CARSON, Calif. — Goalkeeper Brian Perk debuted with a shutout as the LA Galaxy ran their unbeaten streak to 11 with a scoreless draw against Seattle on Monday.
Perk helped preserve the unbeaten run when he turned away Fredy Montero on a penalty kick in the 18th minute, easily the best chance for either team to break the deadlock.
The Galaxy (9-2-9) could not, however, extend their lead over Seattle (8-4-8), as four points continue to separate the teams in the Western Conference table.
With Donovan Ricketts (broken forearm) and Josh Saunders (suspension) each unavailable, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena turned to Perk, whose action this season was limited to three Reserve Division matches and one US Open Cup game.
Perk made his presence known early. After a poor giveaway by the youngster, Seattle worked the ball around and eventually the Galaxy were called for a penalty kick when Osvaldo Alonso’s shot on goal bounced off defender Omar Gonzalez’s arm.
Fredy Montero stepped to the spot and fired a shot to Perk’s right, but Perk guessed correctly and parried the ball away, keeping the match scoreless. The stop was Perk’s biggest of the night, and the first save of his professional career.
In the 24th minute, Arena was forced to use a substitution. A.J. DeLaGarza had previously been victim of a kick to the face by Mauro Rosales and while he initially shook it off, eventually he succumbed and was taken off on a stretcher. Gregg Berhalter, who played 90 minutes in the Galaxy’s 0-0 draw at San Jose on June 25, replaced DeLaGarza.
Juan Pablo Ángel nearly opened the scoring in the 36th minute when he found the ball in front of the Sounders’ goal. Chris Birchall took the ball, drew a pair of Sounders defenders to him and slipped the ball to Ángel, who turned and fired but his slow-rolling ball just missed the left post.
Early in the second half, Donovan broke in alone on Seattle’s Kasey Keller as a mix-up in the back left Donovan alone in the box, but all the Galaxy skipper could do was hit a soft header right at his former US teammate.
Slowly the Galaxy began to pressure more in the second half than they had initially. In the 56th minute, the Galaxy knocked the ball around and Berhalter nearly fired in a shot but his side-volley whistled just past the goal.
Seattle had a chance to break open the scoring in the 65th minute when the ball bounced to Erik Friberg in the middle of the box, but Friberg could not get a clean shot off and his attempt went harmlessly wide of the net.
Ángel again tested Keller in th 68th minute, but his curling shot was denied by the veteran American ‘keeper.
In the 69th minute, David Beckham came off the bench and replaced Magee. His first touch was a corner kick but nobody could get to the end of it.
In the 80th minute, the Galaxy were dealt with another injury blow. Gonzalez appeared to tweak his back on a challenge minutes earlier and after the ball went out for a corner kick, he fell to the ground, clutching his back. Bryan Jordan immediately went in, took a spot on the right side of the defense and Sean Franklin slid centrally.
But the injury failed to benefit the Sounders. Seattle are now winless in their last six matches in all competitions against the Galaxy, though the draw snapped a five-game losing streak to their Western Conference rivals.
SEA -- Erik Friberg (caution; Reckless Tackle) 55
LA -- Landon Donovan (caution; Tactical Foul) 94+
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Fredy Montero (Brad Evans 61), Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 71), Mauro Rosales (Lamar Neagle 89), Roger Levesque.
Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott, Lamar Neagle, Nate Jaqua.
LA Galaxy -- Brian Perk, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez (Bryan Jordan 79), A.J. DeLaGarza (Gregg Berhalter 24), Todd Dunivant, Landon Donovan, Chris Birchall, Juninho, Mike Magee (David Beckham 68), Juan Pablo Angel, Chad Barrett.
Substitutes Not Used: Paolo Cardozo, Jovan Kirovski, Miguel Lopez, Kevin Guppy.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Peter Manikowski; Colin Arblaster
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Clear and 72 degrees