The Sounders may not have beaten the Los Angeles Galaxy Monday night. They did, however, show they could go toe-to-toe with the best team in the league.
The two sides battled to a scoreless draw in the Home Depot Center to close a busy weekend of MLS soccer. In the process, Seattle earned a measure of solace after losing the opening match of the season to this same Galaxy team.
“Sure we could have gotten more out of it,” Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “They had some good chances as well.”
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“Yeah it’s frustrating, not frustrating in a bad way but it’s much better than how we have played them the last three or four times,” Keller added, “so on that side we feel good.”
The most important play in the match came when third-string Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk blocked Fredy Montero’s penalty kick attempt in the 18th minute. Montero went low and to his left with the penalty attempt but Perk made the diving save.
“I tried shooting it close to the post but I shot it short and he guessed right and blocked it,” Montero said. "That’s the end of the story."
It was the best scoring chance for Seattle, who put only three of their 14 shots on goal. If the game plan was to test Perk, it didn’t come to fruition against a defensive-minded Galaxy team.
Not including the penalty, Seattle had a few chances to get on the scoreboard. Most notably, Roger Levesque couldn’t turn on a dangerous cross in the third minute, while defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado missed an open header in the 20th. They also dodged a few chances at the other end in running the team’s unbeaten streak to seven matches.
In an interesting battle, Landon Donovan and Osvaldo Alonso squared off against one another in the midfield. Seattle’s Alonso got the better of Donovan on at least one occasion, forcing the LA captain into a yellow card in stoppage time as Seattle chased a late goal.
The heat still remains in this rivalry, with Seattle coach Sigi Schmid pointing to the five free kicks earned by the Galaxy after David Beckham checked into the game in the 69th minute.
“Maybe there's a rule where he has to get six or seven free kicks a game," Schmid quipped.
While Schmid’s side will rue Montero’s missed penalty in the early-going, they will take heart in their continued strong play on the road. Including Monday’s draw, Seattle remain unbeaten in the last five matches on the road and their record stands at 3-2-5 for the season.
Seattle’s defense has been a big part of that run, having allowed only two goals during the past five road matches and none in the past three. Keller earned the shutout in his 75th consecutive start.
The Sounders now turn their attention to next Sunday, where they will complete the season series with the Portland Timbers Sunday afternoon at JELD-WEN Field. The two sides drew 1-1 in Seattle in May.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS