Pretty much perfect, if you ask me.
The Sounders have struggled against the Galaxy almost whoever they put out there, at least in MLS play. Last year, the Sounders were shutout by a third-string goalkeeper. Two years ago, they were beaten 4-0 by a David Beckham-less Galaxy. As has been stated numerous times, there are no style points in soccer. You win 1-0, it counts just the same as 4-0. Beating an all-star team counts just the same as crushing the reserve side.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena must have thought this team was capable of at least getting a point, he's too successful a coach to play it any other way. It's not like this team was awful, either. Landon Donovan is arguably the best player in the league. Juninho is a top center mid. Sean Franklin would start for almost any team. AJ DeLaGarza was once half of the best centerback duo in MLS.
Plus, the Sounders won this one with a little bit of
flareflair. We saw the Eddie Johnson we've been hoping to see all year. Fredy Montero broke out of his scoring slump in as spectacular a way as possible with his 35-yard rope.
So enjoy this victory.
Goals by Period
Seattle Sounders FC
SEA - Eddie Johnson (Mauro Rosales) 40'
SEA - Fredy Montero (Osvaldo Alonso) 48'
Sounders FC: Michael Gspurning (Bryan Meredith 46), Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 75), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, David Estrada, Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Alex Caskey 82). Substitutes Not Used: Adam Johansson, Sammy Ochoa, Andy Rose, Christian Sivebaek.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Johnson, Montero, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Montero, 3); FOULS: 9 (Three players, 4); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Rosales, 1); OFFSIDES: 5 (Johnson, 3); SAVES 1 (Meredith, 1).
LA Galaxy: Bill Gaudette, David Junior Lopes, Bryan Jordan (Pat Noonan 72), A.J. DeLaGarza, Brian Gaul, Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Chad Barrett (Mike Magee 59), Adam Cristman (Edson Buddle 54). Substitutes Not Used: Brian Rowe, Tommy Meyer, Kyle Nakazawa, Michael Stephens.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Donovan, Sarvas, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Donovan, 1); FOULS: 18 (Sarvas, 6); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Donovan, 2); OFFSIDES: 1 (Noonan, 1); SAVES 3 (Gaudette, 3).
LA - Marcela Sarvas (caution; foul) 34'
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:59
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
POSTGAME QUOTES: Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy - May 2, 2012
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the result...) "We're happy with the win. Winning games means that we're starting to make up some games at hand on other teams in our division. To be able to pick up three points in that process is very important. I'm happy to see [Fredy] Montero get his first goal. He chose a difficult one rather than an easy one, but that's probably a 'Goal of the Week' winner, if not a candidate for sure, but I think a winner. Again, Eddie Johnson, I think you're starting to see now what he can provide for our team with his running up front. He got a good goal off a header and I think as Mauro [Rosales] and Montero and Eddie and Flaco [Alvaro Fernandez] are eventually on the field as well, as they all get to know each other better it's going to become a more dangerous combination as we move forward. So I was pleased with what we did. We got another shutout. It's tremendous for Bryan Meredith to come in and keep a clean sheet for 45 minutes. I think he showed what I said last week in that I think there are a lot of teams in this league he can be starting for. He's a quality goalkeeper and we have a lot of faith in him."
(On Michael Gspurning's injury...) "He's OK. It's that same hip sort of thing, but not nearly as bad as it was last time. So we'll see how it is tomorrow and we'll evaluate it tomorrow."
(On the chances they created throughout the game...) "It was good. This time it bounced our way a little bit. This time we ended up scoring an unbelievable goal instead of them scoring an unbelievable goal. Overall I thought we played well, especially the first 45 minutes I thought we were very good. In the second half I thought we started to fade a little bit because of fitness and fatigue, and they obviously had played more fresh guys than we did, so that made a little bit of a different there in the second half. But overall, I think we still made good decisions. It was a good, veteran move by Alex Caskey late in the game just to take it to the corner. It's great to see a young player have that kind of awareness in a game like that."
