The Seattle Sounders traveled down I-5 to take on the LA Galaxy on Saturday. Thanks to the combination of Jordan Morris and Léo Chú, the Sounders picked up their second road win of the season with a 2-1 win as they withstood a second half surge from the Galaxy.
The best early chances arguably fell to LA. Stefan Frei was forced into an impressive double-save in the 18th minute as he stopped Tyler Boyd and Memo Rodriguez in quick succession. The Sounders responded almost immediately as they opened the scoring with a 21st minute goal that felt like it could have been ripped straight from last week’s highlight package. Chú raced onto a gorgeous ball from Nico Lodeiro and in behind the Galaxy defense with Morris running centrally. Chú played a low cross between a Galaxy defender and goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann that was timed perfectly for Morris to poke into the corner.
The Galaxy got one real look on a breakaway after the opening goal, but Seattle recovered well and forced LA to settle for a corner. Then in the 35th minute Chú was once again driving at the defense and, cutting in from the left wing, opted to pull up from 25 yards out with his weaker foot and beat Klinsmann to the far side of goal to give the Sounders a 2-0 lead that they took into halftime.
Coming out of halftime the Galaxy looked re-energized and the Sounders struggled to adjust. Following pretty sustained pressure, LA grabbed a goal back in the 63rd minute. Off of a corner Raheem Edwards unleashed a hard shot from the top of the box. Frei was able to block the effort, but the rebound fell to Jalen Neal inside the 6-yard box and the CB put it away. The game grew frantic, with both sides nearly swinging things with a goal, but last minute defensive interventions and some incredible saves from Frei kept the game at 2-1 until the sweet release of Allen Chapman’s whistle for full-time.
3’ — The first real Galaxy foray into a dangerous position nearly results in a good look for Dejan Joveljić in front of goal, but Yeimar is able to put it out for a corner.
9’ — After a Nico Lodeiro free kick from the top of the box goes into the wall, possession gets recycled and sets up a well-hit shot from Alex Roldan but the effort is too high.
16’ — Léo Chú drives towards the Galaxy goal with a couple of teammates for company, but the final ball is just off and is able to be cut out by a defender and grabbed by the GK.
18’ — Stefan Frei comes up with two BIG saves from inside the area to keep the game scoreless, denying both Tyler Boyd and Memo Rodriguez in a matter of seconds.
21’ — Léo Chú and Jordan Morris link up yet again! Lodeiro springs Chú in behind, and his centering ball finds Morris just ahead of Jonathan Klinsmann to put Seattle ahead. 1-0
26’ — The Galaxy get a perfect opportunity to respond, as Tyler Boyd runs right through the middle of a scrambling Sounders team, but the defense recovers and clear the danger.
35’ — Chú drives at the back line again, this time opting to have a hit himself and his low, driven effort beats Klinsmann to the weak side! 2-0 Sounders
53’ — Frei makes another huge save, holding his position to deny Preston Judd from the doorstep.
63’ — Frei’s first blemish of the game yields a goal for the Galaxy. Frei saves a shot from distance but gives up a rebound, which Jalen Neal pounces on. 2-1 Sounders
76’ — Raúl Ruidíaz nearly gets his first goal of the season after sustained possession from the Sounders, but Galaxy right back Calegari blocks the shot.
90’ +6 — Stefan Frei, after a series of interventions to stem wave after wave of pressure from the Galaxy, catches a shot from deep and the whistle blows for full-time.
On the arrival of Léo Chú: If the four-assist performance against Sporting Kansas City wasn’t enough, following that game with a goal and an assist probably gets Chú a heck of a lot closer to “arriving” in MLS after a pretty frustrating first year and a half in the league. Sure, it’s got to be noted that neither SKC nor the LA Galaxy are particularly good teams at this point, but the ball still has to go in the back of the net against bad teams. Chú is helping the Sounders do that with confident dribbles, well-chosen passes in attacking areas, and surprisingly enough with a goal from distance with his weaker foot. Chú may never be a world-beating, game-breaking player, but if he can keep his level this high he’ll give Brian Schmetzer the best kind of headache and more than make his transfer fee worth it.
Backup LB still needed: The circumstances were admittedly somewhat extreme, there’s no denying that. Nouhou had played 180 minutes for Cameroon during the international window and flew around the world, arriving back in Seattle on Thursday night. The first-choice backup Kelyn Rowe was unavailable after picking up a left hamstring strain in training. So Schmetzer opted to move Alex Roldan to the left and played Cristian Roldan on the right. While the appeal of playing two Roldans in a position group is undeniable, against the Galaxy playing Alex Roldan at LB simply wasn’t the right answer. In the end it worked well enough, but there has to be a better option than putting him in such a difficult position, even if it’s as a third-choice at the position.
Three points is three points: The second half was ugly. The Galaxy came out in a changed formation with an energy that was completely absent in the first half, and Seattle weathered the storm but seriously struggled to do so, let alone to find opportunities to put the game away. They also played a pretty fantastic first half that saw them take what felt like a commanding 2-0 lead at the time and seemed poised for a repeat of the win over SKC. After the final whistle, though, what will last long after the stadium is empty are the three points the team claimed on the road. They were able to bring Raúl Ruidíaz on after international duty, Héber was on the bench, and now they prepare to host St. Louis CITY SC next weekend with something a bit closer to their full-strength squad. The Sounders weren’t winning games like this in 2022, and they were seldom even drawing them, but today they won.
Did you see that?!?
Léo Chú only becomes more powerful as he comes closer to becoming a father.
He cannot be stopped @leochu07 scores from distance!! #LAvSEA | #Sounders pic.twitter.com/necI27X7fo— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) April 2, 2023
One stat to tell the tale
8 — Jordan Morris’s 8th goal of the season was also his 8th career goal against the LA Galaxy, the most he’s scored against any opponent. Only four other players have scored at least eight goals in the first six games, with Clint Dempsey being the most recent in 2014.
Man of the match
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