SEATTLE— Despite facing a 1-0 deficit heading into the series finale at the Home Depot Center, the Seattle Sounders are optimistic after a tremendous individual effort by the Galaxy’s Edson Buddle doomed them in Sunday’s series opener at Qwest Field.
And there’s reason to believe. The Sounders generated 15 shots to the Galaxy’s 10 and, apart from Buddle’s tremendous game-winning strike in the 38th minute, effectively put the clamps on the Galaxy’s three stars: Buddle, Landon Donovan and David Beckham.
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“We’re fine,” defender James Riley said. “Crazier things have happened. The main thing is to stay together, have that same team spirit.”
Riley’s sentiment was echoed by a number of Sounders players. The sense in the locker room was not that the team had been outplayed or outclassed, but simply it was a case of Buddle’s own spectacular effort that struck the crucial blow.
That’s not to say there aren’t areas for improvement. Steve Zakuani said Seattle bypassed their center midfielders too often and played too scrappily in the early going. Riley thought in the second half, the Rave Green started resorting to hopeful long balls too early.
However, those were all relatively minor issues. With 90 minutes in the book, Seattle head into next Sunday’s deciding match with the knowledge that the approach of limiting LA’s big players is fundamentally correct.
“Other than the wonder strike, we contained, for the most part, their three big players,” midfielder Patrick Ianni said. “I thought we contained Buddle, and Landon didn’t see much of the ball. From that standpoint, it was really good.”
“We just need to take the same confidence we had in this game and take it down there,” Ianni continued. “That’s all there is to it.”