(On if the Galaxy being without star players takes anything away from their win...) "No, because I think it's tougher to play against a group like that. You know how you're going to play against [David] Beckham - you're up for that, you're prepared for that. You know how you're going to play against [Robbie] Keane. But our guys don't know a Brian Gaul, they don't know how to play against him. They don't know what [Sean] Franklin is going to look like in midfield, [Adam] Cristman hasn't played much - we saw him in the reserve game. [LA Galaxy head coach] Bruce [Arena] is going to play what he thinks is the best team and the team that he thinks is going to give them a chance to win this game. So obviously, he felt playing Keane and Beckham, for whatever reasons, were things that he couldn't do in this game. Whether it was because of their injuries, fatigue, or because he just wanted to shuffle the lineup, but he's putting out a team to try and win the game. So I don't think it takes anything away from our victory."
(On if Fredy Montero is relieved to get his first goal of the season...) "I think you could see it after he scored it. There was definitely a sense of relief that came over him, so hopefully it'll be the start of many. I think as him and Eddie [Johnson] learn even better how to combine with each other that they can really set each other up for some goals."
(On their competitiveness of past matchups with the Galaxy...) "Obviously, that one game [4-0 Galaxy victory] I sort of throw out because it was just one of those weird games. The other games have all been tight. I think we've always been there and we've always been in the battle. When you take away that one score line at four-nothing I think the goal differential is miniscule between the two teams. So it was good to get a win. It was good for us because sometimes you have a team that you call your, 'Boogey team' - a team that sort of gives you a problem and for some reason you can't seem to jump over them. Like Chicago [Fire] can't seem to get past us right now. LA was that team for us a little bit, but we always felt we had confidence that we could beat them and today it showed."
(On Eddie Johnson's goal...) "It was a good goal. A tremendous cross by Mauro Rosales to find him in the middle. Eddie is a good athlete. He provides the speed, but he can also get up in the air. He's got some hops and hit a good header - sliced it off into the far corner and Bill Gaudette had no chance. Gaudette had done well on a couple of earlier plays - on the shot from Eddie and then the rebound from Fredy Montero, Fredy's header that was straight at him, so there were good things that he had done. So I think it was a good goal. It shows Eddie's versatility that he's not just going to score goals by breaking in behind defenses, but he's going to score goals in different ways."
(On the lineup moving forward...) "We're going to stick with it. I don't think it's going to be the last time you see us play a game where both Eddie Johnson and [Fredy] Montero score in the same game. I think this is the first of a few that are going to go that way."
(On Eddie Johnson's role...) "I said this the other day to some other people, but not everybody was there, but O'Brian White last year I thought was really starting to provide that for us because he was a guy maybe a little more physically in the mold of an Edson Buddle. But he was able to hold the ball, combine, scored a great header against Chicago if you remember that game and he was really starting to come on. Unfortunately, we lost him due to an injury and he hasn't been able to return. So I think Eddie [Johnson] is providing us some of those same things. That's what we're looking for - a forward that has speed, a forward that can play with his back to goal and can hold up the play. His first touch is pretty good, he's technically pretty sound and I think his game is going to get better because he just needs to continue to get games and the understanding is going to get better. So it was what we were looking for and it was a trade that we felt was going to pay off at the end of the day."
Eddie Johnson - Sounders FC Forward
(On the win...) "When you can get into winning ways, it's a good thing. It's a good contagious feeling to have within the dressing room, and I guess it started with the reserve team. They went down to Chivas and they hadn't won a game, and it was a quick turnaround. The team went down there and got a good result, and it's like ever since the reserve game we've had that winning mentality, whoever it was that stepped onto the field. The coaches told us the expectations he's wanted out of us as players and our goals as a team, and we're just an organization that's trying to fulfill our dreams. We set goals, and right now we're on the right track. We talk about the certain amount of points that are out there and we can get. We're just trying to get as many points as we can get. [Sigi] said if we can average two-and-a-half points per game, we can compete for the Supporter's Shield at the end of the season. That's kind of our mentality by now. It's a special feeling. Well done to the team. Whenever you can play in front of 39,000-plus week in and week out, as players it makes your job easier. You couldn't ask for a better motivation to prep you for the games here at CenturyLink."
