Three Points: Juninho’s first goal of the season gives LA Galaxy 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano offers his Three Points to the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC. The draw saw Juninho score his first goal of the season as LA moves into a tie with Colorado for fourth place in the Western Conference with 45 points.
SET PIECES LEAD TO CHARGED DRAW
Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan may not have played, but the LA Galaxy’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC was in no way devoid of emotion.
From the opening whistle, the match was a heated one as both teams looked to take charge in front of a roaring StubHub Center crowd. In the end, the goals did not come from the back-and-forth run of play, but through a pair of stellar set pieces on both sides. In the 25th minute, Seattle pulled ahead as Eddie Johnson was able to break free of Omar Gonzalez thanks to a pick by defender John Kennedy Hurtado. Uncontested, he smashed in a header that gave Seattle their first goal at StubHub Center against LA in 388 minutes in all competitions.
As Seattle fought to double their lead, LA would answer two minutes into first half stoppage time as Jose Villarreal earned a freekick just outside the Sounders penalty area. Juninho stepped up to take the freekick and fired a curling shot over the wall and past Michael Gspurning for his first goal in almost a year, tying the score at 1-1 going into the break.
THE LA GALAXY BOSS THE SECOND HALF BUT FIND NOTHING
After the LA Galaxy equalized with the final kick of the first half, they completely dominated the second half, but were unable to find the back of the net.
Fully charged after the goal by Juninho, the Galaxy flew out of the gates to start the second half, dominating from the moment that the whistle was sounded. Even though LA controlled possession by an impressive 60.8 to 39.2 mark, the home side struggled to connect in the final third. Time and time again, the Galaxy found space behind the Sounders defense, but struggled to truly threaten Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who made just a single save on the night—which came in the first half.
The Galaxy nearly found the go-ahead goal in the 60th minute when a goal by Gyasi Zardes was called back after an apparent Todd Dunivant foul on the ensuing free kick. Zardes came close again in stoppage time to putting LA ahead as they threw numbers forward, but launched his attempt into the side netting.
LA HAVE ALL TO PLAY FOR IN THE FINAL FIVE REGULAR SEASON GAMES OF THE YEAR
And then there were five.
The Galaxy have just five games remaining on their MLS docket to determine whether the team can challenge for the Supporters’ Shield or qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The draw with Seattle puts LA five points behind the current Shield leaders with five games remaining, but just four points ahead of Vancouver and San Jose, who are tied for sixth place with 41 points, one point ahead of FC Dallas, who have 40 points but play on Sunday in New York. As LA look to qualify for the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, they’ll do so with three of their remaining matches at StubHub Center, but they’ll begin the stretch run next week on the road when they head to Portland to take on the Timbers at JELD-WEN Field.
And how will the Galaxy end this season? With a match at CenturyLink Field against the Sounders in a game that may have major playoff implications for both teams.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com