SEATTLE – A brilliant goal from Fredy Montero helped the Sounders do what they had so long been waiting for. Defeat the LA Galaxy in MLS play. In front of 39,002 home fans, Seattle was able to do just that in a thrilling 2-0 shut out.
The Galaxy inexplicably arrived in Seattle without two of their big name players, David Beckham and Robbie Keane, disappointing many fans in a match that had been touted as an MLS showdown considering both teams have the best combined league records over the previous three seasons. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena fielded an unfamiliar line up with only regulars Landon Donovan A.J. DeLaGarza making the cut.
“It’s tougher to play against a group like that. You know how you’re going to play against a Beckham or a Robbie (Keane). Sometimes it’s harder to play against the guys you don’t know who are full of energy. But those guys not being here, it doesn’t take anything away from our win,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid commented post-match. This was the first time the sounders had defeated the Galaxy in six MLS match ups.
LA’s first choice keeper Josh Saunders was also unavailable for Wednesday’s match, after entering the league sponsored drug rehab program on Saturday. Bill Gaudette started instead and chalked up a series of great saves until Eddie Johnson got the best of him in the 40’.
After team captain Mauro Rosales set up a perfect cross Johnson sent the ball into the upper right corner of the net with a backwards flick of a header. It was his second goal in as many games for the newly fit striker; he gave Seattle the game winner against Chicago on the previous Saturday.
The Sounders held the ball well in the first half, dominating possession fifty six to forty three percent. Playing deep into the Galaxy half of the field for much of the initial forty five minutes, Seattle created numerous scoring opportunities almost all coming from Montero. The young Columbian came excruciatingly close first in the 10’, drilling the ball into Gaudette’s chest and later in the 25’ off a deflected shot from Johnson that went sailing over the bar.
But Montero was rewarded for his persistence in the 50’ with an absolutely incredible goal, rocketing the ball from thirty five yards out thru a gaping hole in the LA defenses and burying it in the upper left corner of the net. Gaudette stretched full out, jumping for the save but couldn’t even get a finger on the ball. Montero’s teammates later predicted it the winner for MLS Goal of the Week, a tremendous way to end his scoring drought of 1,083 minutes.
Seattle was forced to bring on reserve keeper Bryan Meredith after the break, replacing Michael Gspurning who was sidelined with a recurring hip injury. After the match, Schmid said the sub was more of precautionary measure rather than a serious injury but praised Meredith’s efforts. “Tremendous for Bryan Meredith to come in and keep a clean sheet for forty five minutes. We have a lot of faith in him.” This was Seattle’s fourth shut out of the season.
Meredith made several saves of his own as the Galaxy tried to get a result in the second half. Galaxy team captain Landon Donovan had a well placed opportunity in the 62’that was blocked by Meredith and Marcelo Sarvas followed that up shortly in the 64’ with a shot that narrowly missed going in goal and brushed the right post before rolling out of play.
The win continued Seattle’s run of form and on track for a club-best start to a season. This was the first game of a two match week for the Sounders who next host the Philadelphia Union at home on Saturday.