Shush: Edson Buddle’s gem of a goal goal silences the thunderous Seattle crowd – and Dema Kovalenko (Photo courtesy Chris Coulter/SoundersPhotos.com).
The best team over the length of the MLS season shut down the best team over the second half of the season with a disciplined, well-coached effort. There were no surprises for or from either team. And the final result reflected the little there was to choose between the teams.
Here’s my take on the game from Seattle.
Notable: This was the Galaxy’s 13th shutout of the season and the seventh on the road.
“I thought they did a good job on (Steve) Zakuani – I thought (Sean) Franklin did a good job,” said Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid on how the Galaxy’s defense stood up to Seattle’s early onslaught in the first half. “Steve’s got to bring more. Obviously they pinched our midfield pretty deep. (Landon) Donovan spent more time in his own half of the field than he has in a long time. That was their game plan.”
Here’s Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena on veteran Eddie Lewis’ performance at a clutch time:
“Eddie Lewis did real well. They tried real hard to get behind Eddie – they were hitting a lot of balls in the first half in particular into space. … Eddie is a pretty experienced guy, he’s played a number of years. He’s been around the block a couple of times so they were well aware of the service they were trying to provide to (Sanna) Nyassi.”
And here’s how Lewis assessed his performance:
“I felt comfortable with the role, but like you say it has been a while – I haven’t played a ton of minutes. It was a big game and I tried to step in and keep it going.
“I’m sure Sigi told them, ‘listen, obviously he hasn’t played and his age and everything else. We’ve got these young, fast wingers – try to get behind as much as possible. ‘ So I think everyone was well aware of what the game plan was going to be. And, it felt good. For the most part we contained it pretty well. … We out-smarted them in that department.”
How did David Beckham’s presumably still healing Achilles tendon take the artificial turf?
“It’s very sore. I’m not going to lie. It felt sore in the first half and it’s just a case of getting through it. I’ve got a good week now to just relax and get it back to where it should be for the big game on Sunday.”
And what did Beckham think of playing in front of that loud, energized crowd, that’s easily the best in MLS:
“It’s the first time, I think, in the MLS I’ve played in front of a crowd that’s exactly like a European game. The noise, the atmosphere, the excitement – it’s great to play in.”
Finally, while both coaches were none too complimentary about Buddle’s goal, Beckham could appreciate what he witnessed:
“People are going to say ‘did he mean it?’ Of course he meant it. He turned on the ball and there’s no one else near him.”
The Galaxy didn’t run over the Sounders in Seattle Sunday, even if that looks the case in this picture as Sean Franklin leaps over a sprawling Kasey Keller. (AP Photo).
Galaxy lineup: Donovan Ricketts; Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Lewis (Gregg Berhalter 84′); Dema Kovalenko (Chris Birchall 70′), Juninho, David Beckham, Landon Donovan; Mike Magee, Edson Buddle (Jovan Kirovski 73′)