Galaxy-Sounders playoff postgame

i-12f49c82a3ea044afa3be5dca31baa0a-buddceledemashush0022.jpgShush: 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.

Game story.

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.

Highlights:

Quotable:

“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.”

i-c3678cc2c4854a258b4c0ebda8fc9b4c-keller.jpgThe 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′)

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  • Inigo Montoya

    “Grinding it out” was what I kept thinking. Hard work, smart play, a little bit of luck, and a couple of spectacular plays. Ricketts’ save in the 28th minute or so was huge, Buddle’s playground strike was huge.

    The two that impressed me the most: Donovan and Lewis. Donovan for working like a madman all over the field the whole game, and Lewis for doing the best that could be done with his matchups on the left. Lewis is old and slow, but smart and hard-working. No damage done.

    Nick, Ricketts looked like he hurt his left shoulder going down on a save in the first and he carried it awkwardly for the rest of the game. Serious? And is the Dunivant hamstring serious?

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/soccer Nick Green

    The hamstring injury was something Dunivant has apparently dealt with for a week or so and it was a gameday decision to not start him; what that means exactly for the return leg is unclear.

    And the press corps asked about Ricketts’ apparent injury and was told there was no issue.

    However, we don’t know for sure. The Galaxy routinely downplays the severity of injuries so as not to tip off opponents to potential weaknesses. Put another way, they can lie (and have done so) about injuries and there are no MLS rules/guidelines saying they can’t do that.

  • Studs Up

    The PROs did a job on Seattle. They actually played better on that carpet than the host team with their long range shots and set plays. The ball sets up real well for shots – the only positive on that surface.

    That was not a “playground” shot. Any player worth his salt will shoot when the ball pops up like that. Donovan had a good rip as well.

    PS – Arena is catching up with me on the “smarts”.