The Los Angeles Galaxy knew what they needed to do tonight, and they got it 19 minutes into the first half. The Edson Buddle header off a David Beckham corner and the Omar Gonzalez diving header off a David Beckham free kick were enough to carry the Galaxy through the second half, as they ended up wrapping up the Western Conference semifinal 3-1 on aggregate.
"Obviously it's a very good win for our team," coach Bruce Arena said in his post game press conference. "I thought we played very well in the first half, second half we were a little sloppy in the last twenty minutes. Perhaps had we been a little smarter, a little sharper we'd have the opportunity to get that third goal and really kill the game. Give Seattle credit they never quit, they hung in with us right to the end. It was a tough battle for 95 minutes."
Seattle did manage to score in the 86' which created some artificial drama as everything came to a close. Refusing to go quietly into the LA night, Nate Jaqua found Steve Zakuani on the left side of the goal box. Zakuani was able to maneuver past Omar Gonzalez and place the ball behind Donovan Ricketts as the Sounders gave the 500 fans that traveled down with them a little token to cheer about.
For the other 26,500 in attendance, tonight was all about the Galaxy. Despite letting in that one late goal, Ricketts was fantastic in the second half, and he had to be. Seattle went from just 3 shots in the first half to 10 in the second. As the Galaxy got a bit sloppy in the back, Ricketts prevented at least one goal all by himself, after Montero had broken through and was alone but for the Galaxy keeper. Outside of that save and the Seattle goal, the other eight second half attempts didn't come close, as Fredy Montero had trouble getting the ball down on any of his five second half shots. Ricketts went down in a scary second half moment; the stretcher was brought out, but it turned out he was just cleated and was able to continue after taking some time to shake it off.
The Galaxy and Seattle each managed to earn a yellow card over the course of the game. David Beckham picked up a yellow in the first half for a sliding tackle that the ref deemed too harsh. In the 65' Patrick Ianni grabbed ahold of Edson Buddle's jersey and refused to let go. All in all it was a very aggressive game as the two sides tacked up 25 fouls between them.
After four David Beckham corners in the first half, the Galaxy only had one in the second. Seattle didn't manage any corners in the first, as the first half was pretty much all LA Galaxy. Same story for the Galaxy with shots on goal, in the second half they didn't have any. With a bit more sharpness the Galaxy could have gotten a third goal and really put things to rest, but for the last 20 mins they played like they already knew they were going through.
With tonight's result the Galaxy now get to play host to FC Dallas next week, in the Western Conference final. In a bit of coincidence, all four teams remaining in the MLS Cup playoffs are from the Western Conference, despite San Jose and Colorado playing for the Eastern Conference title. The game will be at 6:00 at Home Depot Center, broadcast on ESPN and ESPN3.