Halloween Night proved to be nothing but a haunted house of horrors for the Seattle Sounders Football Club.
Victoria Street's Frankenstein, known only to mortals as Edson Buddle, helped Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy monster mash their way to a 1-0 victory over Sigi Schmid's side at Qwest Field in Seattle on Sunday before 35,521 brave souls.
The genius that is the mad scientist Bruce Arena discovered a winning formula on the plastic pitch, subbing starter Eddie Lewis while placing Gregg Berhalter in the middle.
With Blaise Nkufo and Nate Jaqua posing as a last-ditch threat in the second half, Berhalter's presence neutralized Seattle's attack and took slack off Omar Gonzalez's back.
Landon Donovan—the Dracula of the bunch—sucked the blood out of the Seattle attackers, holding Sanna Nyassi and James Riley at bay with his speed. That is the type of form that could pay dividends next week at the Home Depot Center.
And of course, the Wolfman known as David Beckham was showing that he could play some defense.
I do believe that Mike Magee was playing like the mummy he was. He wasn't bringing the same intensity and finish in the front, wasn't fast enough to receive his passes...overall, he underachieved.
Juninho should have buried his chance in the 85th minute. The fact that the young Brazilian's tap missed a foot wide left can be interpreted as a silver lining for the Sounders.
What could have been the first goal of the game in the first minute for Seattle was disallowed due to Steve Zakuani called back for offsides.
No one in the crowd of 35,000-plus would have imagined that this was a sign of things to come for the men in Rave Green.
I have to personally wonder what was Nkufo thinking late in the contest to delay a restart and come after Ricketts?
It's one of the biggest brain explosions I have seen from Seattle, and a surprising act from one of Switzerland's finest imports to come to MLS.
I also have to wonder about this: there is NO away goals rule in the conference semifinals. The casual soccer fan needs to know about this rule because I am sure that every just about every league around the world that has a home-and-home as part of the playoffs.
Examples—the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, CAF Champions League, CAF Confederation Cup and any two-legged playoffs used in qualification for the FIFA World Cup or European Championships.
If Los Angeles is given home-field advantage, then this 1-0 scoreline would put them in the driver's seat. This is not an insurmountable margin for the Sounders, and the Galaxy will need to up the ante on Nov. 7th if they are to progress to the conference finals.
Kickoff for that contest is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
INS & OUTS
Youth Academy Update
The Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy Under-18s and Under-16s were back in action this past weekend.
On Saturday, the Galaxy U-16s defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 through goals from Drew Murphy in the 46th minute and John McBean in the 78th minute. Earlier on Halloween morning, the Under-16s routed Cal Odyssey 4-0.
After trailing the San Jose Earthquakes Under-18s at halftime, the Galaxy regrouped with two goals in six minutes to give Los Angeles a 2-1 victory.
Neil Ignacio drove home a 70th minute equalizer while Jake LaPorte scored the game winner in the 75th minute.
The score for the Under-18s match between Cal Odyssey and the Galaxy was unavailable as this article was being published.
The Young G's will only have one match for all of November: a November 20 contest with the California Development Academy. Kickoff for the U-16s is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. PT, while the U-18s kick off at 10 a.m. PT.