Going on the road to play the LA Galaxy has not been a fun experience for the Seattle Sounders. Since 2009, the Sounders have never won there and claimed just a total of two points in seven matches during the regular season and playoffs. The Sounders had never scored more than one goal in a game in that time and had been outscored 14-3. StubHub Center -- at least when the Galaxy were in attendance -- had been the Sounders' virtual house of horrors.
And even though the Sounders were playing reasonably well early, Sunday's game was looking to be more of the same. A bad clearance and a deflected shot had combined to leave the Sounders trailing 2-0 after 50 minutes. It was looking for all the world as if the Sounders were going to head back home needing a win to claim the Supporters' Shield.
But a funny thing happened: The Sounders turned it around. No, they still haven't beaten the Galaxy on the road since 2009, but this was a tie that really felt like a win. Obafemi Martins did some solid work padding his MVP resume, Chad Marshall was an absolute beast in the middle, Clint Dempsey scored another clutch goal and Lamar Neagle scored what has to be the biggest goal of his career. It should also be said that Marco Pappa's entering the game in the 66th minute totally changed the tempo and was a major reason the Sounders got rolling.
By the end, the Sounders held a 13-11 shots advantage and it was only some impressive work by Jaime Penedo that kept them from claiming the Supporters' Shield right there. Even though Penedo probably could have done better on Neagle's goal, he made three other saves that few goalkeepers in the league can manage.
The Shield is far from secured, but the Sounders are very much in control. It's hard to ask for much more.
LA - Baggio Husidic 45'+1
LA - Marcelo Sarvas (Baggio Husidic) 50'
SEA - Clint Dempsey (Obafemi Martins, DeAndre Yedlin) 69'
SEA - Lamar Neagle (Obafemi Martins) 72'
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei, DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Brad Evans (Marco Pappa 66'), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett 86'), Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins.
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Jalil Anibaba, Kenny Cooper, Djimi Traore, Micheal Azira.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Obafemi Martins, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (2 tied at 2); FOULS: 18 (Lamar Neagle, 3); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 1 (Gonzalo Pineda, 1); SAVES: 0.
LA Galaxy - Jaime Penedo, A.J. DeLaGarza, Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez, Robbi Rogers, Baggio Husidic (Alan Gordon, 77'), Juninho, Landon Donovan, Marcelo Sarvas, Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane (Leonardo, 89').
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Rowe, Tommy Meyer, Jose Villarreal, Kenney Walker, Stefan Ishizaki.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (3 tied at 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (2 tied at 1); FOULS: 13 (5 tied at 2); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4 (Landon Donovan, 4); SAVES: 3 (3, Jamie Penedo).
LA - Robbie Rogers (caution) 22'
SEA - Zach Scott (caution) 25'
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (caution) 27'
SEA -Clint Dempsey (caution) 36'
LA - Omar Gonzalez (caution) 43'
SEA - Obafemi Martins (caution) 57'
LA - Omar Gonzalez (ejection) 88'
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner, Corey Rockwell
Fourth Official: Kevin Stott
Weather: Partly cloudy and 73 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
On coming back from being two goals down:
"I was extremely proud of our team because we took goals at the worst possible time. We took a goal right before half time and we took a goal right after half time. I think we helped in both those goals with a deflection and a combination of errors in the first. I think we showed character I thought we were unlucky. After the first 15-20 minutes I thought we created the better chances then on throughout the game. We were unlucky to not get a goal from [Clint] Dempsey in the first half. [Obafemi Martins] had a couple of good looks but then I was really proud of the character of our team being able to come back and lock it up to 2-2 and be knocking on the door to take the win."
