The MLS Western conference second leg final yesterday saw the Seattle Sounders, in front of a great crowd in Seattle, win 2-1 over the LA Galaxy. However, this was not enough, as Galaxy had won a resounding 3-0 victory in the first leg that puts them in the National final to defend their title from last year against the same team as last year, Houston Dynamo.
LA Galaxy was nevertheless a disappointment in the match against Seattle. They came to Seattle to defend, which could make sense, but without Landon Donovan they seemed like a very ordinary team against Seattle, who in the first half came out to attack, knowing nothing else counted. In the first half they were leading on a goal by Eddie Johnson, who even had another goal erroneously annulled for off-side. When Zach Scott brought the Sounders ahead 2-0 they were dominating so much that everyone would be excused for expecting Seattle to make a third.
But two things happened. First, Coach Bruce Arena put the Brazilian Juninho in on midfield, and he suddenly gave LA Galaxy much more dynamism in the counterattack and more defensive depth.
The second thing was the referee...
It is sad that a referee takes center stage in such a game. He made a lot of small calls that favoured Galaxy, but in the end it was an absolutely scandalous penalty call for Galaxy, which Robbie Keane scored on (Galaxy's great player of this season also scored two goals in the first match). This took some air out of the Sounders while giving Galaxy renewed confidence. In spite of attacks by Sounders they were disappointed, and Galaxy should send flowers to the referee.