Galaxy slog through stalemate with Sounders

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Neal returned to the starting lineup for the first time in nearly 10 months as the Galaxy played the Seattle Sounders to a scoreless draw.

Despite being without three of the most dynamic players due to a combination of injuries and a suspension, the Galaxy managed a scoreless tie with the Sounders on Sunday at Seattle’s Lumen Field.

The result put the Galaxy (5-2-4) in third place in the Western Conference with 19 points, just behind Minnesota United and Real Salt Lake, who have 20 and 21 points, respectively.

The Galaxy were able to retain its defensive posture on set pieces, something that pleased coach Greg Vanney.

“We defended 12 corners today and didn’t give up any (goals),” Vanney said. “They got their heads on a couple, but nothing that was really super threatening.” 

Here are three takeaways:

Goalkeepers save day

While there weren’t any fireworks offensively, the goaltenders showcased outstanding goalkeeping performances to keep clean sheets. The Galaxy had three shots on goal and five corner kicks while the Sounders had five shots on goal and 12 corners.

John McCarthy’s heroic efforts for the Galaxy, with five crucial saves, ensured his team earned a valuable road point. 

“You take a point on the road,” McCarthy said. “I think that goes a long way in the season. If you go grab some points on the road.”

Sounders goalie Stefan Frei’s efforts three saves denied the Galaxy any breakthrough moments. The biggest save Frei made came on a Diego Fagundez shot on the wing that was deflected in the 76th minute.

Impact of missing Galaxy

The Galaxy had to cope without their leading scorer, Dejan Joveljic, out because to a thigh injury, and playmaking midfielder Riqui Puig, who was sidelined because of card accumulation. Joveljic leads LA with six goals and Puig has three goals and four assists.

The Galaxy were shut out for second consecutive match after losing 2-0 last weekend in Austin.

The Sounders were missing right back Alex Roldan, also because of a suspension, which altered their defensive setup. 

Home-field advantage

Following the draw, the Sounders improved to 5-0-3 in their last eight home matches against the Galaxy, who have not earned three points in Seattle since 2016.

The condition of the pitch was also noticeably wet, which caused the game to slow down more than the Galaxy were used to. Vanney said the pitch had a much more negative outcome than some might think. 

“It’s a tough field to play on. It really slows the game down,” he said. “It’s really kind of soft and spongy, so it just sucks the energy out of the legs and out of the game and I think it’s tough for both teams.” 

McCarthy felt similarly about the pitch. 

“Coming on the road, it’s never easy,” McCarthy said. “And it doesn’t matter where you go. And if you’re (going to) come and play on turf. It was a little more wet in the first half.” 

The Galaxy next host Real Salt Lake on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park.