Sigi Schmid was just a few minutes away from a dose of sweet revenge against his old team. But a late strike from substitute Lamar Neagle salvaged a 1-1 draw for the Seattle Sounders in a pulsating clash with Schmid's LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night.
Despite their humble place in the Western Conference standings, the Galaxy were the better side for long stretches and deserved their lead when Gyasi Zardes headed home a Romain Alessandrini cross in the first half. But Neagle came off the bench to stab a deflected finish past LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who had to spell injured starter Jon Kempin at the half-hour mark, and neither side could break the deadlock despite six minutes of stoppage time.
There was plenty more drama in the dying minutes, however, with Seattle defender Roman Torres sent off for an infraction on Jermaine Jones that was ruled a denial of a goalscoring opportunity by referee Drew Fischer.
- THE R WORD...WORKS? Some observers prefer not to call Seattle-LA a "rivalry," and both clubs do have hated adversaries much closer to home. But there's a long history of high-stakes battles between these traditional West powers and this hard-edged affair reflected it. Tempers flared as hard tackles and confrontations stacked up, and the game ebbed and flowed in both directions enjoyably.
- GALAXY'S MISSION: It's been a frustrating year for LA, yet this performance gave Galaxy fans real reason for optimism about the future. With Jona dos Santos slotting in seamlessly as the midfield conductor, Jones the roving destroyer and wide men Alessandrini and Ema Boateng posing danger, there was shape, balance and purpose to their play.
- ZARDES LIVES: After failing to find the net in his first 15 league games of 2017, part of a goal drought that dated back to last August, the Galaxy Homegrown has now scored in back-to-back games. Tasked with the lone striker role in a 4-2-3-1 shape vs. Seattle, he offered energy and smart movement and made the most of a tight pocket of space when he met Alessandrini's cross with a simple, but firm, finish.
Wondo-esque goal from Zardes there. Just took a half-step away from the defense and found a gap. Very nice. #SEAvLA— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) September 11, 2017