CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle returned from the World Cup to a hero's welcome on Sunday as the Los Angeles Galaxy beat Seattle Sounders FC 3-1 at The Home Depot Center. The pair teamed up for an early goal while Juninho added a long-range missile and LA also benefitted from a Seattle own-goal to complete the rout.
With Buddle and Donovan receiving loud and hearty applause from the beginning of the game, the club’s two World Cup veterans connected 19 minutes in. Donovan swung a corner kick into the heart of the penalty area and Buddle – who saw scant time in South Africa – found space in Seattle’s defense and easily tucked a header into the back of the net.
The Galaxy came out and put instant pressure on Seattle to start the second half. Juninho unloaded a 30-yard rocket that sailed over Seattle ‘keeper Kasey Keller’s head and into the right corner of the goal.
With a two-goal edge, the Galaxy seemingly had a comfortable margin and had just 40 minutes to put the game to bed. But Seattle took advantage of an uncharacteristic breakdown in the Galaxy’s defense to get back into the match.
In the 66th minute, Zakuani knifed through the Galaxy’s defense, first passing by Omar Gonzalez who had gone well out of his spot and then turning Gregg Berhalter around on his way inside the box. Zakuani tucked the ball past Donovan Ricketts and Seattle cut the lead in half.
The Sounders began to look dangerous and Freddie Ljungberg’s toe-poke attempt several minutes later nearly saw them come all the way back. But James Riley assured that Seattle would go away empty-handed in the 77th minute.
Alan Gordon broke free down the right flank and tried to get the ball to Tristan Bowen. The ball skipped in front of the goal. Riley slid to try and clear it but instead knocked it off Keller and over the goal line.
Having to score twice in the final 13 minutes against a team that hadn’t given up two goals in the same game all season proved too tough a task for Seattle as LA closed out the game without too much danger from Seattle.
The Galaxy improved their home record to 6-0-1 despite allowing their fourth home goal of the season and second in as many games at The Home Depot Center. The Sounders, meanwhile, dropped their fifth game in six matches and fell to 4-8-3.
LA -- Edson Buddle 10 (Landon Donovan 10) 19
LA -- Juninho 1 (Michael Stephens 7) 48
SEA -- Steve Zakuani 5 (Fredy Montero 6) 66
LA -- Own goal (James Riley) 77
SEA -- Tyrone Marshall (caution; Tactical Foul) 82
LA -- Alex Cazumba (caution; Reckless Foul) 89
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Tyrone Marshall, Leo Gonzalez, Freddie Ljungberg (Miguel Montano 83), Patrick Ianni, Peter Vagenas (Mike Seamon 51), Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan (Nate Jaqua 46).
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Landon Donovan, Chris Birchall, Juninho (Alex Cazumba 85), Michael Stephens, Edson Buddle (Alan Gordon 62), Tristan Bowen (Chris Klein 75).
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee's Assistants: Anthony Vasoli; Ian Anderson
4th Official: Ricardo Salazar
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Clear and 73 degrees