After a slow start, the Los Angeles Galaxy scored three goals in the space of 22 minutes to stake a dominant 3-0 advantage over Seattle at Home Depot Center in the first leg of the Western Conference finals.
A first half stoppage-time goal by Galaxy striker Robbie Keane presaged a second half flurry, as Mike Magee and then Keane again scored to greatly improve the Galaxy’s chances of a second straight MLS Cup appearance.
In the first half Seattle was able to put together extended spells of possession, but lone striker Fredy Montero was unable to turn them into clear-cut chances, instead testing Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders with several long-range efforts.
Los Angeles frequently threatened the Seattle goal on counterattacks, working primarily down the right flank through full back Sean Franklin. Franklin created chances in the 17th and 22nd minutes by getting behind the Seattle defense and crossing centrally, although the first chance ended in an offside call and Seattle snuffed out the second with a last-ditch intervention.
On other end, Fredy Montero occupied the Galaxy back line, but Los Angeles center back Omar Gonzalez was able to win most of the individual battles relatively comfortably. Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso initiated several exchanges through the midfield that resulted in long-range efforts saved by goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Seconds after the stadium PA announced first half stoppage time, Franklin took a pass down the right flank and found Christian Wilhelmsson at the edge of the Seattle penalty box with Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado draped over him. Wilhelmsson laid off for Landon Donovan, who took two touches to the endline and chipped to the back post where Seattle defender Adam Johansson had abandoned striker Robbie Keane. Keane nodded in for the opening goal.
Twenty minutes into the second half, the Galaxy doubled the advantage with a counterattack. Taking the ball outside his own penalty box, Beckham passed upfield to Keane, who split the Seattle defense to find Franklin streaking into the Seattle penalty area. Franklin centered to Mike Magee, who finished into a wide open Seattle goal.
Three minutes later, Keane turned finisher. Landon Donovan’s deflected shot dropped to Wilhelmsson, who touched past Seattle keeper Gspurning, and Keane finished off from inches away to complete the 3-0 scoreline. The Sounders will have a mountain to climb in Sunday's return leg at CenturyLink Field.
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