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Sounders vs. LA Galaxy, MLS Playoffs: Seattle makes it interesting but falls short 2-1

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders did just about everything right, but it wasn't quite enough. After storming out a 2-0 lead with a pair of first-half goals and looking all the world like they might cruise to the first MLS Cup finals appearances in franchise history, a Juninho wonderstrike flipped the series and ultimately ended their season. The Sounders won the home leg of the Western Conference finals 2-1, but the Galaxy advanced courtesy of the away-goal tiebreaker on Sunday.

The Sounders real moment of danger was Yedlin's cross in 19th minute. split a couple defenders and put a ball across goal that Penedo dove onto. Although there was no damage done on that particular play, it started a roughly 15-minute run in which the Sounders turned a 1-0 aggregate-goal deficit into a 2-1 lead and the Galaxy were probably considering themselves lucky it wasn't worse.

The first blow came in the 26th minute with Yedlin again playing a key role, albeit one that was a bit more subtle. The sequence started with Yedlin joining the attack and drawing some attention of the defense. Lamar Neagle then passed it into Dempsey, who worked a quick give-and-go with Martins. Although Martins couldn't quite split a couple defenders, Dempsey was first to the loose ball and fired off a quick shot. Dan Gargan blocked the shot, but it had enough on it to get to Evans, who was streaking in from the opposite wing. All Evans had to do with make contact, which he did with a little added emphasis.

The Sounders quickly piled on with several more chances, the best of which came off the foot of Dempsey and actually found the back of the net. But Dempsey was flagged offside following Evans' header.

The barrage of chances seemed to soften the Galaxy defense, though, and help Dempsey get the go-ahead goal. Dempsey hit a rebounding ball first time from about 16 yards out that took a slight deflection off Omar Gonzalez and escaped the grasp of Penedo.

Dominant as the Sounders were over that stretch, they had a very precarious lead as a single Galaxy goal would flip the series. In the 54th minute, that's exactly what happened.

Off a somewhat poorly taken Landon Donovan cross, Gonzalez got the slightest touch, settling the ball just enough for Juninho to run onto it and lace a half volley from about 20 yards out that beat Frei to the near post. It was a dramatic turn of events and the Galaxy actually had a couple chances to push get another, but Frei stopped Donovan on a breakaway and then saved Dan Gargan's open header from about six yards out.

The Sounders had their chances to go back ahead, too. The closest they came was in the 84th minute when Andy Rose got loose down the sideline and flashed his shot across the goal mouth, beating Penedo but unable to bend it inside the far post. Dempsey also had a decent look in the 90th minute when a deflected ball fell to his feet, but his half-volley sailed high.

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