The first half was a solid effort all-around from the Sounders. They dominated the Galaxy with loads of chances stemming from solid progressive play. Jordan Morris' goal came off a fantastic cross from Joao Paulo in the 9th minute, who had himself a wonderful performance on Wednesday night.
Going into the match, I believed Leo Chu had a good matchup against former Sounder Kelvin Leerdam along the lefthand side. However, Chu seemed to really struggle for the first time in a while. He looked generally sloppy on the ball, and fumbled a great chance with a header wide left in the 17th minute.
The second half was all Galaxy off the bat. They developed a good string of chances and kept the Sounders backline on their toes. Douglas Costa's goal in the 54th minute came from a great central run that left Yeimar and Nouhou split.
Things went back and forth for a while, but Seattle started applying more pressure around the 80th minute. There were many good chances off set-pieces, but the ball simply couldn't find the back of LA's net. That was until the 96th minute, where Alex Roldan's long throw-in found Josh Atencio's head, who flicked it on to Christian Roldan for the match winning, MLS Cup Playoffs clinching goal.
The squad looked really good in the first half, as they came out firing with tenacity that I haven't seen in at least a handful of matches. The three points currently place Seattle 2nd in the West, but everything is so tight that the final two matches of the season should both be seen as must-wins.
Douglas Costa was looking dangerous throughout the whole match, and he backed it up with his goal. He ended up playing central when I predicted he'd be out on the right wing battling Nouhou, but he still got the best of Nouhou on LA's lone goal.
When looking back at the match preview I posted, my predictions were solid. In the 'What to Look Out For' section, I wrote: "Don't be surprised if Morris gets at least one goal involvement against LA". With regards to Costa, I claimed that "he could certainly send one in the back of the net against the Sounders". I did end up predicting a 2-0 win with Jordan Morris and Albert Rusnak goals and while that wasn't spot on, I'm just glad they got a win.
Highs and Lows
1) Joao Paulo was on top of his game. Not only was his assist huge in order to get off to a hot start, but he continued to be solid and reliable in the midfield for the duration of the match. JP created 3 chances, won 3/3 tackles, and completed 86% of his passes; all in 80 minutes. While Christian Roldan scored the match-winner, Joao Paulo is still my personal choice for MOTM.
2) Douglas Costa had a great match, and I can't imagine how few chances the Galaxy would've had if he wasn't on the pitch. Costa was threatening and physical with the Sounders midfield and backline, enough so to get LA back into the match with his game-tying goal.
1) Leo Chu couldn't seem to get much of anything going against a generally weak Galaxy defense. As mentioned earlier, he showed some signs of threat, but there was simply no end result. He initially sparked his missed chance in the 17th minute, but other than that he had a poor performance. It was a great decision for Schmetzer to sub Chu off in the 66th minute, but I hope he can get back out there Saturday and create chances again versus Vancouver.
2) The Galaxy's Defense was poor, as expected. Even when Chu was oddly off his game, the Sounders attack force were still able to amass many chances throughout the match. With a mix of various crosses, long balls, and set-pieces; LA's defense was broken down which led them to concede the match-winning goal.
The next Sounders match is at Lumen Field on Saturday, October 7th at 7:30 PM, against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are currently 5th in the Western Conference and are coming off a 3-0 win against 1st place St. Louis City. This match will have big playoff implications in regards to seeding with final standings, so I expect Schmetzer to field a strong XI that can send Vancouver north with zero points.
What is your main takeaway from the playoff-clinching win against LA Galaxy? What are your thoughts leading up to the final two matches of the regular season? Let us know in the comment section below.