While the LA Galaxy didn't send their big names, in some ways that complicates the approach to the game. As Sigi Schmid pointed out in post game comments, the Seattle Sounders don't know what Sean Franklin as a midfielder is, or how Adam Cristman plays, or who is Brian Gaul. Now Seattle knows. They know that the lineup that the Galaxy put forward is beatable. The scoreline of two-zero may even bit unfair to the dominance that the Sounders put forward.
This was the Eddie Johsnon that Sigi has said we'd see. He excelled in hold up play. His runs were strong and forceful. While he showed the footwork that has always impressed, Johnson's goal came on the simplest of plays. Eddie ran to the inside of his defender and knocked in a simple cross from Mauro Rosales.
"It was just me trying to get in between the two center backs," Johnson said postgame. "I knew Mauro was in a position where he was either going to beat the guy or cross the ball. I was just trying to play in between the two center backs. It was a perfect cross, I just wanted to get my head on it, and redirect it. The pace was already with the ball, and it was just a great ball by Mauro. It wasn’t hard for me because the cross was so perfect, but I’ll take it."
As simple as Johnson's goal was Montero's was the opposite. It wasn't footwork, it was the Fredy Montero of confidence and pride. From 30ish yards out he willed the ball into the net with force and precision. It was a goal that only one who is strong in will can attempt. It is a goal that is purely class and an early goal of the week candidate.
While Johnson and Montero both had strong games Landon Donovan was shut down. With little support it would have to be Landon who carried the Galaxy. Unfortunately for the LA side he faced off against Zach Scott. Scott did what Scott does and made an MVP caliber player look like an also ran. Donovan joins a list that includes Davis, Le Toux and Shea.
Schmid was forced to use a half time sub for birthday keeper Michael Gspurning, but Bryan Meredith didn't disappoint. The other substitutions kept two not quite fit players healthy as Rosales and Johnson left for Marc Burch and Alex Caskey respectively. Their play maintained a lead, while also helping some of the less fit players stay a bit fresh for their match against the Philadelphia Union Saturday on NBC SportsNet. You can not fault the game management and no player was in a position to be regularly exploited. Rave Green was the color tonight.
When it became apparent that there would be no Beckham nor Keane nor Saunders Admiral Akbar warned us that it was a trap. It didn't matter. Both Montero and Johnson found the exhaust port. There is a New Hope. On this night in May the Galaxy belongs to a democratic republic. There are at least two more movies to come.
Seattle moves to 5-1-1 +7 GD marching onward in the packed May.