League-leading Galaxy shellacs Sounders FC, 4-0
Landon Donovan assists on L.A.'s first three goals and later scores his first goal of the season in the 67th minute to cap the rout.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Sounders FC midfielder Freddie Ljungberg placed his hands on his hips with a "How did this happen?" tenor as the final seconds of an embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy ticked away Saturday.
The Qwest Field scoreboard read the final: L.A. Galaxy 4, Sounders FC 0.
A resounding defeat and Seattle's worst-ever loss at home in front of 36,273 fans, a team record for a Major League Soccer game.
"I think the fans deserve a big apology," said Sounders FC forward/midfielder Steve Zakuani. "They can't pay to watch that."
They did pay to see MLS's best team, however. The top-of-the-table Galaxy (7-0-1) has outscored opponents 15-2 this season and leads Seattle (2-3-3) by 13 points in the Western Conference standings.
They also paid to see arguably the league's two best players in L.A. forwards Landon Donovan, who assisted on his team's first three goals and later scored his first goal of the season in the 67th minute to cap the rout, and Edson Buddle, who had a quiet night with a lone assist after coming into the day with a league-leading nine goals.
Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said it was his team's worst game in its two years of existence.
The habitual pain of missed scoring chances and untimely defensive errors, however, was all too familiar.
"We make mistakes and we suffer for them," Ljungberg said. "That's just the way it is at the moment."
The first misstep surprisingly came at a time Seattle was controlling the run of play. Despite playing the first 20 minutes primarily on L.A.'s side of the field, the Galaxy took a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute on a 20-yard shot by Jovan Kirovski that glanced off the gloves of goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who was in position to make the save.
"Unfortunately I made a mistake, put the team a goal down and we didn't recover from it," Keller said. "It's one of the fun parts about goalkeeping. Some days you just have to hold your hand up and say, 'Sorry about that.' And that's what today was for me."
L.A. extended its 1-0 halftime lead quickly after the break on two set pieces from Donovan. In the 52nd minute, he found the head of 6-foot-5 defender Omar Gonzalez for a goal on a corner kick.
Five minutes later, Donovan earned his league-leading ninth assist when he sent a bouncing free-kick to Todd Dunivant, who dove to head in the cross for a 3-0 lead.
"The third goal is inexcusable," Schmid said. "Two guys (Peter Vagenas and James Riley) let the ball skip past them. That's inexcusable. You can't have that. Everybody's looking at the other guy hoping that they do the job for them."
Donovan tacked on the final goal in the 67th minute, hammering in a cross from Buddle on the right wing.
The unqualified defeat had Schmid saying that starting jobs in Seattle's lineup could be on the line. Most of the players had already received the wake-up call, however, at the hands of the Galaxy.
"We let the fans down, we let ourselves down — everybody," Keller said.
"Hopefully we can get better from it."
• Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso left the game in the 37th minute after straining his right quadriceps. The Cuban, who had played every minute this season, was replaced by Nathan Sturgis.
• Young Colombian Miguel Montano made his Seattle debut in the 57th minute and was a lone bright spot for the home team.
• L.A.'s last game at Qwest was a 2-1 loss via shootout to Real Salt Lake in the 2009 MLS Cup.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
GALAXY 4, SOUNDERS FC 0
|Los Angeles||1 3 — 4|
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
Los Angeles — Donovan Ricketts, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Chris Klein (Tristan Bowen, 63rd), Michael Stephens, Chris Birchall, Bryan Jordan, Landon Donovan (Clint Mathis, 71st), Edson Buddle (Alex, 75th), Jovan Kirovski.
Seattle — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Leo Gonzalez, Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Osvaldo Alonso (Nathan Sturgis, 37th), Brad Evans (Sanna Nyassi, 70th), Steve Zakuani, Peter Vagenas, Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero (Miguel Montano, 57th).
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