This could be the start of a beautiful rivalry.
Teams from Seattle and LA have had their share of those, and there was no mistaking the hard feelings today as the Sounders and Galaxy rumbled to a 1-1 draw. Here's a photo gallery from TNT photographer Peter Haley. Here is columnist John McGrath's take on the draw.
The key moment was a scuffle in the 57th minute, which involved several players and resulted in James Riley being sent off with a red card and the Sounders playing a man down, while LA seemed content to take its point and go home ... an attitude that coach Sigi Schmid seemed to hold in low regard.
"I'm very proud of our team from the standpoint of playing a man down and still trying to go for the win," Schmid said. "Whereas, the opponent was a man up and they were very content to tie the game take it to 90 minutes. I'm very disappointed in the ejection and I'm disappointed in the refereeing."
As for that Riley, he seemed surprised that he was sent off -- or that he was the only player sent off. But he had no excuses.
"I take full responsibility," Riley said. "It's a red, so it's a red. Obviously, people have their different interpretations, but I'm disappointed that I let my team play (a man down for) 30 minutes. We thought we let two points slip away."
Both goals already had been scored by the 57th minute when possession turned to Seattle. However, L.A.'s Gregg Berhalter grabbed the ball and held it, preventing the Sounders from restarting play.
Riley tried to take the ball, and a scuffle developed involving several players. At one point, Los Angeles' Mike Mcgee grabbed Riley, and Riley responded by swinging his hand toward the back of Mcgee's neck. It wasn't quite a punch, and Riley initially drew only a yellow card. But after the referee conferred with his assistant, it was upgraded to red.
"It was definitely not a punch," Riley said. "I was just trying to grab him because I thought he came in from behind me. But again, I take full responsibility. By no means do I ever intend to strike any player in the face or anywhere. That's definitely not the intent, so I want to make that clear."
Schmid had more criticism for the Galaxy than for Riley ... and far more for referee Tim Weyland.
"I guess (Berhalter) thought it was his free kick, I don't know," Schmid said. "Maybe he was momentarily confused or dazed, and the referee was confused and dazed. There ended up being a melee and a scrum. That's about all I can say right now. I've known the referee for a long time. When I was coaching in college we were allowed to list a couple of referees who would not be put on your games. He hasn't refereed many games that I've coached. The assistant referee told the referee that in his estimation it was a red for violent conduct. The other ref told him something else, but he chose to ignore that piece of advice. I'll let you draw judgments on the refereeing."
Either way, Riley was sent off and the Sounders played the final 33 minutes one man down. Riley also will have to miss Seattle's next game, Saturday at FC Dallas. He also picked up his third yellow card of the season, and will be suspended for another game if his total reaches five. (All of this seems especially amazing to me because of the pitch, Riley is the nicest guy in the world.)
Riley becomes the third Sounder to pick up a red card this season, following goalkeeper Kasey Keller and leading scorer Fredy Montero, who served his one-game suspension Sunday. The Sounders are 0-1-2 in the three games they have played shorthanded.
By settling for one point Sunday, they lost ground to Western Conference leader Chivas USA, which added three points with a win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Here's the game summary:
SEA -- Sebastien Le Toux 1 (Nate Jaqua 3, Steve Zakuani 3) 22
LA -- Alan Gordon 2 (Mike Magee 1) 35
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Tony Sanneh, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Stefani Miglioranzi, Jovan Kirovski (Chris Klein 63), Dema Kovalenko (Edson Buddle 84), Mike Magee, Alan Gordon (Eddie Lewis 76), Landon Donovan.
Substitutes Not Used: A.J. DeLaGarza, Bryan Jordan, Josh Saunders, Josh Tudela.
