have now won three of their last four matches and have worked themselves back into the thick of the playoff hunt.

“We looked sharp and, you know, it’s midyear right now,” said Arena. “Everyone is still finding themselves. We’re just beginning to get our team on the field. After a half a season of misery, having to deal with the injuries and the absences and all that, hopefully we’ll get a little bit more of a solidified unit.”

The loss ends a six-game home winning streak for the Sounders (12-5-2, 38 points), who hadn’t lost at home since March 29.

The Sounders—missing defenders Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, and Leo Gonzalez to injury—looked pedestrian at best in defense, and discombobulated in attack. The Galaxy front line operated in acres of space throughout the first half, while the Sounders continually struggled to connect passes.

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, never afraid to blast his players after a blowout loss, generally took a diplomatic approach after the match.

“It’s just one of those things,” Schmid said. “We didn’t connect passes early in the game. They put a lot of pressure on us. We lost confidence in our passing early out of the back. We lost confidence in that, so we are lumping up 50-50 balls. We lost a majority of the duels in the game. As a result of that, they had more (goals). So today they were better.”

Schmid’s players were not so easy on themselves.

“That was one of the worst (45 minutes) I can even remember playing,” said veteran defender Zach Scott. “I think from top to bottom there wasn’t a single guy who could say they played anywhere near their potential.”

The hosts didn’t manage a shot on target until the 59th minute, when Dempsey created space for himself and took a 16-yard, left-footed shot that goalkeeper Jaime Penedo easily corralled.

“Letting in three goals is ridiculous,” said Scott. “I’m embarrassed.”

Both teams are back in action on Saturday. The Sounders visit the San Jose Earthquakes (5-8-5, 20 points), while the Galaxy host the Portland Timbers (6-6-9, 21 points).

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56 Responses to Donovan, Galaxy thrash Sounders

  1. Dinho says:

    Ouch

  2. Btown says:

    Absolutely dominating performance from the LA Galaxy. Here are my takeaways:
    -Rogers is coming into his own as a LB. Defends well, has good positioning, has the technical skills to really get himself out of most situations that other LBs in the league would just bomb up the field, and still has great pace when he ventures forward. As others have said, if he keeps it up he can definitely play himself back into the national team as a converted LB (like Beasley).
    -Gonzalez looked like a DP quality defender tonight. Dominated the aerial game and kept Dempsey quiet all game. Doesn’t hurt when he can partner up with his best buddy, Delagarza.
    -LD/Keane/Zardes/Ishizaki gave that Seattle defense problems all night. Great interchanging runs kept them guessing all night.
    -If Zardes keeps working hard he is without a doubt gonna be looked at for the USMNT. Has all the physical tools and is now finishing more consistently and making the right runs. Watch out world.
    -With all that said, Seattle looked mighty flat tonight. Backline looked lost, Alonso was horrible with his distribution and kept getting dispossessed, and everyone else in midfield looked invisible. Dempsey looked like Dempsey: Few glimpses but couldn’t do much without any service. And finally Yedlin looked average; positioning was fine but was physically getting owned by Zardes and Keane, and didn’t provide anything going forward. Crosses were also poor. Needs to step it up ASAP or he’s gonna find himself riding the pine at Roma (if that’s where he ends up).

    • Joamiq says:

      I really like the idea of Rogers at LB. Makes a lot of sense with his skillset, and it’s good to see him doing well there.

      • quozzel says:

        Kinda fascinating what Arena did with Rodgers…honestly, looked like he cribbed a page from Jurgen like JK did with DaMarcus Beasley…take a pure speed guy with (cough) limited dribbling and finishing skills and convert him to wingback, and it gives you a guy with catch-up speed and an extra (if somewhat erratic) extra winger who can rampage forwards, give you an extra guy in the attack, and a whole lotta extra width.

