MLS Playoffs: Sounders FC Stumble Through Disappointing Road Loss
It could have been much worse for the Rave Green.
On Sunday, in front of 27,000 fans at StubHub Center, in Los Angeles, the Seattle Sounders FC fell to the LA Galaxy 1-0, conceding a 52nd minute goal to Marcelo Sarvas of the Galaxy.
Though the scoreline might not show it, this was the Galaxy's game nearly the entire way. Out-shooting (20 total shots to Seattle's 10), out-possesing (61% possession to Seattle's 31%), and out-hustling the Sounders, the boys from LA had their way against Seattle's shorthanded lineup. The visiting team was missing two key players in Osvaldo Alonso and Lamar Neagle, and their presence was certainly missed. An anemic offense was only saved by some unlucky chances for the Galaxy, and if it weren't for some important misses, Los Angeles may have been coming to Seattle with an even greater lead.
Ultimately, the match was not one of the better fixtures that we have seen between these two teams throughout the years. It was quite a sloppy affair with many missed chances - both teams had only three shots on goal each - and many cations for miscues by the players.
Nonetheless, the Sounders and their faithful fans still have hope in the team as they return back to Seattle for the second leg of the two match series (Sunday, November 30th, 6:00 p.m. PST at CenturyLink Field). Even with the goal deficit, many think that the Sounders can still be favorites if they play their complete game next week. A one-goal difference can be overcome if everything clicks - all the way from the goalkeeper to the strikers.
During the season, the Sounders played at their best when their attack was flourishing. I expect similar results in next week's match. If Seattle gets Neagle and Alonso back from injury, then they can play through the midfield up to the striker duo of Dempsey and Martins. With those two leading the charge, the Sounders should be able to get a few goals on the board in front of their home crowd and and best LA in this Western Conference Final series.
The Sounders cannot afford any more mistakes. They need a victory and can't give up silly away goals to the Galaxy. The players all know that and coach Sigi Schmid will surely make it a point to get his team prepared - both physically and mentally.
The dream season isn't over and the search for the coveted treble - though receiving a slight blow today - is not out of sight yet. These Sounders, in all of their rave green glory, are ready to come back home and earn a trip to the MLS Cup Finals.
Get ready, Seattle. This is going to be one crazy match.