On starting Marco Pappa on the bench:
"[Marco] Pappa was gone and there were some issues and he couldn't get his visa so he couldn't play in Peru. So he had done five days of nothing so we decided to go this way and be a little bit more defensive. One of the reasons we subbed [Brad] Evans out was because he was sitting on four yellow cards so at time being down 2-0 we didn't want to risk him getting a yellow card and missing the next game because we felt it was going to come down to the next game. We knew Pappa could come in and play well."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC MIDFIELDER BRAD EVANS
On tonight's game:
"I thought that was tactically the best game we have had here against LA. They have always had our number especially here. We've had a couple of good results against them in Seattle but here they seem to always have our number. I thought tonight we did a great job of bottling up the midfield and keeping the ball to the outside and trying to keep [Robbie] Keane and Landon [Donovan] off the ball as much as possible and that was tactically what we set out to do and I thought we did it well. They are always going to get chances especially with the guys that they. Even with the chances that we had I thought we could have scored 4 or 5 if the keeper doesn't a couple of big saves so we are happy with the result."
On the team's mindset being down two goals:
"The mindset was take Brad off the field score two goals in two minutes. They made a tactical substitution I was sitting on four yellows so they take me off and [Marco] Pappa comes on and we have two great build ups and two great finishes within 3-4 minutes and a couple more after that. Wearing down their team a little bit and bringing on a couple of skillful guys and they make a big difference. Next week maybe we take that into consideration and with the home game and now we look at the biggest game in our club history so far."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC FORWARD CLINT DEMPSEY
On his goal tonight:
"It was a ball played in. I think Oba [Martins] had a touch on it and just put it on frame."
On the intensity of the game:
"We knew it was going to be a difficult game. There was going to be a lot of energy in the crowd because of the importance of the game depending on the result but after going two goals down to fight and get a point we feel good about that."
On the team's mentality:
"To keep going, play our style and I thought we did that. I thought we played some good ball and created some good opportunities."
On the team's performance:
"We leave with a good feeling. We got a point and we know going into the final that if we get a draw or a win we will finish top."
On the possibilities of facing the Galaxy in the Western Conference Final:
"You never know what can happen in the playoffs. That is the craziness of it so you just focus on what you can focus on and focus on the next game really. Depending on what happens on the next game depends on who you are going to play in the playoffs and then you have to worry about that opponent and you make sure you take care of those games before you can even make it to the game you are talking about."
On next week's game:
"It will be a difficult game, a very important game and an exciting game. I think our fans will be up for it and that is what it is all about, playing in important games like that."
On coming back from being down two goals:
"We take confidence in that if you keep playing and that if you keep moving and keep creating you are going to get you opportunities and I think we showed that. We don't give up we keep fighting we do have that quality. Also we limited their chances as well even though they scored two. For the most part we played well and in the second half when we got the goals back we were the ones that kept pushing to try and get the winner. I feel good about our teams character and look forward to the challenge of the next game."
LA GALAXY HEAD COACH BRUCE ARENA
On the second half of the game:
"It was certainly a disappointing ending; we could have done a better job protecting a two goal lead, no question about that."
On Omar Gonzalez's second yellow card:
"A terrible call, just a poor piece of officiating. We all play without players, the next guy will step in, but we haven't made any decisions on what we are doing next week."
On the play of Marcelo Sarvas:
"He had a good game, the goal I think he was fortunate, it deflected of Martins I think, but Marcelo played well tonight, as did Juninho. I think the game was obviously a pretty even game, both teams battled, and they had a pretty defensive posture for most of the game, until they trailed by two goals. I thought that for sixty five minutes or so we had real good control of the game, and then they came at us a little more aggressive and obviously that first goal they scored got them back into the game."
On the play of Baggio Husidic:
"Baggio [Husidic] played well, he had a good solid game. Obviously the goal was important for us, he did a good job laying the ball up for Marcelo, but a good solid performance."
On the play of Jaime Penedo:
"Really wasn't tested too much, maybe he could have done a little bit better on that second goal, the first was a little tough. I think Dempsey kind of missed it a little bit and it ended up there, but he wasn't tested a whole lot. He made a big save in the first half."
On the pre-game and post-game ceremonies with Landon Donovan:
"Yea I think we need to start focusing on playing. We are real pleased that the process is now complete and we are entering the last regular season game and then the playoffs and hopefully we and Landon [Donovan] can focus on that."
