LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez finished third in the 2014 MLS Defender of the Year voting as Seattle Sounders FC center back Chad Marshall took home the top honors.
Marshall finished ahead of D.C. United central defender Bobby Boswell who led both the media and club voting, but the Sounders defender's advantage in the player voting were enough to give him the Defender of the Year. The award is an unprecedented third for Marshall who won the honor twice in 2008 and 2009 while with the Columbus Crew.
Gonzalez was nominated for the league's top honor despite A.J. DeLaGarza winning the team's honor which is voted on by local media.
Jair Marrufo to ref Western Conference Championship second leg between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- Amid the officiating drama of the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship first leg with Seattle Sounders FC, the Professional Referees Organization announced that referee Jair Marrufo will get the whistle in Sunday's decisive second leg.
Marrufo officiated over four LA Galaxy games this season including the team's 5-0 Western Conference Semifinal second leg victory over Real Salt Lake earlier this month. During the four games, Marrufo whistled an average 16.25 fouls per game while awarding six yellow cards as the Galaxy earned a 2-0-2 record. The 37-year-old official also reffed two games for the Sounders as Seattle earned a 1-1-0 record. During his Sounders matches, Marrufo called an average of 20.5 fouls per game while dishing out five yellow cards.
Interestingly enough, Marrufo was the man in the middle for a Galaxy/Sounders playoff game in the past as he officiated LA's 3-0 thumping of Seattle in the 2012 Western Conference Championship first leg.
The complete officiating team is below.
REFEREE: JAIR MARRUFO
AR1: Eric Boria
AR2: Corey Rockwell
4TH: Hilario Grajeda
CARSON, Calif. –The LA Galaxy endured a physical battle in their 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC and when the two teams kick off again next Sunday, a similar game is expected.
In their 1-0 win over Seattle, both teams were prone to heavy challenges as the game ended with a total of 25 fouls being called by referee Mark Stott as well as five yellow cards. During the second leg up at CenturyLink Field, another physical match is anticipated, especially after both teams combined for 40 fouls and six yellow cards.
Galaxy central defender Omar Gonzalez, who admitted after the Seattle victory that he “kept his distance” from Sounders players due to his fear of being issued a second yellow, revealed that he’ll be more aggressive in the second leg in Seattle.
“Next week, that second yellow card doesn’t matter,” Gonzalez said. “I’m able to be more aggressive and I’m able to get up on guys a lot tighter so it’ll be fun.
“It’s going to be more aggressive and there might be worse fouls because of the field and how fast it moves,” he added. “Overall, players have to be smart and no one wants to get sent off.”
Marcelo Sarvas, who remains an injury question mark for the game, noted that Seattle’s physicality might end up hurting the Supporters’ Shield winners this weekend.
“I didn’t see their team play a game this year when they had to push and score a goal,” Sarvas. “In my opinion, they play very conservative. They keep two guys higher all the time and everyone behind the box so we’ll see what the situation is going to be there [on Sunday].”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have one foot in the MLS Cup final with their 1-0 Western Conference Championship first leg victory over Seattle Sounders FC,, but it’s not time to celebrate just yet.
LA must first earn a result in their second leg at CenturyLink Field this Sunday. Holding a 1-0 advantage after their home leg provides LA with comfort especially considering that away goals will be used as the first tiebreaker in the series.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash, the list below includes all of the potential scenarios for LA to reach MLS Cup:
LA GALAXY WIN ON THE ROAD
*Any victory for the Galaxy in Seattle will send them through to the championship.
LA GALAXY EARN A DRAW
*Any draw between the two teams including, but not limited to a scoreless tie will see the Galaxy advance.
LA GALAXY LOSE TO SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
*Now here is where it gets a little tricky.
A 1-0 victory by Seattle will see the match go into extra time—where away goals are not weighted any further—and could lead to a penalty kick shootout. Any other one goal victory by the Sounders wherein the Galaxy scores a goal will see LA advance to the championship. However, if the Sounders are able to win by a two goal or more margin, no matter LA’s score, then Seattle will advance to MLS Cup for the first time in MLS history.
CARSON, Calif. – Tommy Meyer came through in the clutch during the LA Galaxy’s run to the 2012 MLS Cup and as they look to add a fifth title to the mantel, the defender may be coming up big yet again.
Filling in for the injured Leonardo, Meyer put forth a strong performance on Sunday in the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in their Western Conference Championship first leg. Alongside Omar Gonzalez, Meyer was immense in shutting down the Sounders scoring tandem of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, frequently limiting their chances to place chances on frame for goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
“It was good. It was my first 90 minutes in awhile and I got through” Meyer said. "You just have to be aware of where they are when they have the ball and be in position."
