SEATTLE -- For the first time in franchise history, the Seattle Sounders are Supporters’ Shield champions.
Seattle topped the LA Galaxy 2-0 on Saturday afternoon in front of 57,673 at CenturyLink Field, riding two late goals from second-half substitute Marco Pappa to the trophy-clinching victory.
The Guatemalan international was wide open in the box to finish off a quick restart by Obafemi Martins in the 85th minute (WATCH IT HERE) and then stripped the Galaxy goalkeeper before chipping home a second deep into stoppage time (WATCH IT HERE) as the Sounders wrapped up the season with the league's best regular season record. They will host MLS Cup on December 7 should they advance to the final.
The game was a physical, high-intensity affair with the sides combining for 40 fouls and five yellow cards.
Neither team managed to crack the score sheet through the opening 45 minutes, with the first half marked by hard, physical play from both teams. The sides combined for three first-half yellow cards, with forward Clint Dempsey picking one up for Seattle, while Landon Donovan and Dan Gargan were each booked for LA.
The Galaxy, playing without injured captain Robbie Keane, still generated the most chances, notching eight attempts on goal in the first half. Seattle, on the other hand, struggled to accumulate meaningful looks, putting up no shots on LA ‘keeper Jaime Penedo and generally struggling to maintain possession. The Galaxy looked comfortable on defense despite playing without stalwart Omar Gonzalez, sitting out due to suspension.
The foul fest continued into the second half and scoring chances were hard to come by. In fact, Seattle’s first shot opportunity didn’t come until the 76th minute on an attempt from Pappa.
LA's best look at getting the go-ahead goal came in the 69th minute after forward Gyasi Zardes ripped a long-distance attempt from outside the Sounders penalty box and the attempt whizzed just wide of Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei (WATCH IT HERE) as the game remained scoreless.
The visitors came close again in the 79th minute after a Donovan free kick bounced around the box and finished on target, but Frei managed to corral the ball on a diving save (WATCH IT HERE).
The Sounders finally broke through in the 85th minute after Pappa found himself with an open look on Penedo up the left side off a feed from Martins. The midfielder didn’t miss, connecting on his fifth goal of the season and sending the home crowd at CenturyLink field into a frenzy.
Pappa proceeded to add the insurance goal in stoppage time after he managed to strip the ball away from Penedo at the top of the LA box. The Sounders midfielder then chipped the ball into the net on the breakaway, giving Seattle a 2-0 lead and the Supporters’ Shield in one fell swoop.
The victory gave Seattle (20-10-4) the best record in MLS with 64 points while LA (17-6-10) will go into the MLS Cup Playoffs as the second seed in the West with 61 total points.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Marco Pappa||Super sub gets the goals that looked like they were never coming at Century Link. Showed a remarkable cool under pressure in both instances.|
|2||Obafemi Martins||It was a difficult match for the Sounders' front two, but Martins made the play of the game when it counted most with a quick restart on the opening goal.|
|3||Stefan Ishizaki||The Swede was the sharpest attacking option on his side and was also active in the Galaxy's all-terrain pressure game. But he could've used some help.|