Categorized | MLS, MLS Match Reports

Galaxy rout Sounders in First Leg of Western Conference Finals

Posted on 12 November 2012 by iyeo

The Galaxy drew first blood in the first leg of the Western Conference final on Sunday evening, as another brace from Robbie Keane and a goal from the Galaxy’s prime postseason performer, Mike Magee, paced LA to a 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders at the Home Depot Center.

“The whole team did well,” Galaxy right back Sean Franklin said. “We were passing well and running well. We were able to find a lot of space.”

The goal by Magee is the midfielder’s sixth goal in the Galaxy’s last eight postseason matches and his eighth in the playoffs since being acquired by Los Angeles prior to the 2009 season. The win and the goal differential is much needed for the Galaxy as it prepares for what is sure to be a tough final leg at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field next Sunday evening.

“We played very well against an excellent team and we’re not foolish to believe this thing is over,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.

A tightly played first half looked certain to end scoreless, but the Galaxy got one last chance right before the break and made the most of it. Juninho played a ball to an overlapping Sean Franklin and the right back one-timed a cross into the penalty area and a dummy by Christian Wilhelmsson allowed the ball to go to Landon Donovan, who withstood Jeff Parke’s pressure and whipped a floating cross into the six and Robbie Keane’s header beat a scrambling Michael Gspurning into the back net to give LA the lead heading into the break.

“It was important that we kept our patience and that certainly was the case,” Keane said. “We knew that was going to be difficult, they were going to defend well and they did that. I think the goal just before halftime was a big boost for us and obviously killed them a little.”

The chances and goals would come flying for the Galaxy in the first half. Goal number two came in the 64th minute on a flawless buildup. Keane received a ball from David Beckham near midfield and quickly led LA on a counter. Keane then played a forward ball for Franklin, who again one-timed a perfect cross into the 18 for an unmarked Mike Magee, who did the rest, slipping his shot past Gspurning near post. The Galaxy capped off the scoring three minutes later, as Donovan sprinted for the Sounders 18, pulled up just outside the box and took a shot that was deflected, but fortunately, Wilhelmsson continued his run into the box and thus got behind the Seattle backline, touched a ball the first time, then managed to get a shot off just before Gspurning could scoop up the ball and the ball trickled towards the goal line and Keane ensured that that would be the end result, as he easily tapped the ball into the open net.

“I thought we could’ve kept it 1-0,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We we’re still doing some things with the ball, unfortunately, we got caught on the counters.”

Even with the three-goal lead, LA was not satisfied, continuing to take advantage of Seattle’s ever-growing desperation. In the 71st minute, Marcelo Sarvas played a ball to Keane just outside the box, Keane then played it back to a sprinting Sarvas inside the box, Sarvas pulled up and attempted to lob a ball past Gspurning, but Gspurning won this battle, as he parried the ball over the endline. Another LA chance came in the 76th minute when Keane again led a Galaxy counter, played a ball that was dummied by Donovan and Wilhelmsson quickly touched the ball to Donovan, who then touched a ball past Gspurning, but was cleared near the goal line by Jeff Parke.

“Tonight was one of those nights where every play was on form,” Arena said.

The Galaxy were aggressive right early in the first half, as Wilhelmsson played a long ball right for a sprinting Donovan on the right side. Donovan was then taken down by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado just outside the right corner of the penalty area, though the Sounders were able to snuff out the ensuing free kick and corner kick. Then in the 27th minute, Keane back-heeled a ball to Donovan, who quickly sent it forward for a sprinting Keane, Keane then crossed into the box for Donovan, but his header was easily saved by Gspurning. Seattle’s best chance in the first half came in the 30th minute when Osvaldo Alonso launched a long-range volley from 30+ yards out, but was collected by Saunders.

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