Seattle Sounders take edge in race for Supporters’ Shield over LA Galaxy
Despite going up 2-0 with a goal either side of halftime, the LA Galaxy conceded twice in the second half to finish with a 2-2 draw against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday. The single point means Seattle just needs another tie to wrap up the MLS Supporters’ Shield when the teams meet again on Saturday.
In first-half stoppage time, seconds from the halftime whistle, Baggio Husidić slid a shot inside the far post after Brad Evans’ weak headed clearance dropped to him at the top of the penalty area. Just after the break, Marcelo Sarvas scored the second after Husidić was on the receiving end of another poor clearance 18 yards from goal.
Up to that point, the most noteworthy action from Seattle’s attacking duo of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins had been the pair getting into a shout match with each other during the run of play. (Dempsey also received a yellow card for dragging down Landon Donovan in the final regular-season home game of his career.) The passion in that moment showed how much the game meant to the Sounders, as a win would have secured the Supporters’ Shield for themselves.
Finally, in the 69th minute, Dempsey and Martins combined in a way fans are more accustomed to seeing. DeAndre Yedlin crossed in from the right, and Martins flicked the ball on to Dempsey at the back post -- although possibly unintentionally -- for him to slam into the net.
Three minutes later, Lamar Neagle scored the equalizer after the ball went from the left flank, through the Martins-Dempsey combination in the middle and behind the LA defense on the right. Neagle streaked in and finished with a low shot underneath goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
There would be no last-minute heroics for either team, but one ill-advised defensive play could have a large bearing on next weekend’s showdown.
Omar Gonzalez, already on a yellow card, lunged into an unnecessary tackle on Gonzalo Pineda outside the Galaxy penalty area. Referee Ismail Elfath didn’t hesitate to show the United States center back his second yellow card of the match, which means he’ll be out for the final game.
Everything is still up for grabs when the two teams meet at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field on Saturday (2:30 p.m., NBC).
With one more point, the Sounders would clinch their second trophy of the season after the U.S. Open Cup. The Galaxy must win to earn the league’s No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs, as well as hosting rights for the MLS Cup final, should they get that far.