It’s now been seven games since the Seattle Sounders have beaten the LA Galaxy in Carson, but Saturday’s 1-1 tie felt like a step in the right direction.
Entering the match, the Sounders had not scored against the Galaxy at the StubHub Center in 364 minutes. They had also lost three straight there – counting the playoffs – with the latest encounter a 4-0 loss earlier this season.
Eddie Johnson’s 25th minute header, which tied him for the team lead with eight goals, ended the scoring drought, while the defense was mostly up to the task of securing at least a point despite Zach Scott being shown a second yellow yard in the 89th minute.
"I think the result is secondary, tonight we showed a great effort, which is important to us after the first game we played here,” Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning told reporters. “I think we played really well and had great chances, even to win the game. We took a point, and we move on."
The single point kept the Sounders atop the Supporters’ Shield standings for at least another day and means they’ll play in a top-of-the-table clash for the second time in three weeks when they host the New York Red Bulls next week.
Getting there was plenty difficult.
The Sounders played reasonably even with the Galaxy up until Johnson’s goal. But once protecting that 1-0 advantage, the field tilted significantly.
Still, the Sounders seemed poised to head into halftime with the lead. A foul at the edge of the penalty area in first-half stoppage time, on which Scott was issued his first card of the night, allowed the Galaxy a chance to equalize. Juninho made the most of it, getting his free kick over the wall and inside the near post.
“Well I don't know why we had a minute extra in the first half,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I don't think anything happened in the first half, there were no injuries, there was nothing, so why we played extra I am not quite sure, but it was a minute extra and a foul that we gave away. He hit a great free kick. ”
The Sounders were mostly on their heels for the rest of the match. Their best chance of the second half came in the 84th minute when Brad Evans found Lamar Neagle for a wide open header from about 10 yards out. But Neagle’s attempt skipped just wide.
But while that shot missed the mark, the Sounders feel that -- with the playoffs looming -- they’ve finally hit theirs down in Southern California.