CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy were well on their way to taking a big step toward an unprecedented fifth Supporters' Shield, with goals at the end of the first half and in the opening minutes of the second Sunday to open a two-goal lead on the Seattle Sounders.
But Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle struck three minutes apart late in the second half, rallying Seattle to a 2-2 draw in front of 27,244 at StubHub Center to retain command in the Shield and Western Conference races.
Dempsey scored in the 69th minute after Obafemi Martins got a touch to a DeAndre Yedlin cross, and Neagle finished a counterattack on a diagonal ball from Martins in the 72nd to give the Sounders (19-10-4) a share of the points. Both sides sit on 61, but the Sounders are ahead of LA (17-6-10) on the total wins tiebreaker.
Baggio Husidic tallied at the end of the first half and set up Marcelo Sarvas for another goal at the start of the second to give LA the advantage, but Seattle carried most of the play and were good for the point.
The comeback spoiled an emotional evening for Landon Donovan, who was fêted before and after his final regular-season home game and wore the captain's armband, in place of Robbie Keane, during the match.
LA had the early chances, the best a Donovan header beyond the left post from Husidic's chip at the right byline that caromed off the crossbar in the 10th minute.
Martins, supported by Dempsey's expert passing, was the danger man for Seattle; he forced a diving save from Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo in the 21st minute, then popped up twice more in LA's box without putting a shot on target over the next seven minutes.
Keane came close for LA in the 41st, but his glancing header from Husidic's cross sailed wide.
Husidic struck in first-half stoppage. Dan Gargan sent a cross into Seattle's box from the right flank, Brad Evans headed it toward the semicircle above the box, and Husidic collected the ball, then slotted it inside the right post.
Sarvas made it 2-0 five minutes after the break. Donovan's corner kick was headed away, and Husidic gave a small, square touch at the top of the box to the Brazilian midfielder, who blasted the ball off outstretched goalkeeper Stefan Frei's hands and into the net.
A win or draw by the Sounders next Saturday at CenturyLink Field will clinch the Shield – their first – and keep them in line for the first-ever MLS treble. The Galaxy must win in order to get silverware, and they'll have to do so without backline leader Omar Gonzalez, who was sent off following his second yellow card after a sliding foul on Gonzalo Pineda in the 88th minute.
LA Galaxy 2, Seattle Sounders 2
Sunday, Oct. 19 – 5:30 p.m. PT
MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center – Carson, Calif.
LA – Baggio Husidic 45’+1
LA – Marcelo Sarvas (Assisted by Baggio Husidic) 50’
SEA – Clint Dempsey (Assisted by Obafemi Martins) 69’
SEA – Lamar Neagle (Assisted by Obafemi Martins) 72’
LA – Robbie Rogers (caution) 23’
SEA – Zach Scott (caution) 26’
SEA – Gonzalo Pineda (caution) 27’
SEA – Clint Dempsey (caution) 36’
LA – Omar Gonzalez (caution) 43’
SEA – Obafemi Martins (caution) 57’
LA – Omar Gonzalez (second yellow; ejection) 88’
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; A.J. DeLaGarza, Robbie Rogers, Omar Gonzalez, Dan Gargan; Baggio Husidic (Alan Gordon 73’), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Landon Donovan ©; Robbie Keane (Leonardo 90’), Gyasi Zardes.
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Rowe, Tommy Meyer, Kenney Walker, Jose Villarreal, Stefan Ishizaki.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 13; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4.
Seattle Sounders: Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall, Leonardo Gonzalez, DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Brad Evans © (Marco Pappa 66’), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett 86’), Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey.
Substitutes Not Used: Jalil Anibaba, Kenny Cooper, Marcus Hahnemann, Djimi Traore, Michael Azira.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 18; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 1.
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Referee’s Assistants: George Ganser and Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Kevin Scott