The Los Angeles Galaxy are backing their way into the MLS Cup Final.
That’s right, you heard it on the View from Avalon. Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy are moonwalking into the 2012 MLS Cup Final on Dec. 1 after a 2-1 defeat to Sigi Schmid’s Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field. Despite the defeat, Los Angeles defeat Seattle 4-2 on aggregate to advance to American soccer’s showpiece event, where a familiar foe awaits them…Dominic Kinnear’s Houston Dynamo.
Let’s take a look at the six things we learned from this contest.
1. Eddie Johnson opens up the scoring for Seattle
12 minutes into the contest, Eddie Johnson, who was denied his chance a couple of minute earlier due to being called offsides, beat Omar Gonzalez and perhaps sown=ed the seeds for a massive comeback from the Seattle Sounders. That is perseverance from a player that is experiencing a renaissance, a second coming in Major League Soccer.
2. One-sided first half in favor of Seattle
At the halftime interval, the Seattle Sounders were cruising…with authority. The Sounders dominated a number of statistics such as possession (58.2 percent to 41.8 percent), passing accuracy (72 percent to 63 percent), duels won (51 percent to 47 percent), open play crosses (nine to five) and attempts on goal (seven to three).
This is Sounders soccer at its finest: playing with their backs to the wall, crisp passing, and excellent dispossession. The Galaxy were taken out of their game in the first half and were unfortunate to not have a chance at a penalty in the 42nd minute of play. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado should have been whistled for a handball in the box, but referee Mark Geiger is not exactly one of the most consistent officials in this league. Thus, the Sounders were lucky to be up a goal at the break in this second leg.
3. Zach Scott makes it 2-0 Seattle
And the comeback continued for the Sounders. In the 57th minute, Zach Scott showed the Galaxy how to finish a corner. Marcelo Sarvas did not do a very good job at marking Scott, and the goal resulted in a 2-0 lead for Seattle.
4. Robbie Keane pulls one back in 68th minute
Adam Johansson may have given the Galaxy a bit of a lifeline in the 67th minute of play. His handball off a clearance attempt forced Geiger to point to the spot, and that seemed to be a make-up call for the non-call late in the first half.
The goal put the Galaxy just one goal back in what has been a riveting second leg.
5. Seattle end season with a victory, hold home field advantage
The series between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders this season ends with both teams winning their home games. However, in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the last two games matter, and the Galaxy’s 3-0 performance over the Sounders in the first leg was strong enough for the Galaxy to prevail. The Sounders could not overcome their performance in the first leg.
6. A sour night turns even more sour for Seattle
Osvaldo Alonso, the team captain for Seattle, was issued a red card at the end of the contest for dissent and bringing the game into disrepute. Perhaps the most hilarious moment of the night was when Robbie Keane was given the Western Conference Trophy, he quickly lifted it, placed it back down, and led the team in walking off the dais as swiftly as possible, to the disgruntled boos of the fans.
In spite of the sour victory for the Sounders, this was a dominant performance by Seattle to end their season. Taking advantage of Landon Donovan’s absence, they won a number of key statistics, such as possession (62.7 percent to 37.3 percent), passing accuracy (77 percent to 64 percent), duels won (53 percent to 46 percent), open play crosses (24 to eight), attempts on goal (13 to five) and shots on target (five to two).
As for the Galaxy, they will be sweating on the health of Landon Donovan ahead of MLS Cup 2012 on Dec. 1 at Victoria Street. Of coursse, central defender A.J. DeLaGarza is expected to be probable to start on that day. All in all, it was a solid victory for Seattle, but it wasn’t compelling enough for the Sounders to turn the tide in time. As a result, Los Angeles now have a chance to earn their fourth star against the Dynamo.