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Sounders vs. Galaxy, MLS Playoffs recap: Wild game ends in glorious fashion

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Erik Friberg played the hero, getting a second-half goal to allow Sounders to eliminate Galaxy for first time ever.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

An absolutely wild match started with goals coming early and often, included two more goals being waved off and both sides having tons of chances to score more. But in the end, it was an Erik Friberg goal off a broken play that sent the Seattle Sounders to their first-ever playoff elimination of the LA Galaxy, a 3-2 win.

The Sounders came into today's MLS Cup Playoff match having scored some of the quickest goals in their history against Real Salt Lake on Sunday. Clint Dempsey continued that form today with a quick goal in the 5th minute after taking advantage of Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts' miscommunication with a teammate.

Galaxy bounced back quickly, however, with a Sebastian Lletget goal in the 6th minute to even up the score. That didn't last, however, after another Galaxy mistake gave the Sounders a free kick in the attacking half in the 12th minute. Nelson Haedo Valdez capitalized on poor defending and miscommunication from the Galaxy by nodding in Andrea Ivanschitz's long free kick.

That scoreline didn't last long though, as the Sounders had their own defensive miscues in the 22nd minute to allowGyasi Zardes to pull one back with a solid strike past Stefan Frei. The Sounders thought they had a third not long after, after Andreas Ivanschitz put the ball in the net following yet another miscommunication, this time by the officiating crew.

The first half finished rather tepidly, as did the majority of the second half until Erik Friberg took advantage of the latest howler by Ricketts and scored the go-ahead goal for the Sounders in the 73rd minute. The last final 10 minutes was a bit nervy, with the Galaxy creating a number of chances that they were unable to capitalize on. The Sounders held on to finish 3-2, taking them to the Western Conference semi-finals.

Observations:

  • While Donovan Ricketts won't be forgetting this game quickly enough, his opposite number Stefan Frei came up huge for the Sounders a number of times today.
  • Leo Gonzalez left the match early after taking a pretty serious knock, with Zach Scott replacing him to send Brad Evans to left-back. This could have thrown the Sounders off tremendously, but captain Evans looked excellent in yet another position to add to his tally this season.
  • The Sounders showed a ton of resilience today after losing the lead multiple times, and wouldn't be where they are without the grit and determination of the entire team. Stefan Frei's contribution was huge, but the forwards' constant pressure high up the pitch. was absolutely vital to finishing this match 3-2.
  • Of course, the Sounders have more injury concerns to deal with. Not only did Osvaldo Alonso and Marco Pappa miss the match, but Nelson Haedo Valdez and Evans came out with injuries. Hopefully nothing was too serious.