TOTAL SHOTS: 6 (6 tied with 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Alan Gordon 1, Chris Klein 1); FOULS: 16 (Gregg Berhalter 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8 (Landon Donovan 8); SAVES: 1 (Donovan Ricketts 1)
Seattle Sounders FC -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall, Nathan Sturgis (Zach Scott 72), Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Freddie Ljungberg, Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 73), Nate Jaqua, Sebastien Le Toux (Stephen King 87).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Eylander, Taylor Graham, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (7 tied with 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Sebastien Le Toux 1, Steve Zakuani 1); FOULS: 11 (Freddie Ljungberg 3); OFFSIDES: 4 (Nate Jaqua 3); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Freddie Ljungberg 5); SAVES: 1 (Kasey Keller 1)
LA -- Alan Gordon (caution; Reckless Foul) 32
SEA -- Brad Evans (caution; Dissent) 45
SEA -- James Riley (ejection; Violent Conduct) 57
SEA -- Freddie Ljungberg (caution; Dissent) 58
SEA -- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Dissent) 59
LA -- Landon Donovan (caution; Dissent) 61
SEA -- Nate Jaqua (caution; Reckless Tackle) 80
LA -- Stefani Miglioranzi (caution; Reckless Tackle) 83
Referee: Tim Weyland
Referee's Assistants: -Darren Clark; Emiliano Monje
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-55-degrees
Thanks for the comments that are in so far. More always welcome.
Final: 1-1. The Sounders to to 4-2-2 and drift further behind Chivas in the West. Worse, then played a man down for the third time in eight games and will be without James Riley next week in Dallas.
Los Angeles goes to an amazing 1-1-6.
The game ended with boos, presumably aimed at the ref.
Here's the first take from coach Sigi Schmid, who was happy with neither the refereeing nor LA's cautious style of play.
"I'm very proud of our team from the standpoint of playing a man down and still trying to go for the win. Whereas, the opponent was a man up and they were very content to tie the game take it to 90 minutes. I'm very disappointed in the ejection and I'm disappointed in the refereeing."
I'll be back with notes and quotes. How'd it look from there?
Halftime: The half ended with some unhappiness, as Nate Jaqua was brought down in the box as the ref watched disinterestedly. Eventually Brad Evans drew a yellow for complaint. However, he had lots of company as the ref was booed loudly as the teams headed to the locker room, tied 1-1.
Each team has three shots. Seattle has two shots on goal, LA 1. LA has seven fouls to Seattle's six. LA has four corner kicks to Seattle's three.
35th minute: LA pulls even, 1-1, on a header by Alan Gordon, high and left of the diving Keller -- who was not happy with the space Gordon got right in front of the goal
22nd minute: Sounders move ahead 1-0. Sebastien Le Toux gets his first MLS goal, and he'll never get an easier one, mostly walking the ball into the goal after being assisted by Nate Jaqua who drew keeper Donovan Ricketts hopelessly out of position.
Kickoff: Landon Donovan and Kasey Keller, today's captains, just met at midfield, representing about as good a field player and keeper as this country has produced.
Now we're underway.
11:50: The Golden Scarf goes to Meredith Teague of the Seattle Pacific women's soccer team, national champions of Division II.
11:20: We've just received the starting lineups. As some of us expected, Sigi Schmid had filled the absence of Fredy Montero by moving Sebastien Le Toux back into the starting lineup at forward, opposite Nate Jaqua.
Here's the full lineup: G Keller; D Riley, Hurtado, Marshall, Sturgis; M Evans, Alonso, Ljungberg, Sakuani; F Jaqua, Le Toux.
Here's LA: G Ricketts; D Sanneh, Berhalter, Gonzalez, Dunivant; M Miglioranzi, Kirovski, Kovalenko, Magee; F Gordon, Donovan.
Keller is captain for Seattle, Donovan for LA.
11:15: The Sounders just came out on the pitch for pregame warmups, wearing their usual green/blue. LA appears to be in all white.
It is just about a perfectly beautiful day out there. The sellout crowd is filling in slowly.
As usual on gameday, I'll pop in here as pregame news happens. Then I'll pop in with a report on all goals, news as it happens, and a halftime report. As always, your comments are encouraged, especially a postgame discussion while I go down for lockerroom notes and quotes.
Also, the noon start should give us time for some good coverage in the Monday paper. I'll be writing not only a game story, but also some secondary item. And columnist John McGrath will be giving his opinions as well.