        Definitely the modern game. I wonder if Rodgers is really USMNT material, though…not typecasting gays or anything, but Rodgers has always seemed a little…sensitive. High-strung, excitable, and prone to lapses at bad moments, and not overly great in clutch moments…and this dates back to before he came out even with Columbus. His skillset is probably as good as Run DMB’s, but DaMarcus Beasley was always a grounded cat, not real excitable, and he calmly went about his business and held up every minute of every game for the World Cup despite the fact that our opponents perceived him as a weak link and tried to target him.

        Can Robbie Rodgers do the same? Dunno. Might be worth a look, sure…but his past history makes me…leery.

        • AMP says:

          Rogers does not have the same skill set as DMB. He can’t even equal the speed and quickness of DMB in his prime, the DMB who has always been a very good defender. Sure, the mental aspect has something to do with it, but I’m inferring you’re hinting that Rogers orientation has something to do with that, which i think is even farther off base. Players are great or not, regardless of who or how they choose to love,

          • Joamiq says:

            Agreed entirely. DMB and Rogers are and always have been pretty different players. This mentality idea, no matter how quozzel tried to couch it, is wrong.

        • beachbum says:

          pulled a Jurgen. yes, as Jurgen pulled what has been done for some time converting outside midfielders to fullbacks/wingbacks for some time. Can Rodgers play USMNT? this is first game performing like this maybe 2nd in some time

          always fun to read your posts. Galaxy used Rodgers speed and increasing belief with LDs speed to sit on Yedlin, as you said, match up. they won many more of the 1 on 1 battles too

          • GW says:

            Beachbum,

            More like pulled a Bob Bradley.

            Go back to the 2009 Gold Cup and if you watch closely you’ll see that Robbie often times basically played left back when the immortal Heath Pearce went forward.

            I remember thinking Rogers ought to think about left back full time because:

            • There was a job opening
            • He had the skill set
            • He probably wasn’t going to make it as a big time international winger.

        • White Kix says:

          Or, Arena pulled an Arena. See Lewis, Eddie. Also, Bradley played Beasley at left back in 2010 WCQ at one of the central American countries, and it went badly, so we didn’t see it again.. So Klinsmann is not even the first coach to put Beasley at left back for the nats.

        • Limey says:

          Quozzel Are you just trolling or are you really suggesting that Rogers sexuality affects his abilities to play soccer??? You’re trolling no one could possibly be that ignorant.

          • quozzel says:

            Not at all. Being gay doesn’t necessarily make you high-strung and un-clutch. Being high-strung and un-clutch makes you high-strung and un-clutch. Dunno if that has anything to do with his orientation. I thought that when he was getting looks with the USMNT under Bob Bradley. Lotta speed, not much end product, and he fluffed a lot of chances.

            Still, since you mention it, unlike a lot of folks who say “I have a lot of gay friends”, I actually do have a lot of gay friends…and even they’d admit that most – repeat, most – gay men (especially the flamers) by definition don’t have the alpha-male mentality you need to be a top-drawer athlete. Are there exceptions? Sure. I know one gay guy who was a sniper with Marine Recon before he went back to school and I literally don’t know if I ever saw the guy blink, he had reptile DNA or something…scary calm, that guy.

            Save your righteousness, please. I’m not a hater, and count me in the group that thinks homosexuality is almost certainly biological, since again, even gays will tell you: “who would CHOOSE to be gay?” They’ll one and all tell you: I was born, this is what I was, and dealing with it is often incredibly difficult.

            If Robbie Rogers can help the USMNT, I’d be all for it. My point was, if he gets another look, he’ll have to be a lot steadier and more clutch this time around.

    • beachbum says:

      +1 print it

      Galaxy as aggressive as an entire team as I’ve seen this year rom them expressing their belief

      Pineda…whatever

    • reignman says:

      First time I’ve gotten to see much of Rogers at LB and he appeared solid back there although it’s a bit hard to judge off that game, Seattle were so bad.

    • Josephnsantos says:

      Zardes is getting better and better, he deserves a call to,the national team.
      Joe N Santos

  3. beto says:

    Well one team clearly was better all the way thru.

