The Seattle Sounders continued their mastery over the LA Galaxy with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Dignity Health Sports Park. After bolting out to a 2-0 first-half lead the Rave Green hung on for dear life and were able to deliver Head coach Brian Schmetzer’s historic 100 wins.
As he has always done throughout his career Schmetzer deflected the praise to his players and coaches. Schmetzer also took time out to thank his well-wishers.
- LINE UP ANTICIPATION
After last week’s historic 4-1 win at Sporting Kansas City, the question was who Schmetzer would start. The team internationals returned this week. Would he automatically insert them into the lineup or stick with the hot hand? Schmetzer stuck with the hot hand from last week except for the insertion of Alex Roldan at left-back for the injured Kelyn Rowe.
The lineup did not disappoint Schmetzer as Chu continued to cause nightmares for LA Galaxy defenders on the left side with his speed. The one strategic shift for the Sounders was that they absorbed the Galaxy pressure and waited for their opportunity to counter. Against Sporting last week, the Sounders employed high pressure.
The absorb pressure, then counter strategy looked like it was going to backfire early in the contest. The Galaxy dominated possession up till about the 18th minute when the Galaxy’s Tyler Boyd’s shot was saved by Stefan Frei. The reason for the Galaxy’s possession was due to the Sounder’s inability to beat the home side’s press once they gained possession of the ball.
2. SOUNDERS COUNTERATTACK
After the Boyd save the Sounders gathered themselves and masterfully played from the back and beat the LA press for the go-ahead goal. So, I guess one could say the strategy was working all along. Joao Paulo slipped a pass to Nicolas Lodeiro who found the streaking Chu on the left side and fed him an exquisite ball. The streaking Chu hit a one-time side rule pass to Jordan Morris who slotted the ball into the back of the Galaxy goal.
3. HIGH PRESS A DIFFERENT STRATEGY
The Sounder’s second goal was a result of pressing and patience. After forcing a Galaxy turnover Alex Roldan fed a rolling pass to Chu who was on the touchline. Chu then passed the ball to Lodiero who passed it back to Chu who cut inside and slotted the ball into the right lower corner of the Galaxy goal for the 2-0 lead at the 35’ minute mark.
For some unknown reason, the Sounders seemed to pull back from pressing and marking. The lethargic play by the Sounders allowed the Galaxy to get back in the game. The Sounders spent the rest of the half chasing the game. Despite their poor play, the Sounders went into the break with their two-goal lead intact.
4. NOT SO SMOOTH SECOND HALF
The Galaxy continued their dominance over the Sounders who according to Brian Schmetzer just quick playing at times. Schmetzer inserted Raul Ruidiaz in the 60th minute for offense. The offense came from the Galaxy, not the Sounders. Stefan Fried saved a long shot from Raheem Edward but spilled the ball right to Jalen Neal who scored. With a deficit of just one goal, the Galaxy threw everything at the Sounders. Sensing the game slipping away Schmetzer inserted Nouhou and Obed Vargas for Albert Rusnak and Jos Atencio.
5. SOUNDERS BEND BUT DID NOT BREAK
The substitutions helped settle the game for the Rave Green to a degree. Nouhou brought experience and Varga’s speed to his defensive midfield role. The Galaxy continued to heap the pressure, but the Sounders were able to hold and win their second consecutive road game.
This game was about getting the win. The Galaxy was missing some players but are still a good team. The last time the Galaxy beat the Sounders was in 2018. No doubt that point was brought up in the Galaxy dressing room. The Sounders had their own point to make. They are a talented team that is back and ready for another deep and sustained playoff run.
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- With 13 points through six matches, Sounders FC currently sits in second place in the Western Conference (4-1-1). St. Louis CITY SC leads the conference and the Supporters’ Shield race with 15 points (5-1-0). The Rave Green and St. Louis face off next weekend at Lumen Field on Saturday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. PT.
- Following today’s result, Seattle maintains a 10-match unbeaten run in the series against the Galaxy (6-0-4). Sounders FC’s last loss to the Galaxy came on September 23, 2018.
- Sounders FC is the first team to go unbeaten in 10 straight MLS matches against the LA Galaxy.
