Sounders 0 – 1 Galaxy
On Sunday evening, the Seattle Sounders lost a lot more than just a game in Carson, California.
The Sounders do host the first leg matchup against Real Salt Lake Friday night, but now will have to travel to Rio Tinto in Sandy, Utah for the second leg of the first round playoff series.
This should be a very exciting series to watch, as the two teams have not scored goals against one another all year long.
If there ever was a premier playoff matchup this year, the Seattle v RSL one is it.
As LA was giving David Beckham a go before their Thursday night win or go home matchup with the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Sounders had all hands on deck trying to wrap up the second spot.
And if not for the outstanding performance of Josh Saunders in net, the Sounders would have walked away with the victory and the second seed in this years playoffs.
This had to have been one of the more exciting games I have seen in quite a while out of the Sounders.
Yes, even in the loss, I think they were getting forward well, and keeping the pressure on the Galaxy for much of the match.
Saunders put in a man of the match performance, which kept us off of the scoring sheet, but even after Eddie Johnson went down, the balls kept flying into the penalty area from crosses looking for a head to put the ball on net.
Probably the best scoring chance of the night came from a Freddy Montero volley, but once again, Saunders was there to keep it out.
Another golden opportunity by Montero was stopped by the post, after he had both Saunders and the LA defenders beat. Luck was not on our side tonight.
With all this talk about the performance by Saunders, we can’t forget about how huge Michael Gspurning was for the Sounders as well.
This game could have easily gotten out of hand, as the Galaxy kept up the offensive pressure just about much as the Sounders did.
Save after save, Gspurning kept the score even, until super-sub Mike Magee just barely got his shot under the outstretched fingers of Gspurning to give LA the lead.
Injury to Johnson
It’s hard to hate an injury I guess, as most of the time they are caused by freak incidents that have no way of avoidance to them.
But it’s real easy to hate the fact that our best striker left the game early, and could end up missing the first leg of the RSL playoff fixture.
Without Johnson, we are a one horse show. Not taking anything away from the greatest Sounder to ever wear the Rave Green, but options win games.
When both Montero and Johnson are in the box awaiting a feed form Mauro Rosales, the Sounders are at their most dangerous.
Not a good time at all for Eddie Johnson to have suffered this set back, as we are on the verge of finally winning our first playoff series.
Phantom hand ball
Deep into stoppage time in the second half, the Sounders gave it once last go, sending all players up on the offensive side of the pitch.
A flurry of chances came within a 20 second time frame, culminating with the equalizing goal by Freddy Montero.
Only the goal was disallowed.
On first replay, I thought they were calling offsides on the play, as that seemed to be the only reasoning for the goal not counting, even though clearly everybody was onsides when the second attempt on goal came.
And then I heard the announcers say why it hadn’t been allowed.
While Freddy Montero was on his fanny giving it all he had to get that ball into the net and save our season, the ref said that when the ball initially came in, it glanced off of his arm, while he was on his but, not a part of the play.
It was incidental contact, and I know the rules state that if the player doesn’t try to make a swing at the ball, or better yet, tries to bring his arm away from the ball, it is incidental.
Freddy did not swipe his arm at the ball, nor did he use his arm to corral the ball to his feet so he could make a shot on net.
This call was a tough one to make, and an even tougher one to see at full speed.
Maybe it shouldn’t have been called, maybe the goal should have counted, but maybe the Sounders should have buried a couple missed opportunities, and this situation never would have happened.
As exciting as this game was to watch, it was equally as heart breaking to see the Sounders lose their final match of the regular season.
I don’t know about you, but I am excited as all hell for Friday nights match against RSL!