Three Points: Galaxy overwhelm Sounders to start Conference Championship with a win
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to the Galaxy’s 3-0 victory in the Western Conference Championship First Leg over Seattle Sounders FC.
LATE GOAL FIRST HALF GOAL BREAKS SEATTLE
Seattle Sounders FC’s conservative approach appeared to pay off in the first half, but a timely goal by Robbie Keane just seconds before the end of the half put Seattle under siege.
The buildup began in midfield as Juninho played the ball out wide to Sean Franklin. The LA right back played it into Christian Wilhelmsson who dummied the pass, allowing it to run through to Landon Donovan, who delivered a cross to the back post for Keane, who powered a header past Michael Gspurning. The goal catapulted the Irishman into the Galaxy record books as it was the 100th goal in the club’s postseason history.
With the lead at the half, the Galaxy ramped up the pressure through the likes of Wilhelmsson and Donovan after the break and found two more goals in quick succession to defeat the Sounders.
MONTERO WRAPPED UP BY GALAXY
Fredy Montero was given considerable responsibility as the lone striker up front for the Sounders on Wednesday, but the Colombian forward was unable to rise to the occasion.
Montero found himself blanketed throughout the game by the likes of Omar Gonzalez and Tommy Meyer, who pressured Montero from the outset and prevented him from getting the ball at his feet in dangerous situations. When Montero did get a touch, the Colombian forward found himself isolated and unable to link up with Honduran Mario Martinez for any dangerous opportunities.
It was no surprise that with Seattle struggling offensively, Montero was removed in favor of Eddie Johnson in the 65th minute. Montero has now been held scoreless in nine career postseason games.
WILHELMSSON AND FRANKLIN COMBINATION DEADLY FOR LA
Robbie Keane and Mike Magee may have gotten the goals, but perhaps LA’s finest play came from the right flank combination of Sean Franklin and Christian Wilhelmsson.
Throughout the match, the duo terrorized Seattle’s left sided duo of Alex Caskey and Zach Scott—who was called on to replace the suspended Marc Burch—by repeatedly getting in behind Seattle’s defense. Once behind, the pair was free to combine with LA’s forward pair of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan as evidenced by their combined three assists on the night—two for Franklin and one for Wilhelmsson. However, their impact wasn’t merely felt on the attacking side of the ball as Wilhelmsson showed an impetus to track back on defense, allowing Franklin to push forward and overlap even more.
With a week to prepare for the second leg, Bruce Arena may opt to start the Swede and Franklin once again in Seattle next Sunday.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com