By Jon Gaede, BVN Sports –
It took less than 20 minutes for a precision corner kick from the golden foot of David Beckham, to find the head of Edson Buddle and ultimately, the back of the net.
The Los Angeles Galaxy, in a year defined by a World Cup interruption and a devastating injury to David Beckham, have overcome those issues and are firing on all cylinders.
The Home Depot Center and AEG, have provided a premier facility to watch a professional soccer match. The live ESPN broadcast and a roaring sellout crowd was treated to competitive soccer at the highest level.
The Galaxy’s style of play simply didn’t allow the Sounders to mount their normal attacks.
Coach Bruce Arena knows very well that when focused, his players spread the field and dictate the pace of their matches. This one would go according to plan.
On Sunday, the trio of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle had their way with Seattle. They were so good at spreading the field, putting opponents on their heals and unleashing a barrage of shots at Kasey Keller, the Seattle keeper.
The Galaxy are at their best when they force the issue, as they did in the first half. Prior to the 20th minute of play, David Beckham went to the corner for a set piece. Like Muhammad Ali before a crisp to the head, all eyes seem to know exactly what’s about to happen. Sure enough, the Beckham cross found the forehead of a charging Edson Buddle. Seattle keeper Kasey Keller reached for the header in vein. 1-0 Galaxy.
“Soccer is a simple game” said Ralph Perez, ESPN radio commentator and University of Redlands coach. “The Galaxy’s defensive intensity eventually breaks the will of their opponent, especially when you go ahead early” according to coach Perez.
Omar Gonzales was the benefactor of a second Beckham assist, when he headed the precision free kick past a diving Keller. The early 2-0 Galaxy lead would prove to be a match clinching margin.
The Galaxy take the two game aggregate victory over the Sounders and earn a birth into the MLS Western Conference Final, at the Home Depot Center on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was solid on the night, allowing one insignificant goal in the 86th minute. Rickett’s, a unanimous coach, player and media choice for ‘Goalkeeper of the Year‘ honors on Wednesday. Originally from Jamaica, he recorded a record 11 shutouts, helping the Galaxy to go 18-7-5, an MLS best in 2010.
Ricketts set a Galaxy club mark of 0.90 goals-against, a franchise record. His overall career mark is now 0.96, also an MLS record. On a team with so many proven offensive international stars, the 33 year old Ricketts has made a significant impression upon his club and the league.
Looking toward the conference final on Sunday, FC Dallas will be a worthy opponent.
“The Galaxy’s ability to rely upon a re-set or set piece from a player like David Beckham is so valuable.” “His quality of service is beautiful to watch, yet so difficult to defend” - coach Ralph Perez.
For those who like to experience live expert game commentary, tune in to coach Ralph Perez (color analyst) and Joe Tutino on ESPN Radio AM 830 or 1150 on game day.
The Los Angeles Galaxy will play FC Dallas for the Western Conference Title on Sunday at the Home Depot Center in Carson. The winner will play the Eastern Conference champion for the MLS Cup, in Toronto on November 21st.