    Didn’t think that Chad Marshall was that pivotal

    7/9 teams in the west still very much alive. Is this parity or just inconsistency?

    Also Yedlin is not very good. The brief cameos in Brazil would have made anyone look good. Still far from a polished professional footballer. If its Roma or Seattle, idc just hope someone teaches the kid to defend.

    • JayAre says:

      I can’t agree with that “…..Yedlin is not very good” part. Seattle’s problem is the coaching. They are always being out coached. A smart coach will use a player like Yedlin in such a way that his talent would have an effect on the game at every level with the national team the midfielder in front of Yedlin pinches in while the the DM covers for him while he bombs forward. Sigi just doesn’t get that. He did not adjust his formation to fit Dempsey in a game like this.

      • quozzel says:

        They sat on Yedlin all night, and left acres of free space on the left, which Seattle couldn’t exploit because Anibaba moved to CB to cover for Marshall, leaving whichever palooka that was they had playing at LB sitting there not doing much of anything. He had acres of space to take, he just wouldn’t take it…except for one Forest Gump-looking forway forwards that was almost accidental, mostly because he got started on his way by Zardes pushing him in the back and giving him…momentum.

        Seattle couldn’t create any width the entire night – they REALLY rely on their wingbacks to get up the field, which is normally no problem, but with LA sitting on Yedlin they had no width…they tried sticking Bowen in over Papa at left wing, which worked a bit, but waited until 80 to replace the palooka at LB, and by then, the damage was long done, and there just was no way back for Seattle.

        Seattle leans on Yedlin a lot more than people realize.

        • beto says:

          They did. And my point is he looked great at the WC cuz he came into a couple games at RW and nobody pressed him or thought he would do anything. apply the slightest bit of pressure on him and he is neither a good attacker or defender.

          This is why i wouldn’t mind a team like Roma buying him and playing him on their reserve squad for a few years.

          • Chris says:

            He covered hazard just fine

          • GW says:

            You don’t often profit by pressing guys with Yedlin’s burst.

            He could get behind a defense so easily it was scary. Being that serious an attacking threat also helps your defense.

        • Ali Dia says:

          It’s true that sooner or later Yedlin will need to learn to play with the expectation that oppenents have gameplanned for him, and this is maybe why a move to a place like Italy is a good idea at this point in his development. It is not something he will learn to get comfortable with in a day, but even Ronaldo could be marked out of a game quite easily when he was Yedlin’s age. With experience and the right direction, the player will develop the technical skill, awareness, and confidence to know and exploit the fact that the attention he is attracting is creating space elsewhere (or should be, if his teammates aren’t standing around like cheesburgers, a la Seattle last night)

  4. Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

    Man Sigi was outcoached again.

    His answer in the press conference was the team needs to play better. Repeat five times.
    Alright, I guess you don’t take the blame when you are under the gun like he is, but surely he can say something to take the pressure off a team that was not prepared properly.

    • Big Red says:

      Sigi didn’t change formation once the whole game. Shows how stubborn he is. He needed to drop Dempsey into the midfield instead of positioning him so high. LA’s center mids did a great job of cutting off his passing lane. LA was basically playing five in midfield. Pineda and Alonso didnt have anyone to pass to. Anibaba really sucked too. Got beat on the first. Held Donovan on for the second. Out of position on the third. Chad Marshall would have made a big difference but Sigi would still have gotten out coached. Seattle also missed Neagle who got hurt early on and wasn’t the same afterwards.

  5. Joamiq says:

    Does anyone know what got Gonzo so heated? That was some pretty rough treatment of his US teammates…

    • AC says:

      Yedlin through an elbow at Delagarza

      • dainja says:

        Dempsey jawing with Gonzo was probably the highlight of the game for me. Hilarious! Neither was backing down. As a USMNT fan first, I shouldn’t like it but it was somehow hugely fascinating. Deuce was standing up for Yedlin, who got laid out by Gonzo away from the play. But also props to Gonzo for having a mean streak! He’s gonna need that in Europe one day.

