Sounders FC loses season opener to the Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-0
Another night of poor finishing, coupled with a sparkling performance by Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, prevented Sounders FC from a third-straight season-opening win as the home team fell 1-0.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ New York Red Bulls, 4:30 p.m., KONG
Latest from the Sounders FC blog
For two years, opening day in Major League Soccer has been synonymous with three things: an impassioned Qwest Field crowd, a nationally televised broadcast and a convincing Sounders FC win.
On Tuesday, that trend got off to a good start against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
First, 36,433 vocal, scarf-waving fans braved the rain and set a team record for attendance for an MLS game.
ESPN's high-profile announcers were here, too.
But another night of poor finishing, coupled with a sparkling performance by Galaxy backup goalkeeper Josh Saunders, prevented Sounders FC from a third straight season-opening win as the home team fell 1-0.
"Our guys are disappointed, especially since it's the opening game of the season and we hadn't lost an opener before," said coach Sigi Schmid, whose team posted shutouts of New York and Philadelphia in previous openers. "At the end of the day, as I said before this game, there's going to be 33 games left after this one and there's still a lot of points out there."
Los Angeles (1-0) scored the game's only goal in the 58th minute when Brazilian midfielder Juninho collected a pass from defender Todd Dunivant and fired a 25-yard curling shot that powered through a save attempt by Seattle's Kasey Keller.
Keller, who was mostly pleased with the defense, was disappointed no one pressured Juninho, who scored a long-range goal in a meeting between the two teams last year.
"You have to step up and make guys earn stuff," Keller said.
The result marked Sounders FC's fifth consecutive loss to the Galaxy in league games, including two to the end the 2010 season in the Western Conference semifinals.
"Sometimes you have a boogey-team, a team that just for some reason it doesn't work for you," Schmid said, "and right now they're that team for us."
Seattle (0-1) had nothing to blame but its lack of finishing — a shortcoming exacerbated by the pre-kickoff news that the team and designated player Blaise Nkufo had decided to part ways.
Sounders FC forward O'Brian White had the closest miss in the 72nd minute, when he redirected a cross by Steve Zakuani just inches wide of the goal.
In the 84th minute, a dipping shot from 30 yards by forward Fredy Montero was pushed wide by Saunders' fingertips.
Earlier, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso had an open shot in the 61st minute that sailed high.
"Sounds like the bugaboo from preseason," Schmid said of the misses.
The chances were there in the first half as well, where Seattle controlled most of the back-and-forth action. Sounders FC nearly got on the board in the ninth minute when Montero fired a knuckling shot from about 30 yards that Saunders — who filled in for injured starter Donovan Ricketts — was just able to stop for the first of six saves.
Sounders FC had several other chances in the first half, including one sparkling moment after Zakuani beat a defender, tiptoed the end line and made a perfect pass to a wide-open White, but the tall Jamaican couldn't get off a shot.
White had a great opportunity in the 42nd minute, when a failed clearance fell to his feet, but his open 20-yard shot was right at Saunders. Erik Friberg, a fellow Sounders FC newcomer, had half the Qwest crowd thinking he had scored in the 44th when his chip shot rattled the side netting.
"We just have to lick our wounds, go forward and take care of the points and go," Schmid said. "If we had played absolutely horrible, if we hadn't created any chances, if they had dominated us A through Z, then you'd see me banging my head against the wall. That wasn't the case and I think we'll be able to move forward."
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Galaxy 1, Sounders FC 0
|Los Angeles||0 1 — 1|
|Seattle FC||0 0 — 0|
Los Angeles — Josh Saunders, A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin, David Beckham, Mike Magee (Michael Stephens, 76th), Chris Birchall, Juninho, Landon Donovan, Chad Barrett (Jovan Kirovski, 79th).
Seattle FC — Kasey Keller, Jeff Parke, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque, 63rd), Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani (Miguel Montano, 84th), O'Brian White (Lamar Neagle, 79th), Fredy Montero.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.
I've been fortunate to have traveled the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia. Exotic islands, too. Wherever I go, I'm struck by one undeniable trut...
Post a comment