CARSON, Calif. – Before the Western Conference semifinals started, Seattle had said they were looking forward to playing Los Angeles.
“I wanted them from the beginning,” Sounders winger Steve Zakuani had said before the first leg of the playoffs. “Of course it’s going to be very tough ... but I think we owe them one and we’re ready.”
But after the Galaxy left Qwest Field on Oct. 31 with a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the aggregate-goals series, then finished the job with a 2-1 win at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, LA’s Landon Donovan says the Sounders are probably hoping they had drawn another team.
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“We heard for a week before we played them up [in Seattle] how happy they were to play us in this series,” Donovan said. “My guess is they probably have different feelings now."
Early in Sunday’s game against Seattle, Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham slid cleats-up into Sounders forward Fredy Montero. His reckless tackle earned him a booking.
That was about the only blemish on Beckham’s performance.
[inline_node:322842]The former England captain whipped two set pieces into the center of the penalty area in the first half that Edson Buddle and Omar Gonzalez latched on to and hammered into the back of the net.
“We said from the beginning that we weren’t going to sit back and go for the draw and I think that we showed that,” Gonzalez said. “We did well defensively and just came out on the break and did a phenomenal job.”
Beckham’s first cross came off a corner kick in the 19th minute. The ball just got over Gonzalez’s head and Buddle, unmarked, banged the ball past Kasey Keller.
Eight minutes later, Beckham swung a free kick from the left side of the field to Gonzalez, who was completely unmarked and easily headed in his first-ever playoff goal.
Complementing the Galaxy’s offensive effort was a strong defensive display. LA kept Seattle’s wingers, Zakuani and Sanna Nyassi, and star forward Montero quiet throughout the series save for Zakuani’s late goal on Sunday.
Despite the tally, LA goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was pleased with the way the back line held up.
“We are finishing the way we started: Strong defensively,” he said. “If you want to win a championship, you have to be strong defensively, so that is good.”
The Galaxy will continue their quest for the MLS Cup when they take on FC Dallas in the Western Conference Championship (Nov. 14, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2).