Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, May 26, 2013, (Photos: Samuel Coronado)
The game between LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders was setting up to be a good one. LA had been struggling as of late, losing 3 of their last 4 games. Seattle was beginning to get into form winning their previous games by a hefty margin. This was going to be a good test to see how LA was playing. This game was also going to be special for a different reason. Earlier that week, LA Galaxy had traded Mike Magee to the Chicago Fire for the rights to sign Robbie Rodgers. Rodgers was going to be the first openly gay player to play in a professional team in the United States.
The game began with LA Galaxy coming out very aggressive looking to score early in the game. They were attacking from the wing with Greg Cochrane sending crossing into the box. Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane had scoring chances but none of them were a clear chance. Galaxy’s first goal came in the 12th minute of the game. Galaxy was awarded a corner kick from the left side. Landon Donovan took the corner and centered it. It was cleared from the box but Cochrane was able to recover the ball. He passed it to Keane who took a quick step forward and passed it to Marcelo Sarvas. Sarvas passed it back to Keane who crossed the ball into the middle of the box where Sean Franklin was able to just tap the ball in and score the first goal of the match.
After the goal, Galaxy didn’t let up their aggressive play. Their aggressive play was rewarded again in the 24th minute. They were awarded a corner from the left side. Donovan passed it short to Michael Stephens. He passed it back to Donovan who swung a corner into the box. The ball bounced off the side of a jumping Omar Gonzalez and went straight to a waiting Keane who struck the ball with his right foot. The ball had a clear path towards goal and Keane scored the second goal of the game.
LA Galaxy never let up in the first half. They continued their aggressive play throughout the half always looking for a chance to score more goals. Given their resent struggles to hold leads late in the game and Seattle’s scoring power, LA knew that they couldn’t stop attacking. LA Galaxy scored their third goal of the game in the 32nd minute of the game and this time it came in the form of a penalty. Seattle dropped Zardes inside the box and the referee awarded Galaxy a penalty. Keane was giving the responsibility of taking the penalty shot. Before Keane, Donovan was the man to shot the penalties but after some resent struggles; Coach Bruce Arena decided to give Keane that job. Keane lined up and right before he shot, he hesitated, then shot low and to the left. Seattle Sounders goalkeeper, Michael Gspurning, guessed correctly and blocked the penalty shot. This seemed like the perfect play to get Seattle going but the referee awarded Galaxy a re-kick. Gspurning moved early and a Seattle player crossed the box before Keane shot the ball, and FIFA rules state that the referee must make the team retake the penalty. The second time around, Keane didn’t miss. He shot low and to the right and scored the third goal of the game.
Galaxy had complete control of the first half. They did whatever they wanted to. They were carving Seattle’s defense and creating opportunities left and right. In the 43rd minute of the game, Galaxy scored their fourth goal of the game. Zardes had the ball on the left flank and ran towards goal. As he crossed the box, he centered the ball to Juninho. He was about to shot but Seattle defender, Brad Evans, slide and dropped Juninho inside the box. The referee awarded Galaxy their second penalty of the half. Keane had the honors again, and scored. This time, he shot low and to the left. At the end of the half, LA Galaxy had a comfortable 4-0 lead over Seattle Sounders
Galaxy didn’t come out as aggressive in the second half. LA didn’t come out defending, but they weren’t playing aggressive. They were taking their time looking for openings in Seattles formation, probing left and then probing right. Donovan had a scoring opportunity but Gspurning blocked the shot. Later on in the half, Franklin almost scored his second goal of the match, but he headed the ball just above the cross bar.
In the 77th minute of the game, LA Galaxy made history. It is rare that a team can make history with a substitution, but LA Galaxy did that. They took out Juninho but more importantly, they substituted Robbie Rodgers in. Rodgers became the first openly gay player to play in a professional sport league. As he jogged into the field, the crowd stood up and cheered him on. He almost scored a goal, but his shot hit the post and dinged out.
Galaxy not only won the game 4-0, but played one of their best games of the year. They dominated Seattle throughout the game. They only allowed Seattle to shot twice and none of them were on goal. Galaxy shot 15 times and most of the shots were on goal. Coach Arena said that they finally got a result they deserved. Galaxy needed this win. Especially after losing three of their last four matches.
They travel east and face the Carolina Railhawks in their first U.S. Open Cup game. Last year, LA Galaxy lost to the Railhawks and were eliminated from the U.S Open Cup. They will face them Wednesday and then travel to face New England Revolution in Boston on Sunday.