SEATTLE – In the face of adversity, the LA Galaxy battled and showed their resilience as they earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday in front of more than 66,000 at CenturyLink Field.
Whether it was a Clint Dempsey goal in the 30th minute or an apparent Omar Gonzalez goal that was waved off by officials Mark Geiger and Greg Barkey just before halftime, the Galaxy were put on the canvas multiple times. But time and time again, the Galaxy preserved and in the 78th minute, LA captain Robbie Keane provided the breakthrough, scoring to help LA lock down the third spot in the Western Conference and resigning Seattle to the Knockout Round.
“That was the type of performance that champions make and we got away from that a little bit in the last few weeks but I thought tonight was just a bunch of men that put it in and put in a real performance,” said forward Landon Donovan. “It’s a little disappointing because we probably should have won the game but to fight back after all that and still get the goal and get the tie we needed was really important.”
However in the 42nd minute, things didn’t look good for the Galaxy after Gonzalez’s goal, which television cameras showed bounced well inside the goal before being cleared by Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. Initially after the no call, the Galaxy appeared to lose their composure conceding a bad foul in addition to a dangerous chance to Eddie Johnson.
As they headed into the locker room, the Galaxy were noticeably steaming, but once they returned, they showed the poise that was necessary to earn the result.
“It's always dangerous when a team goes 1-0 up, and when you're playing against the Galaxy, we know we're quite capable of scoring at any time, and that was the case,” Keane said after his 16th goal of the season. “Maybe in the first half they thought the game was over, but in the second half we came back strong and looked like the team that was always going to score.”
And score they did in the 78th minute when second half substitute Hector Jimenez found Keane, who fired a shot that bounced off the turf surface and into the back of the net.
““It was a great touch for Hector [Jimenez]. I think Hector, when he came on, made a massive difference. He was getting in behind them, he was difficult for them,” said Keane. “On the goal he touched it back to me and I knew I had to just hit it into the ground because there were bodies and with this turf I knew it was going to take off and lucky enough it did.”
The reward for their point on the road will be a date with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Galaxy went 2-1-0 against RSL this season, but will face a Salt Lake team that is undefeated in their last four league matches compiling a 2-0-2 record.
With a few extra days rest to nurse a few nagging injuries, the Galaxy expect to be ready when by the time that they take the field against RSL on Nov. 3 at StubHub Center.
“It’ll be another tough game because they’re a very organized team that is very difficult to break down,” said Keane. “When it comes to the playoffs anything can happen, but at the moment we’re in the right frame of mind and we’re a team that people should be wary of.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com