The LA Galaxy came into Wednesday’s match against the Seattle Sounders once again needing a win — and some other specific results — to keep their fledgling playoff hopes alive. The other matches didn’t go in their favor, and the Galaxy couldn’t hold on late either, allowing a stoppage time goal to finish with a 1-1 draw.
At the start of the night, it looked like the Galaxy might have some good fortune, as they were clearly the better side in the first half. They earned six corners versus two for the Sounders. They had six shots compared to four for Seattle, including the only two on target. But LA’s efforts were not rewarded on the scoreline, and the Galaxy were unlucky to head into the half without a goal.
Daniel Steres (once again starting at left center back next to the right-footed Giancarlo González) had the first chance of the night, a header off of a Cristian Pavón corner in the fourth minute, but in aiming for the far post, Steres missed his mark wide.
The next opportunity, and one that looked as though might have been a goal before checking the replay, came off yet another corner kick. Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei came out to corral Pavón’s corner, but couldn’t get both hands on it. Instead, Sebastian Lletget was able to play the ball to Steres once again, this time in the center of the box. Steres’ header was deflected at the goal line into the crossbar and bounced in front of the line on its way down.
The Galaxy mostly conceded possession to the Sounders, but Seattle couldn’t turn that into any threatening attacks. Instead, LA was content to make its moves on the counter. Any attempts to build an attack were ineffective against the set defense, but the Galaxy had some nice chances when they moved up the field quickly.
Yony González earned a free kick from the right wing on one such play in the 24th minute. Pavón’s free kick produced another great header, this time from Pipo that just missed right, another attempt that appeared to be a goal in real time.
The Galaxy had another great chance on a counter two minutes later, as Sacha Kljestan fed Ethan Zubak on the right side of the box. The forward’s shot was blocked by a diving Frei and still managed to hit the post before going out of play.
Pavón was the clear star of the first session. In addition to his excellent service on the set pieces, he also created some opportunities out of thin air. In the 37th minute, he crossed the ball to one in particular in the box, but Seattle was forced to clear it, leading to a corner. At the end of the half, he chased down what appeared to be a clear throw in for Seattle in their offensive third. Instead, Pavón ran it to the end line and knocked the ball off of a Sounders defender, earning LA the final possession.
The second half started similarly, with the Galaxy as the aggressors but nothing to show for it. Then, Seattle brought in some scoring punch in the 54th minute with Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris. Zubak had one more good attempt on goal, but he missed his header, and it seemed like the Galaxy might have missed their window as the Sounders created more and more chances. At one point, Seattle earned four consecutive corner kicks.
The Galaxy brought in Chicharito and Efrain Álvarez, but still did little with their own possession, blowing a free kick and allowing a dangerous Sounders counter in the other direction. They nearly conceded a penalty kick but were lucky that the referee did not blow the whistle.
Then, in the 78th minute, it looked like the Galaxy had finally earned their just result. On another counter, Pavón beat two defenders down the middle of he field and played the ball off to Chicharito on his right. It looked like Chicharito didn’t have any space, but he nutmegged the ball to Álvarez, who then perfectly completed the give-and-go, resulting in Chicharito’s first goal in 433 minutes. After he scored, he celebrated like LeBron James, so relieved to have finally found the back of the net.
Unfortunately, the Galaxy got sloppy immediately afterwards. Nicolás Lodeiro almost tied it on a free kick as he had David Bingham beat, but hit the crossbar. Seattle continued to press while LA flubbed its chances (specifically another Chicharito shot on the break) and finally found the equalizer in the 93rd minute from Raúl Ruidíaz.
The Galaxy were already eliminated from playoff contention because of San Jose’s win, but it was a disappointing result nonetheless after LA had been so good early on. Disappointing is the buzzword for this Galaxy season, which will now officially come to an end Sunday against Vancouver.