(On Mauro Rosales...) "He's very important to the team. He's got a lot of experience. He's played in Europe, he's played for Ajax. One of our strengths and our style is possessing the ball, and Mauro is a player that can beat you with a one-two, he can beat you on the dribble, or he can pick out that perfect cross in the box."
(On Fredy Montero scoring his first goal...) "It's huge. I'm a striker and I know how it is. You can have all the ability in the world, and you see the best players and the best strikers in the world--if you go one, three, five, six games without scoring, you start to second guess yourself from a psychological standpoint, and you start to forget about how good you are in front of the goal. For me, I was very happy to see him score and I wanted to be the first one to go over and celebrate with him."
(On his goal...) "It was just me trying to get in between the two center backs. 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."
Fredy Montero - Sounders FC Forward
(On scoring his first goal of the season...) "I was looking for this. I got in a position to score a really good goal--a really good one. I was looking for that one. I don't see one [goal] as better because they they all count, but this one is so special to me."
(On having multiple chances from close-range before scoring from long-range...) "That's soccer, you know? That's life. Sometimes you don't understand what happens to you, but this is the reality, and at the day I scored one goal and the team wins. Three points is super important."
(On if he knew his goal was on target as soon as he hit it...) "Well, when you have an opportunity to shoot at that distance, you just try, you know? Turns out that ball went into the net."
(On how he kept from being frustrated at not scoring, especially after several close chances in the first half...) "I think I have to give the credit to my teammates because after those chances the only thing they say is, 'Come on, it's coming. Keep trying. The next one you have to put in.' That was all I did. I tried to be focused in on the game and finally I scored that goal."
(On the partnership between he and Eddie Johnson...) "It's good. It's getting better every game that we play together. Everybody knows Eddie is a really good player - really fast - and we can use that speed. He's open in space and for the team it's very important. And for me, that's good to play with him. Right now, we are playing great."
Bryan Meredith - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On making his MLS debut...) "I found out right when we came in at halftime...Things went swimmingly for most of the game. They only had a few shots, a few crosses, so there wasn't much to do. In the early stage, it was important for me to get my hands on the ball and kind of settle down. The team played great, Fredy [Montero] had the 'Goal of the Week' I'm sure. Getting that second goal really was important, as well."
(On the crowd...) "It's amazing. It's why we have the best fans in the league, no doubt. Everybody knows that. It's good that I don't have to play with them cheering at me rather than cheering for me. It was very fun."
(On making the save early in his time on the pitch and if that helped with nerves...) "Yeah, definitely. I didn't really have much time to be nervous or realize anything but having that first early shot and relatively easy save helped me calm my nerves."
(On if it helped that it was Landon Donovan's shot that he saved...) "No, it didn't matter who it came from, as long as I got the ball in my hands and secured it."
(On if he thought he had a better chance of playing today knowing Gspurning wasn't always full in practice last week...) "Yeah, I mean it might be a possibility always coming back from injury. Coming back from injury or not, you have to be ready on the bench at any second to come in."
Zach Scott - Sounders FC Defender
(On getting the win vs. L.A. and what that does for the team moving forward...) "Obviously, it shows that we're playing with a lot of confidence. We know that this has been a catch-game for us in years past. It seems like L.A. has had our number. But things change, you know? It's a very fickle league. The teams are so close. It could be just a matter of us putting just a tiny bit more effort into it and the quality coming through at that point. But it feels good, to be honest."
(On if the team looked at L.A.'s rested lineup and took any offense or motivation that they were sitting players...) "No, that's their problem. I don't care. Look at us. We're two-deep at every position. Any given day somebody can start. I'm not the starting right back but I don't think teams take offense to that. Whoever's out there for us, we're going to go out there and win. We don't care what other teams do."
(On the depth of the back line and Meredith stepping in, preserving the clean sheet...) "Absolutely. I don't know what it is this year. It's just everybody's playing a step quicker, communication is better, Mike [Gspurning] has been fantastic, Meredith flipping in back there - just don't miss a beat."
