The Los Angeles Galaxy’s 3-0 domination of Sounders FC on Sunday also was a victory of star power.
Galaxy designated players figured in all of their team’s scores as L.A. built a three-goal advantage heading into the series’ resolution game 6 p.m. Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Designated player (DP) Robbie Keane scored the Galaxy’s first and third goals and assisted on the second.
“He’s been simply outstanding since his return from the European Championships,” L.A. coach Bruce Arena said. “One could argue he’s been the best player in the league.”
On the first goal, Keane was assisted by fellow-DP Landon Donovan. Third DP David Beckham didn’t figure in the scoring, but he was dangerous in the flow of the game and for launching eight corner kicks.
“You’re talking about guys who’ve got 100 caps — each of them,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “You’re talking about guys who have played in World Cups. You’re talking about guys who have played in European Champions League games and things like that. There’s a quality that they’ve been able to express onto the team. For us right now, we’re still searching maybe a little bit for that.”
Over the course of the season, Los Angeles’ DP combined for 32 goals and 32 assists while drawing a total guaranteed compensation of $9.8 million.
Seattle’s three DP’s – Fredy Montero, Mauro Rosales and Christian Tiffert – combined for 16 goals and 24 assists, while drawing a combined guaranteed compensation of $1.6 million.
Rosales missed the playoff series opener with a hamstring strain. Tiffert played 73 minutes at Los Angeles. Montero played 65 before being replaced by Eddie Johnson.
“We wanted (Montero) to push as hard as he could for 60-65 (minutes) and then we were going to make a decision as to how to make changes,” Schmid said. “... Eddie is a little more through runner than a ball-at-the-feet guy that Fredy is.”
Montero led Seattle in goals over his first three seasons before finishing one behind Johnson with a career-high 13 this season.
However, he has never scored a goal in the playoffs – a run of 756 scoreless minutes in the postseason.
“Obviously there are streaks, and goal-scorers are streaky,” Schmid said. “It’s been over four years now, and he hasn’t scored a goal in the playoffs. He’s working hard, and he’s trying to get the ball and he’s trying to get some looks, certainly. But teams focus a little bit harder in the playoffs, and it’s been harder for him to find space.”
Montero steadily maintains that he isn’t interested in the personal aspect of goals, only their ability to help the team. He also has never indicated that his scoreless playoff run is on his mind.
“Hopefully not — he’s pretty good that way,” he said. “But I’m sure at some point you start thinking about it.”
SCHMID ON BURCH
Seattle’s injury-weakened back line was further depleted Sunday by the league suspension of Marc Burch for his use of a gay slur in the final game of the series at Real Salt Lake last week.
Burch apologized the next day, but Major League Soccer still subjected Burch to a fine, ordered him to additional sensitivity training and suspended him for three games – through either the MLS Cup or the first game of the 2013 regular season.
“I’m proud of the fact that Marc felt his obligation as a human being – not necessarily as a soccer player for the Sounders, but as a human being – to acknowledge that he made a mistake,” Schmid said. “... (The slur) is not something in his character to do. But it is what it is.”Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt