If Seattle had known David Beckham fancied powerboating, as he demonstrated during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, we could have moved him one sport to the east Sunday.
He would have been better off behind the wheel of a hydroplane on Lake Washington than among his overwhelmed LA Galaxy teammates at the Clink.
The 4-0 thrashing wasn’t entirely his fault, but he was part of a submission so surprising that a fair question is whether a turning point has come in the rivalry with Sounders FC.
From the Galaxy’s standpoint? Hah. The outcome was more about the poor officiating.
“I probably shouldnt say too much,” Beckham said. “But Ill tell you now (a junior league) ref is better than that today. It is quite remarkable. Is it why we lost the game? No. But we definitely would have got back in the game and turned the crowd quiet.
“Would it have gotten us back into the game? Definitely; but we didnt play well today and Seattle played a lot better. Big calls (can turn games) like this. Its disappointing.”
Seattle did seem the beneficiary of some breaks, but when a team plays as poorly as the Galaxy did relative to expectations — they were 4-0-1 in the last five games — the temptation is strong to reach for excuses, even from the best.
“It was the perfect storm,” said Beckham’s glitterati twin, Landon Donovan, who barely registered Sunday. “We started the game poorly defending, all night we didnt attack well, the officiating was awful. It just seemed like everything went against us and we didnt play well.”
From the Sounders standpoint, they now have outscored the Galaxy 6-0 in two games. Seems like something of a turning point. Head coach Sigi Schmid appeared to have a cat-like calm after a dinner of canary.
“We talked about them being our ‘boogey’ team,” he said. “This was a big game, on national TV, huge crowd (but) . . . it was a statement for ourselves. Its us knowing, Hey, heres what we can do, this is the potential that we can achieve, and this is what we do — respond well to those challenges.'”
In addition to the whining of the Galaxy stars, the evening was made sweeter because the Galaxy was at full manpower, unlike the last time they played here May 2. The Sounders won 2-0, a result partially dismissed by the absence of designated players Beckham and Robbie Keane, goalie Josh Saunders and top defender Omar Gonzalez.
Sunday, all the boys were back in town. Then run out of it — to the delight of 60,908, the second-largest MLS crowd in the Clink’s history.
“High heat” are two words rarely connected in reference to Seattle or soccer, but they melted together Sunday in spectacular fashion.
A SoCal-style evening in the high 80s at game time flashed hotter in the opening minutes. The Sounders sent forward a flurry of chances, scoring in the sixth minute when Eddie Johnson put his speed and hops together on a flying header from seven yards, his 10th of a rapidly improving season, after a superb cross from Mauro Rosales.
The 1-0 lead held through halftime to the 52nd minute, when a diving tangle between Saunders and Alex Caskey popped the ball high and away from the goal. Fredy Montero ran it down and, with his back to the goal, swiveled a shot just inside the near post that slipped off Saunders’ gloves into the back of the net.
Nine minutes later, another goalie miscue presented a preposterous opportunity for Caskey. Saunders came out high to defend a shot, but the rebound skittered 30 yards away, from where Caskey blasted a shot into an empty net — his first MLS goal.
The rout was underway, finished off in th 88th minute with another first score for another Sounders’ kid, Andy Rose.
For the Sounders, it was a perfect night for, as Donovan said, a perfect storm.
NOTES — The Sounders are now 10-0-1 when scoring first . . . the team leaves Monday morning for Kansas City and the U.S. Open Cup championship game Wednesday against Sporting KC. The Sounders seek a record fourth Open Cup win a row. “That would be unbelievable for us — a huge thing,” Schmid said . . The big crowd was a severe uptick from the 7,000 who showed for Thursday’s first-round game in the annual CONCACAF tourney against a team from Trinidad. Part of the Sunday numbers were due to a four-game package the Sounders offered for full-stadium games that included the July 18 friendly with Chelsea as well as upcoming Cascadia Cup games against Portland and Vancouver. The first game against the Galaxy May 2 drew 39,002.