    • Jag says:

      Gonzo should have been sent off for his cheap shot. You can call it a mean streak if you like, but absolutely No excuse for that action. He sized Yedlin up and just laid him out from behind. Weak punk action there.

      In other news, I thought Landon was washed up??? Sure could have used our best player in Brazil. And he seemed to have no problem on the left flank. Would have been nice to have him out wide instead of Zusi or Bedoya.

      • GW says:

        I’m sure the Sounders defense is a lot tougher than Ghana’s, Portugal’s, Germany’s or Belgium’s.

  6. AC says:

    Impressed with Zardes. Raw and young but great potential. Able to hold up, possesses speed , etc

  7. Chris says:

    Omar’s soft

  8. Don says:

    Wish Donovan had been in Brazil.

  9. reignman says:

    LA were clearly the better team on the night, not a single Sounder had a good performance. Anibaba clearly doesn’t fit at CB for this team and especially not next to Yedlin because both of them drift forward. Zardes was a wrecking ball for LA up top, will be interesting to see his continued progress.

    That being said the ref needs to take a look at his performance as well. Thankfully it didn’t really have an outcome on the game but he was still poor. The fact that the LA goalie didn’t get a yellow for time wasting is laughable, he started in like the 15th minutes. Not sure why Pineda got a yellow when him and Omar were both pulling the same nonsense in the box. Thought a couple of Seattle players got away with some robust sliding tackles that were questionable. Couple of calls on 50/50 calls were simply baffling. Hope MLS gets itself in gear with the officiating.

  10. FRANK says:

    DONOVON WAS GOOD

  11. Fredo says:

    Great Game! Loved it. Galaxy!

  12. beachbum says:

    crisp passing by the Galaxy, thru midfield, changing play as a team quickly, one touch two touch futbol. pretty well organized between the lines and spent organized energy defensively. played hard first 15 to open the 2nd half that lead to maintaining clean sheet in the end

    big contrast to their generally slow performance last week at SKC. actually showed quicker ball movement and player movement mid week for the first 60 min, then tonight. good response

  13. Adver says:

    How can Sarvas and Donovan bot have two assists a piece if they only scored three goals?
    New math I guess.

  14. Tom says:

    But I thought Landon Donovan was fat, slow, and old, and didn’t offer anything.

    • USAfansinceMay says:

      LOL, why couldn’t Donovan do that in the World Cup? He was a complete no-show in Brazil. Clearly his time has passed and the German coach who won a World Cup and prepared the German World Cup winning team to win eight years after coaching them knows better than anyone in the entire US of A ever, so glad we brought Davis and Wondolowski-could Donovan have converted that pressure-packed extra-point field goal against Belgium at the end of regulation? I don’t think so

  15. froboy says:

    Love the Maryland back line with 3 Terps holding it down for the Galaxy

    • GW says:

      So they should trade for Clay Goodson to complete the set. And throw in Zusi for good measure.

  16. Ian says:

    When LA is healthy, they’re every bit as dangerous as they were in 2010-2012. The midfield is a bit less creative without Beckham, but the combo of Donovan, Sarvas, Juninho, and Ishizaki is formidable. Ishizaki has definitely been LA’s best addition this season.

    It’s a pleasure beating Seattle in Seattle. This loss was probably just a one-off for the Sounders, but I’m happy my Galaxy was the team to hand them their first home loss in a long time.

  17. Clint says:

    Sure.. Seattle really looked lame last night.. but … all the Gals fans on here that have crawled from the crypt after the Man U shelling . Delusional ..

    Chivas could have smoked the Sounders backline last night

    • Ian says:

      Whatever gets you through the night, bud.

      Just goes to show the quality of Seattle compared to that of Man United. Different planets, really.

  18. Jack says:

    It’s getting to be about time for the annual Sounders late season melt down.