- Sounders FC has played LA Galaxy more than any other opponent in MLS play, facing-off 43 times in regular-season and postseason action, with Seattle holding a slight 16-14-13 edge.
- Scoring in the 21st minute of play, Seattle forward Jordan Morris continued his recent hot streak, converting a Léo Chú cross for his MLS-leading eighth goal of the year.
- Morris ties San Jose forward Jeremy Ebobisse with the most goals scored at Dignity Health Sports Park by an active player that never played for the LA Galaxy (six goals). Morris has scored eight times overall against the Galaxy, his most strikes against a single opponent in MLS.
- Morris’ opening goal was his fifth strike in two games, with assists coming from teammate Léo Chú on each strike. Last weekend Chú previously set the club record for most assists in one match with four against Sporting Kanas City in a 4-1 win.
- Chú currently leads Major League Soccer with five assists so far this season.
- Chú’s first-half goal was his first tally of 2023 and the Brazilian’s third in all competitions since joining the Rave Green in 2021.
- Other than Morris, only four players in MLS history have scored eight goals through six games: Edson Buddle in 2010 (nine goals), Clint Dempsey in 2014 (eight goals), Landon Donovan in 2008 (eight goals) and Raúl Díaz Arce in 1997 (eight goals).
- Morris now has 50 career regular-season strikes and 60 goals in Rave Green across all competitions, good for third in club history behind teammates Raúl Ruidíaz (73 goals) and Fredy Montero (76 goals).
- Morris is just the third Homegrown Player in MLS history to reach the 50-goal mark, joining fellow Homegrowns Gyasi Zardes and Diego Fagúndez.
- Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer made just one change to the starting group that defeated Sporting KC 4-1 on March 25, with fullback Alex Roldan replacing the injured Kelyn Rowe, who picked up a hamstring strain in training earlier this week.
- Schmetzer earned his 100th career MLS regular-season win this afternoon, joining just 13 other coaches in league history to hit that mark. In just 212 games coached, he is the third-fastest all-time to reach the century mark, trailing only Bruce Arena (189) and Bob Bradley (199).
- Under Schmetzer, Sounders FC has lost just once in 17 matchups with the Galaxy (9-1-7).
- With 322 career starts across all competitions, today Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei tied Osvaldo Alonso’s club record in the MLS era. Frei is currently 17 matches shy of Alonso’s record of 339 appearances across all-competitions for Sounders FC in the MLS era.
- Despite allowing a second-half goal, Seattle has allowed just three tallies through six matches this season, tied for the second-best defensive record in MLS.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – LA Galaxy 1
Saturday, April 1, 2023
Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistants: Logan Brown, Cory Richardson
Fourth Official: Mark Allatin
VAR: Sorin Stoica
Weather: 65 degrees and clear
SEA – Jordan Morris (Léo Chú, Nico Lodeiro) 21’
SEA – Léo Chú (Nico Lodeiro) 35’
LAG – Jalen Neal 63’
LAG – Mark Delgado (caution) 58’
SEA – Jackson Ragen (caution) 61’
SEA – João Paulo (caution) 73’
SEA – Nico Lodeiro (caution) 85’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Cristian Roldan, Yeimar, Jackson Ragen, Alex Roldan; João Paulo, Josh Atencio (Obed Vargas 69’), Albert Rusnák (Nouhou 69’), Nico Lodeiro, Léo Chú (Raul Ruidíaz 60’); Jordan Morris (Xavier Arreaga 90’)
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Ethan Dobbelaere, Danny Leyva, Fredy Montero, Héber
Total shots: 9
Shots on goal: 3
LA Galaxy – Jonathan Klinsmann; Lucas Calegari (Daniel Aguirre 90’+2’), Marin Caceres (Chris Mavinga 84’), Jalen Neal, Raheem Edwards (Jonathan Perez 84’); Gaston Brugman, Riqui Puig, Mark Delgado, Tyler Boyd (Douglas Costa 78’), Memo Rodriguez (Preston Judd 46’); Dejan Joveljic
Substitutes not used: Efrain Alvarez, Uri Rosell, Kelvin Leerdam, Aaron Cervantes, Jonathan Perez
Total shots: 26
Shots on goal: 7
– SOUNDERS FC –