Sounders F.C. ends slump with win over Los Angeles
Maybe it was the blue uniforms. Certainly, there was no question that a major send-off also was a difference in Sounders FC's 2-0 win over...
Seattle Times staff reporter
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CARSON, Calif. — Maybe it was the blue uniforms.
Certainly, there was no question that a major send-off also was a difference in Sounders FC's 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.
It was the Galaxy feeling blue after losing star David Beckham to a red card in the 17th minute of the game, and Seattle took advantage and scored its biggest road victory of the season.
Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero scored goals as Sounders FC (8-5-8) gained three relatively unexpected points on the road. Unexpected, considering that the team had gone three straight Major League Soccer matches without a goal and was missing All-Star midfielder Freddie Ljungberg.
Ljungberg was held out after experiencing disorientation and memory loss upon the team's arrival in California. The problem was not related to the migraines he'd dealt with twice earlier this season, according to the team. He'll be re-evaluated by team medical staff when Sounders FC returns home today.
Peter Vagenas, playing against the team with which he spent the previous nine seasons, started for Ljungberg. Vagenas made a major impact on the match.
In the 17th minute, Beckham slid into Vagenas in an effort to get the ball. Replays showed Beckham went in with his cleat spikes up. Referee Ricardo Salazar showed Beckham, the league's highest-paid player and most recognizable star, a red card.
"I can't complain with that. He came in pretty hard ... I can see how the referee would determine that that was likely a dangerous tackle," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said.
With Beckham's midfield presence missing, Sounders FC needed about five minutes to find an opening. Forward Nate Jaqua got the ball to Brad Evans as the midfielder made a run. Evans dribbled in, made a centering pass, and Zakuani was on the other side of the goal to pound it in.
"Obviously we're happy with the win. The card to Beckham changed the game early on," Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said.
The goal broke a streak of 335 consecutive minutes without a goal in league play. The team's string of 246 minutes without an away goal also came to a halt.
Right at the 54-minute mark, Seattle added to its lead. Vagenas sent a corner kick bending to Jaqua, whose header found Montero right in front at the top of the 7-yard box. Montero scored, and jogged toward the section of Sounders FC fans to celebrate his 10th goal of the season.
The game got chippy in the second half. Sounders FC defender Tyrone Marshall was red-carded in the 76th minute for a tackle on the Galaxy's Landon Donovan, who entered the game at halftime after dealing with the swine flu virus all week. Three minutes later, Eddie Lewis of the Galaxy was sent off with a red after hitting Seattle's James Riley in the back of the head as the ball went out of bounds.
Zakuani felt Seattle was playing well enough to win even before anyone was ejected.
"We were passing the ball," he said. "We were moving well and had some chances. With the 10 it just made more space, and we took advantage."
The win was Sounders FC's first road victory since April 4, when it defeated Toronto FC 2-0. It also gave Sounders FC a boost in the MLS West standings, as it moved past Los Angeles and Colorado into second place with 32 points.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sounders FC 2, Galaxy 0
|Seattle FC||1 1 — 2|
|Los Angeles||0 0 — 0|
Seattle FC — Kasey Keller, Peter Vagenas, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Steve Zakuani (Sebastien Le Toux, 74th), Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Nate Jaqua (Sanna Nyassi, 88th), Tyrone Marshall, Fredy Montero (Zach Scott, 86th).
Los Angeles — Donovan Ricketts, Eddie Lewis, Stefani Miglioranzi (Landon Donovan, 45th), Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, A.J. DeLaGarza, Jovan Kirovski, David Beckham, Omar Gonzalez, Chris Klein (Bryan Jordan, 58th), Alan Gordon (Mike Magee, 60th).
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