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER LANDON DONOVAN
On his thoughts of the match:
"We are disappointed for sure. For whatever reason our energy level dropped in the second half and against a team like that you can get scored on so give them credit for finding a way back in the game. We couldn't really get out and get up the field and get possession of the ball, they kind of kept us pinned in our defensive half for a while so it became difficult at that point, but we still felt OK. A little bit of a fluke play bounces to the one guy you don't want in that position and it's 2-1, and then the second goal we got caught a little bit. In the end we realized that a point still keeps us alive so as frustrating as it is we are still alive for the Supporters Shield and now we have a tough task, but one we have already done this year and we have to try and replicate and win in Seattle next week. It is not the end of the world; we will move on and get ready for next week."
On why the energy level dropped in the second half:
"I think we were a little too complacent. A lot of times at 2-0 you can defend a little and focus on that, but against a team like Seattle that is not good enough, we have to keep going and put on the pressure. We left our foot off the gas and they made us pay for it. We couldn't get forward and every time the ball went forward we couldn't keep it. They kept us pinned in so we kept defending. Against a lot of teams that is OK, we did that a little bit a few weeks ago with Toronto here and we were able to see the game out, but when you do it against Seattle you are playing with fire and we gave them much too much time and respect and it cost us."
On the play of Obafemi Martins:
"He is a great player; him and Clint are a handful. They see each other well, they combine well, they move well, they create chances and they are dangerous in front of the goal. They are a very very good tandem and we did a good job against them in the first game but tonight was a little more difficult and the field is bigger here, it gave them more space, and they really took advantage of it."
On the red card given to Omar Gonzalez:
"I was standing right behind it, I think Omar [Gonzalez] got the ball and then followed through and got the guy. I think I can perhaps see it as a foul, or a yellow, it is a little harsh I think to send him off, but that is part of the game, it can happen. It is certainly going to affect us, not having Omar hurts, but it is an opportunity for someone else to play, and an opportunity hopefully for Omar to get some rest and regroup and get ready for the playoffs."
On his personal performance tonight:
"I felt tired at the end. I think it has been a long two weeks for me and I was excited and energetic the first part of the game, but I think I wore out as the game went on. I need to now, really, step back and focus. This has all been incredible for me, I wouldn't have it any other way, but I want to finish the season right so it is time to step back now. You guys won't see as much as me, fortunately for you guys, these next few weeks and we will get back to business."
On the physicality of the game tonight:
"It will probably be the same next week. This is that time of year, games are like that. In fairness to everyone, I think it was a hard game, not a nasty game, not a dirty game, just a hard game, and we expect the same next week. They playoffs are like that too, so we will be ready for it. We know what we did well last time in Seattle, they will feel good having come back and got this point here and they will be better than they were the first time we played there. It is going to be another good game, tonight was a good game, that one is going to be a good game, and whoever makes plays in both penalty boxes is probably the team that is going to win."
On the atmosphere at StubHub Center tonight:
"The atmosphere was incredible. It's just, I keep using the word overwhelming because I think I need to go to college and learn some synonyms but I can't figure out a better word. It is incredible, it really is. I am, so appreciating of all of it, I certainly dated myself with some of the artists who came out to perform but it was enjoyable for me and really a memory that will definitely last a lifetime."
On his final thoughts of the game and atmosphere of tonight:
"I was not aware that Boyz II Men was there, I didn't know that John Ondrasik from Five For Fighting who has become a really good friend and mentor to me, was going to do that pre-game so those were incredible. From Bruce's standpoint, his job is to win, and that is why he is here, so I can see why this might be frustrating for a coach to see all this, but Bruce also understands the big picture and he sees how important all of this is for the club and the fans, and for me and my family. It is frustrating in the moment but I know when he has some time to think about it, he will understand how nice it was that we could do this. It is incumbent upon me now to get back to the soccer part. I have made that clear to everyone that I am going to appreciate this and enjoy this, but that now it is time to get back to soccer. I am able to compartmentalize, so I am frustrated professionally tonight because of the result but I wouldn't let that take away from all the amazing things that happened tonight. I will put them both in their respective places and move forward accordingly."
