A goal three minutes into the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup gave LA Galaxy it’s upperhand and hold of possession to end with a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders.
“I did think we simplified the game, the ball moved a little bit quicker between guys. There’s times though, especially the first half where I think we have some momentum and to attack and we tend to turn back in and we turned it into a possession,” said LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney.
The start of the half proved to be in the favor of the Galaxy. Only three minutes of possession, a shot just a few steps into the goalie box by Julian Aude would find its way in the top left hand corner of the net, placing them on the scoreboard early on.
Aude made history by scoring the fastest US Open Cup goal in the Galaxy’s team history. It was about 45 seconds faster than Jellen Van Damme’s third minute goal in a match against the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2017 Quarterfinals
“One of the objectives of this group is to get the first goal. It was nice to get it so early. As you said I think that that frees up the group a little bit as well and Julian when when the ball popped out, he took a great first touch. He had a good look and good angle and he got a hold of it,” Vanney said.
The Sounders now in a deficit with roughly 87 minutes to play; they slowly began to pick up the pace and match LA Galaxy’s intensity.
However, LA Galaxy remained on top of possession with a 60/40 hold, but fell short with only two shots on goal as opposed to the Sounders’ three.
In a final attempt to lengthen the score, a break away opportunity was created for Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez but ended with him being rewarded a yellow card following the play. In the 42nd minute, he was called offsides and while stopping his run; he kicked the ball away from the Sounders’ goalie.
The half ended shortly after with the home side in front 1-0.
As the second half commenced, both teams began to increase their level of aggression. Possession seemed to decrease from the Galaxy’s grasp and become more even. However, the increased intensity would lead the Sounders to receive their first yellow card of the night.
It wouldn’t be long until the Galaxy raised the score, in the 66th minute, in a small battle of possession, just feet from the goalie, Memo Rodriguez was able to get a foot on the ball and put it past the netminder. The Galaxy’s 2-0 lead wouldn’t last long.
Less than two minutes later, in a quick offensive play, a center from on the right side of the field found its way Sounders’ Paul Rothrock whose header missed the hands of Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond and ended up in the back of the net to cut the lead in half.
Rodriguez would respond later in the 84th minute with his second goal of the match to restore the two-goal lead. This goal would also mark his sixth goal for his Open Cup career. His first four came with the Houston Dynamo. Three of them came during Houston’s 2018 US Open Cup title run.
“I thought it was a good night, good goals from all three, good goals, great for Memo to come on … and he’s been working really hard over this stretch,” said Vanney. “He hits the hardest balls on the team and he found himself with two good looks today.”
With only less than 10 minutes of the match left, the Sounders were unable to produce a comeback and the Galaxy win their opening round game for the eighth year in a row.