Galaxy win the turf war in series opener

Slick surface not enough to stifle Arena's crew

Bruce Arena - playoffs 2

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SEATTLE – Facing an on-form team loaded with speed and skill, the LA Galaxy had another difficult challenge to deal with on Sunday night: Qwest Field’s artificial surface.

However, the Galaxy overcame the turf war and claimed the Western Conference semifinals series opener, 1-0 over the Seattle Sounders for their second win this season at Qwest Field.

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“Tough game, tough conditions,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “This field isn’t easy to play on for either team.”

While the Galaxy trained on Qwest Field late Saturday afternoon, the game presented a bit more of a challenge even after their training session. Rain drenched the field on Saturday and despite clear skies Sunday, the field was not completely dry.

“We weren’t quite sure what the field was going to be like, and I guess they watered it down before the game so it was just going to be slick,” Arena said. “When it’s this cool it’s going to stay wet and fast the whole time. Once we got here and you could see the field was actually playing faster when we were here [Saturday].”

The field did not allow for normal play, which seemed to benefit the hosts.

“Look at the game. You can see the game is not going to promote a whole lot of possession,” Arena said. “It’s difficult to have a short passing game because everything is happening so fast, your footing isn’t perfect, the balls slip. It’s not easy. You could see. They’re better at it than we are. They have a lot more experience playing under these conditions.”

The field did, however, provide the Galaxy with a boost. Edson Buddle scored the game’s only goal, a stunning volley from outside the penalty area that dipped over Seattle’s Kasey Keller and into the back of the net.

“I don’t know how he pulled that off to be honest with you. That’s a turf goal,” Arena said. “[There were] a lot of turf plays – balls bouncing around, off shins, up in the air, out of bounds. We don’t want to make too many copies of this game and distribute it around the world.”

With the Galaxy ahead 1-0 on the series, LA host Seattle in the second game
of the two-leg, home-and-home Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday, November
7 at 6 p.m. PT on ESPN. BUY
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