Enjoy this one for at least a little bit longer. In a season that so many thought was lost as recently as a few weeks ago, the sky suddenly seems to be the limit. The Seattle Sounders played what might well be one of their most complete performances in their MLS history, pasting the defending Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup winners 4-0 in front of 61,000 sun-baked worshippers.
Looking at the numbers, it's hard to appreciate how thoroughly the Sounders dominated this game, though. The Galaxy managed to hold about 54 percent of the possession and completed about 83 percent of their passes, which somewhat illustrates the flaws in those numbers. The Galaxy were able to create plenty of decent looks, but the Sounders harried their shooters into putting just 2 of 13 shots on target.
The Sounders, meanwhile, complete 84 percent of their passes, including 67 percent of their passes in the offensive third. They also put 6 of 14 shots on target, four of which ultimately found the back of the net. They also repeatedly forced Josh Saunders to come well off his line, leading directly to goals by Fredy Montero and Alex Caskey.
The biggest takeaway from this match has to be the play of Mauro Rosales, Montero and Eddie Johnson, who looked like the deadly trio we had been hoping to see all season. With Rosales feeding balls in from the outside and Montero and Johnson playing off one another at the top of the penalty area, the Sounders looked pretty close to unstoppable at various points.
Sure, the Galaxy lobbied their requisite lines about "bad luck" and poor officiating, but the first part is simply a cop out, while the Sounders dealt with their fair share of bad calls, too. This was a game the Sounders dominated, especially in the second half. Enjoy it and get ready for Wednesday.
SEA - Eddie Johnson (Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso) 6'
SEA - Fredy Montero 52'
SEA - Alex Caskey 61'
SEA - Andy Rose (Marc Burch, Mauro Rosales) 88'
Seattle Sounders FC: Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Christian Tiffert 64), Alex Caskey (Marc Burch 81), Fredy Montero (Andy Rose 73), Eddie Johnson.
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Weber, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Sammy Ochoa, Steve Zakuani.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6; FOULS: 11; OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 2.
LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders, David Junior Lopes (Jose Villareal 80), Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Bryan Gaul, Sean Franklin (Mike Magee 57), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho (Hector Jiminez 70), David Beckham, Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan.
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk, Todd Dunivant, Tommy Meyer, Michael Stephens.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 2.
LA - A.J. DeLaGarza (caution) 24'
SEA - Brad Evans (caution) 60'
Referee: Chris Penso
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry, Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Jesus Cisneros
Time of Game: 1:48
Weather: Sunny and 91 degrees
All Statistics contained in the boxscore are unoffical.
POSTGAME QUOTES: SOUNDERS FC vs. LA GALAXY
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the game...) "Obviously, the scoreline was great. We're happy about that. Today, being able to build a one goal lead and score three in the second half was good. We felt in the first half we were getting inches away from getting some combinations and connections together behind them. They're the kind of team that's very good offensively, but sometimes there are some openings in the back that we can take advantage of. I'm very happy with our character and what we displayed in the second half. Overall I'm just pleased with the performance."
(On the statement they made...) "It's just basically for ourselves--a statement for ourselves. It's us knowing, 'Hey, here's what we can do, here's the commitment that we have, this is the potential that we can achieve, and this is what we do as we continue to move forward.' It's about ourselves. It's about ourselves getting confidence in our ability to be able to take on big challenges, big games--we have another one on Wednesday--and respond well to those challenges."
(On the defensive effort...) "Obviously, it was a lot of hard work and people covered for each other. At times, they created some stuff because Robbie Keane or Landon Donovan would drop in off the front line and find those little windows and they were getting balls played in behind our midfield, and that gave them a chance to go after us. When they did get in those positions, I thought our recovery was good. I thought the guys fought in back and helped each other out and got across. I think we blocked some shots, Gspurning came up when he needed to on the crosses and things. I was pleased with that, but it was really a team effort and just defending well as a team and covering well for each other."
