SEATTLE — Robbie Keane scored a 78th-minute goal that allowed the LA Galaxy to pull out a 1-1 tie with the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, off-setting Clint Dempsey's first MLS goal of the season and putting an end to the MLS regular season in front of 66,216 at CenturyLink Field.
The tie allowed the Galaxy to clinch the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference, meaning they'll play Real Salt Lake in the Conference Semifinals starting next weekend. The Sounders, who ended the regular season on a seven-game winless streak, will have to settle for a Knockout Round game against the Colorado Rapids in midweek.
Desperately looking for momentum to gain ground in the playoff race, Seattle came out the early aggressors. Eddie Johnson put the ball in the back of the net in the 18th minute, but he was ruled to have been offside after head official Mark Geiger determined the LA defense had not played the ball back deliberately.
At the half-hour mark, there was no controversy when the hosts finally struck through Dempsey's first goal since his return to MLS, ending one of the longest goalscoring droughts of his career at 590 minutes.
Lamar Neagle set it up with a cross from the right flank that LA 'keeper Jaime Penedo was only able to get his fingertips on. Making a strong far-post run, Dempsey was able to get just enough of the ball with the outside of his right boot to knock it into the net.
The Galaxy were victims of controversy 12 minutes later when they looked like they had equalized. In the 42nd minute, Omar Gonzalez headed in a corner kick that clearly crossed the goal line before Osvaldo Alonso was able to clear it away. But despite the assistant referee having a clear line of site, the goal wasn't awarded.
Twelve minutes from time, LA finally got their goal. Second-half substitute Hector Jimenez headed down a header from Gonzalez, who was inside the penalty area, and the ball fell straight into the path of Keane, who volleyed it off the turf from 18 yards out and straight over the outstretched arms of Michael Gspurning.
Landon Donovan, who was seeking regular-season goal No. 135 to become the all-time MLS scoring king, was held to a single shot on goal. His effort in the 25th minute was pawed away by a diving Gspurning, who made four saves in his first start since Oct. 9.
The Sounders finish the season with 52 points off a 15-12-7 record. The two-time defending MLS Cup champion Galaxy, meanwhile, finish with 53 points off a 15-11-8 record.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Robbie Keane||More late heroics from LA's captain, who scored the equalizer and had a strong passing evening as well.|
|2||Omar Gonzalez||Besides a solid defensive night in his return to the lineup, he was involved in both equalizers: Scored one that wasn't awarded, but helped create the one that was.|
|3||Clint Dempsey||A huge weight off the USMNT captain's shoulders and a slick goal, which Seattle will need in postseason.|