The Galaxy are cruising.
The Sounders are collapsing.
You could see it in the eyes of both coaches tonight. In the red, defeated ones of Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid, who was upset with the effort of his players. And in the fixed look of quiet determination from Bruce Arena, who knows the toughest part of the season is yet to come, with CONCACAF Champions League and U.S. Open Cup ties looming.
“LA was better than us,” Schmid said. “We were lucky to be able to go in half time down only one nothing. I thought they outplayed us in the first half really well. Our second half was better.”
It’s too early to gloat for Arena.
But when you see a spectacularly taken goal from on-loan 21-year-old Brazilian Juninho, a midfield firmly in control and a rearmed attack in Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, you have to look for issues.
Arena did, talking darkly about the “warning signs” in defense that presented Seattle with their goal, a “sloppy” second half and a clearly tired playmaker in Donovan who may get some much-needed time off this coming week.
But fans responded to Donovan every time he took a corner and cheered Buddle’s 19th minute goal that seemed to say to Bob Bradley “if only you had played me more.”
“It’s always good to do well in front of Bob,” Buddle said. “To get a goal, in my first game back, and for him to be in stands is a good thing.”
An old-looking Kasey Keller couldn’t stop Edson Buddle’s laser-like header Saturday in Carson (AP Photos).
Reporter Phil Collin has the game story.
World Cup teammates: Buddle and Donovan combined for the Galaxy’s opening goal.
“I thought he was outstanding tonight,” Arena said of Juninho. “We’ve seen this over the past month. He’s a very good player. He caught up to the speed of the game and the way we play in MLS. With all players, it’s a transition period. I think he’s done very well. You can see him being to emerge.”
Notable: Donovan has assisted on six of Buddle’s league-leading 10 goals this season. And Buddle got an assist on Donovan’s goal against the Sounders in May. Are you listening Bob Bradley?
Also notable: Michael Stephens’ assist on Juninho’s goal (MLS uses the term extremely loosely because his perfunctory pass really wasn’t particularly crucial in the creation of the stunner) was his seventh of the year. That’s good for second in the league, three behind Donovan.
Next for the Galaxy in MLS: at struggling New England (3-9-2), which lost 5-0 Saturday to Real Salt Lake, the Galaxy’s closest pursuers in the standings.
From LD on Facebook:
Thanks for the incredible welcome back home! That was as well as we’ve played this year and your energy inspired us last night! Good to see Edson hit the back of the net again. Time for some much needed rest, I’ll be back in a week or so. Happy belated 4th of July!