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER BAGGIO HUSIDIC
On Seattle's comeback:
"I think that we were a little lazy on a few of the plays and give credit to Seattle, they finished the plays off really well. I think we got a little bit comfortable with the 2-0 lead and we let them get into it and luckily we were able to salvage a point in the game. It's going to come down to a very fun game next weekend in Seattle so it's not the end of the world, in my perspective it will be even more entertaining."
On having to win next week at Seattle:
"You can't go into Seattle and hold back and expect to tie, it doesn't really work like that there. The best way to go there is to go after them and to try and win the game, and it's a good mentality to have; nothing to lose so I think it will be a lot of fun to play out there."
On Omar Gonzalez' red card:
"Yeah, obviously Omar [Gonzalez] is one of the big leaders in the team and to lose a big figure like him is obviously very upsetting and it's always a challenge to replace him but there's guys on the squad that can step in and do the part and one of the reasons we've been so successful is having guys stepping in."
On the intensity of the game:
"It's what a finale, in I don't know how many years, and with a head-to-head game like this, so obviously we're expecting it to be very intense and little chippy and a very fun, entertaining game to play in."
On being successful when playing against Seattle:
"I think that going into this type of environment, it pumps you up. You want to quiet their crowd and just go after them. We showed that last time we played Seattle, we were absolutely dominating against them and I think we are all feeling confident that we can do that again."
On the game losing momentum towards the end:
"I felt like we looked a little bit sluggish after the 68th minute or so, after that second goal we kind of turned it off a little bit, which is a little bit difficult to understand. Sometimes that happens without an explanation, unfortunately they ended up scoring two goals."
On next week's game:
"It will be a very exciting game, we are going to go there and we are going to go after them. We need to win so there's no holding back so it will be a very fun game to watch."
On Marco Pappa's play:
"I've known [Marco] Pappa for a while, we played together in Chicago and he is a very skillful player and with the game changes you have to respect quality like that and you can't dive in on him and you have to worry about him as well. I thought the first 60 minutes [Lamar] Neagle was a bit quiet but when he switched to the wing and they brought Pappa in, it got a bit more difficult."
On his goal and assist tonight:
"Like I said, I think this team has been so successful because guys have been able to step up. Obviously Landon [Donovan], [Robbie] Keane and Gyasi [Zardes] are huge contributors on the offensive end and they've done a lot. Some of the other guys step in and get a goal and an assist and that's a sign of a good team."
LA GALAXY DEFENDER ROBBIE ROGERS
On giving up two second-half goals:
"I think that was a mental thing for us. We were up 2-0 and it seemed like we weren't as aggressive. I thought there were times where we were keeping the ball well and killing off the game, but after they scored their first goal, they had energy and seemed a little more dangerous... That's not really like us [to give up a lead]. Usually when we have that lead, we can kill the game off."
On disappointing finish after playing well:
"To be honest, I don't think we played that well, so I'm excited to go to Seattle. I know we're better than this. We had such a great game in Seattle last time and we're all really excited. I know we'll play better than we did today."
On Omar Gonzalez' absence next week:
"You can't replace Omar. He's such a good player. But we'll step up. We've played without him and without different guys and we've gotten results."
On Obafemi Martins:
"I think he benefits from having a bigger field and a grass field. I think on turf, it's a little more difficult to drop back and turn and go with guys. He's a great player and has had a great career and you have to really respect that. But we'll step up in Seattle."
On next game being important for playoff momentum:
"In my experience in MLS, it's always those games closer to the playoffs that you want to get momentum or at least play good games. Sometimes the results don't go your way but if you can, at the end of the game, know that you're ready for this, playing well and have your system down, that's the most important."