(On the offensive effort...) "The first goal was actually very reminiscent of the first goal we scored against them earlier this season--the Rosales cross to Eddie Johnson. Montero's second goal was not as similar as in that first game because it was a lot closer in, but it was a great reaction and a great shot. I think our combination play--we talked about it at halftime--being a little more patient with our passes in our final third that we could combine, and we could do that. I thought we did a better job of that. I thought the fourth goal was obviously a good combination, a good ball by Burch across to Rose. Alex Caskey was alert and took advantage of a situation that was there for him. It was good work before, and the goalkeeper made a good save on Eddie, and then the ball pops free and Alex takes advantage of it and puts in the back of the net. I think we were around the goal, we had opportunities where Saunders had to be really alert off his line. I think he ended up coming off his line probably to stuff three or four breakaways, where if he's a little hesitant or not alert, we maybe get an opportunity for a goal or two more."
(On Christian Tiffert's debut...) "It was good. I told Christian he was going to come in. I actually told him, because I knew I was going to try and get Montero off the field because he had played so many minutes on Thursday, and I said, 'Look, I'll put you out there and you'll start out in the middle, but when I take Montero off I'll slide Rose inside and have you come to the right.' He said, 'That's fine, I can do that.' When I made that second change I said, 'No, stay inside.' I thought he was good. He was almost in on that one opportunity off the one-two toe poke. You also saw him make some tackles in the back, so it shows his two way capabilities. But when you look at him with the ball, I haven't seen the stats but I don't know if he gave a ball away. He tried one through-ball that he tried to chip through, that might have been run down by the Galaxy instead of our team. He's going to help us. He's a guy who plays simple, who combines, is hard when he needs to be, and he's the kind of guy who when you watch him is just easy-running and all of a sudden, boom he makes a move and that was like when he got in. It was like nice and simple and all of a sudden he was in behind them on a quick sprint and they didn't know what to do with him."
(On beating LA for the second time this year...) "We had talked about how they had been our boogey team for a while and seemed to get the better of us over the last two years prior to this one. That was something we talked about that we felt we could turn around. Obviously, when we go down last game of the season when we play in LA, that's going to be a tough game for us. It was important because it was a big game, it was national TV, a huge crowd. That was great, what an atmosphere. All those things made it an important game. What was important was our reaction to an important game, and it's six-point games when we're playing against the West that keeps us ahead of where we want to go. I think it sends a message to the other teams, as well, that that streak that everybody was talking about is behind us and we're moving forward."
(On the U.S. Open Cup Final at Sporting KC on Wednesday...) "To win four in a row would be unbelievable. We're the first team in a long time to win three in a row, but nobody's ever won four in a row. There are guys who have been in four finals in a row, but they haven't won four in a row. So this is a huge thing for us as a franchise. I know the Open Cup is sometimes considered a secondary trophy, but you have to remember it's a big game. It's a game where it's a knockout competition. I think that...in our fourth season in a knockout competition, we haven't lost a game. When you have a bad day, a guy could get a cold at a wrong time, you can run into a hot goalkeeper-there are all kinds of things that can happen and we've been able to get through all those hurdles. The game against San Jose this year was a good example of that, where it was just reach down and gut check, and the guys did it. This is a great opportunity for us on Wednesday to do something very special and anytime you can do that, as I said to the players, you can bring your grandkids here and say, 'That's me up there. Those are our four Open Cup trophies that we won in a row...' It gives you something great, it bonds a group together, as well. They'll always have special memories of each other."
Eddie Johnson - Sounders FC Forward
(On his consistency...)"One of the things I put down as my goal is be consistent. The best players in the world are consistent week in and week out and in this league Chris Wondolowski is a perfect example. To score that many goals year after year is something that's hard to do. Considering when teams know that you can score goals and their whole scouting report is to stop you scoring goals...to be considered the best up there with the forwards in the league you have to be consistent. That's one of my goals. I'm trying to be up there where the rest of those guys are at."
(On the Open Cup Final Wednesday against Sporting KC...) "It's going to be a difficult game. In a perfect world, we want to win it. We want to win four in a row. For me, it would be something special to be apart of because when you're done you want to leave a legacy. You want to look back and say, 'Oh, I was apart of this team when they did this.' There's a lot of professional athletes around the world that played for many years, made some good money in their careers, but haven't won anything. You want to be remembered when you're done because people forget about you real quick...It's special. Winning things is good for the organization, it's good for the team, it's good for you as an individual because it gets you exposure. Seattle is a big sporting city and we want to win it for the city."
