Seattle snaps skid vs. Galaxy with 2-0 victory
SEATTLE (AP) Fredy Montero kept getting denied when it came to snapping his scoreless streak the easy way.
He finally got his first goal of the 2012 season with one of the most electric marks of his young career.
Eddie Johnson scored for the second straight game, directing home a header just before halftime, Fredy Montero scored his first goal of the season on a 35-yard strike early in the second half, and the Seattle Sounders finally got the best of Los Angeles with a 2-0 win over the Galaxy on Wednesday night.
``When you have the opportunity to shoot from that distance you just try,'' Montero said. ``Thank God that ball went into the net.''
Johnson's goal in the 40th minute capped a half of missed chances for Seattle and came off a long cross from Mauro Rosales. It also snapped a lengthy scoreless skid for Seattle at home against the Galaxy and led to the Sounders' first win over Los Angeles in MLS play since 2009.
Montero's goal was a stunning strike from distance in the 48th minute. Given space in the midfield, Montero's drive found the opposite upper corner out of the reach of Los Angeles goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
The result was a needed win for Seattle's psyche after coming up winless in six straight league matches against the Galaxy.
``It was good for us because sometimes you have a team that you call your, `boogey team' - a team that sort of gives you a problem and for some reason you can't seem to jump over them,'' Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. ``L.A. was that team for us a little bit, but we always felt we had confidence that we could beat them and today it showed.''
Los Angeles was playing without star midfielder David Beckham, striker Robbie Keane and goalkeeper Josh Saunders, all of whom stayed back in Los Angeles. Both the Galaxy and Sounders are playing three games this week. Even though the Galaxy decided to rest some of their stars and fall six points back of Seattle early in the season, the Sounders put out nearly all of their regular starting 11 and finally began to get the kind of impact they hoped from the Johnson-Montero combo up front.
``It's a difficult week with travel and playing on this surface. We wanted to keep some players fresh for Saturday,'' Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. ``That's a decision I made. Whether it makes sense or not remains to be seen when we play on Saturday. . We didn't think we were going to be able to play 11 players in three games this week. We have to rotate some players.''
Seattle traded away two young prospects in order to acquiring the rights to Johnson before the season began. His Seattle introduction was slowed by a hamstring injury but he followed up his first goal of the season last Saturday in Chicago with another strong performance against the Galaxy.
Johnson's goal capped a half where all the good chances came from the Sounders. Johnson's right-footed shot from inside the penalty area in the 10th minute was kicked away by the right-foot of Gaudette. About 10 minutes later, Montero had a point-blank look at an open goal, only to see his rebound attempt of Johnson's shot deflect off Gaudette's leg.
Montero finally got his first mark of the season and there was little luck involved. His speculative attempt was perfectly placed in the far upper corner and snapped a scoreless string that dated back to last October against San Jose.
``I was waiting for this. I was looking to score a goal from Day 1,'' Montero said. ``This is soccer. You don't know exactly the reason, but finally I scored.''
Starting Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning aggravated a sore right hip and was replaced at halftime by Bryan Meredith in net. Gspurning had a quiet first half and the Galaxy's first real shot on net didn't come until the 62nd minute when Landon Donovan sent his left-footed shot directly into the stomach of Meredith.
Initially, Wednesday night was to be an audition of sorts for Beckham as he continues his quest to be one of three players over the age of 23 added to Great Britain's roster for the London Olympics later this summer. Last week, Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce indicated he would travel to Seattle to see Beckham play in person.
But Beckham remained home in Los Angeles with the Galaxy having played Dallas last weekend and Beckham playing 90 minutes. The Galaxy host New York on Saturday and the plan of giving Beckham the Wednesday off falls in line with how the Galaxy handled three-game weeks last season.
``This wasn't a game we were out of by any means. It's a long season we have a number of older players who have played a lot of games,'' Donovan said. ``When you combine travel, clearly the turf, and then traveling home, it becomes pretty difficult. Those are the decisions that were made. We had enough guys to get the job done, just didn't do it.''
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