Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SOUNDERS FC: Sounders fall 1-0 to the Galaxy

It seems so familiar. Like a story that has already been told, but unfortunately it doesn’t end happily ever after. It is a new season, but the opening match for the Sounders felt all too familiar to last years struggles.

The Sounders fell 1-0 to the L.A. Galaxy in the home opener in front of a capacity crowd. From the get go it seemed the Galaxy were the aggressors, creating scoring opportunities within the first few minutes of the match. The Sounders managed to settle the tempo of the Galaxy and began creating scoring opportunities for themselves, but reminiscent of preseason, they could not cash in.

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O’brian White, who made his first start in the place of Blaise Nkufo, couldn’t capitalize on a ball that landed at his feet inside the eighteen. A Header by Alvaro Fernandez found the gloves of L.A.’s backup goalkeeper, Josh Saunders. As the first half came to a conclusion it felt as if the Sounders were beginning to find their stride, but the Galaxy are a dangerous team, which they proved shortly as the second half began.

In the 58th minute the Galaxy took the lead on a rocket shot by Juninho. The strike managed to beat the outstretched Kasey Keller into the back of the net, giving the Galaxy a 1-0 lead. The goal by Juninho was the first opening match goal given up by the Sounders in their first three seasons in the MLS.

The Sounders pressed in the final minutes of the game and nearly were rewarded. Steve Zakuani slid a ball through two defenders and found the foot of O’brian White, but his redirection sailed just wide. Later, Freddy Montero sent a bending shot towards goal that was saved by Saunders, effectively ending the Sounders run and giving the Galaxy the win.

While one game does not make or break a season, which Sigi preached all week, it is a difficult loss to swallow. Again, scoring goals seems to be the concern. The opportunities were there, but it almost seemed as if the Sounders were surprised when the ball got to them inside the box. There is something to be said about the late insert of O’brian White into the starting 11. It looked as if him and Montero never got on the same page, which could be contributed to the lack of playing with one another.

Another thing to keep in mind is while the expectations are high for the Sounders this season; they are also just as high for the Galaxy. The Galaxy are a well rounded club and will likely finish near the top when the year is over.

Unfortunately for the Sounders, they will now have to travel to New York to face a tough Red Bulls team. A team that was picked third by Sports Illustrated in their MLS power rankings. The match is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and will show on KONG TV.

Reach Ryan Kinney at rkinney20@gmail.com