Michael Gspurning - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On being up four nothing and dominating...) "The four nothing doesn't mean it wasn't a tough and intense game. If you just look at the board, you think, 'oh what's this, four nothing?" and its impressive but we shouldn't forget that it was a tough game from minute one to 90. You don't know if the Galaxy scores once, you don't know, you can lose the game when you're up two or three nothing, so it's important for the defense to stay in until the last minute focused, and we did well, and in the end there is a shutout against the Galaxy."
(On defending the corner kicks...) "Communication, and we train all during the week and we have great defenders, especially if you clear in front of me, if Eddie is back, or we file formation with Jeff and Pat's there clearing the first floor. I'm happy to play with these players, because it makes it easier for me to come out and help them. So we have to keep going like this and we're fine."
Christian Tiffert - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the transition...) "The first days here have been very good. This is a good team, nice guys. The guys make it easy for me to play here. It was the best start of my career for a first game. Four goals against a good team, fantastic."
(On the physicality compared to Germany...) "You cannot say after some games, but not for the moment, no. The season did not start in Germany, and you have to play some games, then you can say. I'm now here and I don't want to compare to Germany. I'm now in the US and don't want to say this is better or that is better. I'm here and that's all I want to do."
(On the workout...) "Oh yeah, fantastic. The atmosphere and the team is very good. Some good players, good weather, nice stadium. Fantastic team from the Galaxy but a better team from the sounders. It was a fantastic game for us."
(On the passing...) "You can say it after some games, you know? The first 25 minutes I don't want to say about the game, but as you say, its soccer. If you play in Germany or you play in the US it's the same game. You have to shoot goals and you have to defend. It was the best start in my career. I'm fit and it's another thing in Germany is the turf. I played one year in Austria on the turf but that was five years ago, but I'm fit. I'm feeling good. My muscles are okay, so playing on this is no problem."
Fredy Montero - Sounders FC Forward
(On the US Open Cup...) "We are prepared, and now we can focus on Kansas City, and we are flying tomorrow morning. Now we are thinking about them, before this game was very important for us, and now we have a very good game in front of us to be very concentrated on, and put all our energy there to try and win the Open Cup."
Bruce Arena - LA Galaxy Head Coach
(On the match...) "Obviously, not pleased with the result. We played a good first half. I think it was a little unfortunate because if a few calls went our way it could have made a difference in the game. We didn't play well in the penalty range, it the difference of the game. I thought the Sounders did quite well."
(On the officiating...) "It changes the game, no question about it. That's part of playing in this league. You have to deal with the officiating."
(On the score...) "I think we were a little unlucky too, you know. Off the post the ball moves in funny ways and we got caught off balanced a few times. We didn't have trash today, it took us 84' to get a shot on goal. We had a bunch of possessions and we were very poor on executing in the final third of the field. Couldn't get a good cross in, didn't have guys in front of the goal, we didn't do a lot of things right."
Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy Midfielder
(On the result) "It was the perfect storm. We started the game poorly defending, all night we didn't attack well, the officiating was awful. It just seemed like everything went against us and we didn't play well."
(On play on the flanks) "I don't know; it's hard to pick apart what went wrong but we were just a little flat all over the field, a little slow. Our thought process wasn't quick enough, and we didn't react well enough defensively so it was just an all-around bad performance."
(On the officiating) "Obviously that hurts. I thought we actually played OK for long stretches in the first half. When refs miss penalties, it changes games so that obviously hurt but it doesn't excuse us giving up three goals in the second half."
Josh Saunders - LA Galaxy Goalkeeper
(On the goals scored) "Just a couple breakdowns, some breakaways. We tried to make contact and win the ball out of the air and unfortunately the ball went to them. A couple good shots here and there, that's what the difference was."
(On the playing surface) "The ball comes out a little faster, it skips, judging the ball here and there but it was really they made more plays than we did."
David Beckham - LA Galaxy Midfielder
(On the result) "Obviously disappointing. It's always disappointing coming away on a road trip and not getting a point but it is what it is."
(On LA's performance) "We didn't play well. We didn't put in the right crosses, we didn't get into positions where we could score goals. We passed the ball well, we kept the ball well at times but we just didn't put enough together to create enough chances."
(On Mauro Rosales) "Yes, obviously he's a good player. They've got a few good players on their team but so have we. We obviously just didn't perform today, we didn't commit and sometimes games go like this."