For all his brevity, the stats showcased the magnitude of his showing as he made three recoveries and interceptions apiece as well as six clearances on the night. The finest moment for the defender came in the 78th minute when he scooped up a Martins pass to Dempsey and shut down a Seattle breakaway.
Meyer’s stellar showing defensively earned him universal praise from the Galaxy locker room, including midfielder Landon Donovan.
“Tommy was great,” Donovan said. “Tommy hasn’t played in a long time. He came in two weeks ago against Salt Lake and was excellent. He was very good again tonight. There were a couple of plays that were a little dicey, but you expect that from a guy that hasn’t played in a long time. I thought he was terrific. I thought that him and Omar [Gonzalez] did a great job shutting down those two. Those two are very, very difficult to play against. They did a great job. And we will need the same next week from them.”
LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez says referee Kevin Stott kept players on the field with an eye to the second leg
CARSON, Calif. – There were hard challenges aplenty on both sides during the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC, but the home side believed that Seattle were fortunate to end the match with 11 men.
LA’s ire was focused on Seattle center back Zach Scott who was given a yellow card by head referee Kevin Stott in the 37th minute but did not see a second caution—and subsequent expulsion—despite three additional challenges later. But it was Scott’s foul on Alan Gordon in the dying moments that drew the most criticism thanks to a conversation that Omar Gonzalez alleged post game.
“It’s tough when Stott says to one of your players that he’s not going to give a player another yellow because he wants the best players to play in the next game,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s not his job to focus on the next game. It’s his job to focus on the game tonight, the game in hand. For him to say that to one of our players is pretty ridiculous, but like I said in a past interview, I’m not thinking about that issue anymore. It’s out of my control; it’s out of our control. They’re going to do what they want. It’s our job to get the job done with our play.”
Neither Gordon nor Stott spoke after the match, but when Scott and Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid had their own thoughts on the official’s allowance of the physical play.
“I don’t know how else to play to be honest with you. A lot of times I tell that line, and today was especially frustrating considering the way the ref called the game,” the Sounders center back said. “But that is just something that I’ve just got to deal with as a player and move on. It’s fine now going into the next leg, another card isn’t going to keep me out of the final.”
Added Schmid, “I think we benefit a little there. I think in most games, the referee would have pulled that second yellow so I’m not going to pretend I didn’t see that or argue about that. But there were also other calls that I don’t understand. I don’t understand how it’s not a foul when [Brad] Evans gets kicked early in the first half. He’s not the kind of guy to lay on the ground and dive, so if he is down he got hit. I think one time Omar [Gonzalez] was screening the ball and he just waited for a little touch and then he fell over like who knows what and all of a sudden it’s a foul. I thought, ‘are you kidding me?’. So a couple plays there, but we were fortunate that Zach [Scott] stayed on the field.”
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CARSON, Calif. – Injuries forced both A.J. DeLaGarza and Marcelo Sarvas from the start of the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC, but both players are confident that they’ll be available for next week’s decisive second leg in the Pacific Northwest.
Amid a chippy and physical game that featured a total of 25 fouls, DeLaGarza was forced to make a precautionary exit in the 61st minute with what was described as a left hamstring strain—an injury that DeLaGarza told reporters afterward that he did not remember occurring.
“I don’t remember, but I’ll be fine. We have a week until our next match, so get some rest of whatever my issue is,” said DeLaGarza. “I think I could have [gone the full 90 minutes], but at that point we were winning and obviously they’re going to come at us pretty hard. I thought it was smart to let Gargan come in and have someone track back quicker than me probably.”
Meanwhile, Sarvas who left with an apparent left hip injury less than 10 minutes later also admitted that he is confident of returning to the starting lineup by the time the series shifts to Seattle.
“In that play, I don’t know, I got hit in my muscle very close to the bone. It was hard when I stepped on my left leg I felt the muscle pulling so I had to stop,” said the Brazilian who gave the Galaxy the win with his goal in the 52nd minute of play. “I spoke with the doctor and I think we’re going to have to do an x-ray tomorrow. I don’t think it’s something that would keep me out of the next game.”
Galaxy boss Bruce Arena in his own postgame media availability did not appear too concerned that both players who combined for LA's lone goal of the afternoon will miss the second leg.
“I expect them to be OK,” Arena said.
Bruce Arena speaks after the LA Galaxy's 1-0 Western Conference Championship first leg victory over Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was less than pleased following his team's 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in their Western Conference Championship first leg.
Arena's thoughts are below.