(On if he thought he had his second goal of the year before the offside call...) "Yes. I was going to go crazy. Yeah, I did. I'm on the four-year plan, though. Every four years, I'll score a goal. I'm still waiting."
Brad Evans - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On beating a L.A. side that was resting some of itskey players...) "I mean, the players that they're missing are good players but they also had a couple of their main guys on the field. But I'm sure that they'll say, maybe they'll save it for another day. For us, it's just about three points. We take it now and we move forward. We see ourselves at 5-1-1 and we've got a big game Saturday afternoon in two-and-a-half days."
(On if it's a boost to beat L.A. since they're the team that Seattle has had trouble beating...) "Yeah, I think we've played against that team and played against different lineups and haven't found results so hopefully we've gotten over that hump where we say, 'It doesn't matter who's on the field, if we play our game we're going to get chances to score.' Our defense is playing so good right now that we're confident we can keep the ball out of the back of the net on our end."
Bruce Arena - LA Galaxy Head Coach
(On the result...) "Give Seattlecredit. In a span of about eight minutes we lost the game. We would have liked to go into halftime even and put a little pressure on them after the half but we weren't able to do it."
(On the game...) "I think we struggled technically in the final third with getting some crosses in front of the goal. We weren't able to get enough shots in. Seattle played very well tonight."
(On not using the whole roster...) "I think it's a difficult week with the travel and playing on this surface. We wanted to keep some players fresh for the game on Saturday. That's the decision I made."
(On lineup decisions...) "We didn't think we were going to be able to play eleven players in three games and we had to rotate some players. It made sense to me to have those players available on Saturday."
(On the performance of goalkeeper Bill Gaudette...) "I thought he did well. The second goal was a tremendous goal and we didn't do a good job marking on the first goal, give them credit for getting it."
(On the rest of the season...) "There is a lot of games left and a lot of things are going to happen. We have to position ourselves to win some games."
Pat Noonan - LA Galaxy Forward
(On playing against former team...) "It wasn't too strange, it was good to be back. The crowd was entertaining as always. Unfortunately for us, it didn't end how we would have liked."
(On seeing former teammates...) "A quick 'Hello' and 'How are you doing?', then kick them around a little bit but unfortunately they kicked us around a little more than we did them and they got the result."
Bill Gaudette - LA Galaxy Goalkeeper
(On the result...) "We didn't get the result we were looking for so obviously that's a negative. They're a tough team and this is tough place to play. There were some bright spots for us and we're going to work on what need to for Saturday. We will get back to work tomorrow."
(On Fredy Montero's goal...) "He is a good player. Anytime you give goal scorers the opportunity to strike the ball... he did it well. As a keeper I feel like I can get everything, I'd like to have it back just so I could try again. Heck of a goal: good spot and good placement... same with (Eddie Johnson's goal) anytime you give someone time in the box they're going to score goals. It was unfortunate that we weren't able to put one or two on the board but the boys played well. Like I said, we are going to move on to Saturday night right away."
(On positives to take away from the game...) "The ability to keep the ball in certain aspects of the game. If we were just able to keep it a little more we could have struck them out. Final third we did better, defensively we'll get back to work and watch the video. We obviously want to get the result in every game but this is a tough place to play. We're excited to get back to work on Saturday night."
Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy Midfielder
(On the result...) "I thought overall we were OK. We did enough to put them under pressure to score goals. The goal before the half took some momentum away then the goal after the half really saps you so... disappointing night but we have to move on."
(On not using the whole roster...) "Historically we've done well here with a mix of lineups and personnel. We had a chance at the beginning of halftime to get something out of the game. That being said, this is a long season with a number of older players who have played a lot of games. When you combine the turf and traveling home it becomes pretty difficult. Those are the decisions that were made. We had enough guys here to get the job done, we just couldn't do it."
(On the rest of season...) "We can't keep saying it's early. We've gotten better, there's no question, but we have to keep improving. While we're improving we have to start getting points. Saturday is a game that's very important now and we have to get points out of it. Everybody knows that the West is a lot stronger than the East and it will get very difficult as the year goes on so we've got to start making our move or else we will find ourselves in a bad place.