Sounders clobbered 4-0 as Robbie Rogers makes historic debut for Los Angeles
Both the score and the substitution were historic, but on entirely different levels. Sounders FC matched its worst defeat Sunday, a humiliating...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ Tampa Bay (U.S. Open Cup), 4:30 p.m.
Latest from the Sounders FC blog
CARSON, Calif. — Both the score and the substitution were historic, but on entirely different levels.
Sounders FC matched its worst defeat Sunday, a humiliating 4-0 road loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of 24,811 at The Home Depot Center. Amazingly enough, the highlight of the night might have come in the 77th minute, when Robbie Rogers subbed into the game.
It marked the L.A. midfielder's first minutes as the only active and openly gay player in league history. The pioneering moment — one that stretches across the American sporting landscape — capped a banner day for the Galaxy that also included a first-half hat trick by star forward Robbie Keane.
Seattle (4-4-3) had its three-game winning streak and six-game unbeaten streak end embarrassingly.
"Sometimes you have a bad game," said coach Sigi Schmid. "Some days it's (crap), and you just have to say it's (crap) today and you move on."
The Sounders previous worst losses were also 4-0 defeats — one to the San Jose Earthquakes on Aug. 2, 2009, and another to the Galaxy on May 8, 2010, which led to a refund of sorts for season-ticket holders. Only an L.A. shot off ringing off the post in the 82nd minute prevented Sunday from being Seattle's worst.
"Today we did everything wrong," said midfielder Mauro Rosales.
The action was woefully one-sided from the opening whistle, and the Galaxy started the rout in the 12th minute, when Sean Franklin tapped in a cross from the right side by Keane.
Keane, an Irish international, then took care of the scoring himself. He doubled the lead in the 24th minute, when he finished a wide-open chance in the penalty box with no defenders around him.
The dominance was settled through Keane penalty kicks in the 34th and 44th minute.
The first came when Seattle defender Djimi Traore was whistled for a foul on what looked to be a clean slide tackle — one the owner of the rival Timbers even defended on Twitter. Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning blocked Keane's initial attempt but came off his goal line early to do so, which gave the L.A. forward a second chance.
Keane wouldn't need it in the 44th-minute attempt, which capped the worst half in Sounders history.
"That was the most shameful first half since I've been here," said Gspurning. "Absolutely unacceptable."
Worst half Schmid has been a part of?
"Yeah, probably," he said.
Seattle hadn't even trailed by three goals in any game at halftime.
Years from now, many may have forgotten the final score in lieu of what was one of the most anticipated substitutions in league history. Flashes from cameras scattered across the stadium and a loud cheer rang out as Rogers replaced Juninho.
The weight of the moment was understood in pregame, when a handful of Sounders, including Marc Burch, Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson, Shalrie Joseph and Marcus Hahnemann, sought out Rogers with either a hug or handshake.
On-the-field proceedings were decidedly less amicable after that.
• Sounders FC next plays the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the second-tier North American Soccer League in a U.S. Open Cup third-round game Wednesday. Kickoff is 4:30 p.m. and there will be live video and audio streamed on SoundersFC.com.
• Johnson and Evans will leave to join the U.S. men's national team this week for training camp ahead of some international exhibitions and a trio of World Cup qualifiers in June.
• Midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Steve Zakuani were out for the Sounders with groin injuries.
• Joseph was issued a red card in the 87th minute. He said afterward that referee Baldomero Toledo had "a terrible game. I wasn't surprised at all he gave me a red card." Johnson received a yellow card in the 66th minute and is one caution away from an automatic one-game suspension.
• Rogers signed with L.A. on Saturday after his rights were acquired in a trade that sent the Galaxy's leading scorer, Mike Magee, to the Chicago Fire. Burch played collegiately with Rogers at Maryland and Evans was a teammate on the 2008 Columbus Crew.
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
|Los Angeles||4 0 — 4|
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Lamar Neagle, 65th), Shalrie Joseph, Brad Evans, Servando Carrasco (David Estrada, 65th), Eddie Johnson (Mario Martinez, 72nd), Obafemi Martins.
Los Angeles — Carlo Cudicini, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Greg Cochrane, Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho (Robbie Rogers, 77th), Michael Stephens, Landon Donovan, Gyasi Zardes (Hector Jimenez, 83rd), Robbie Keane (Jose Villarreal, 73rd).
|Feast or famine|
|The last three Sounders games:|
|May 11||San Jose||W, 4-0|
|May 18||FC Dallas||W, 4-2|
|Sunday||@ L.A. Galaxy||L, 4-0|