SEATTLE – Edson Buddle floated a long shot over Kasey Keller and into the top left corner midway through the 38th minute on Sunday, giving the Los Angeles Galaxy a 1-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday in the first game of Major League Soccer’s Western Conference semifinals.
Buddle got his third career playoff goal and his first with the Galaxy. His 17 regular-season goals were second in MLS this year.
Los Angeles, winner of the Supporters Shield for best record in the league, will host the second game in the two-game aggregate-goals series Sunday in Carson, Calif.
Defender Omar Gonzalez started the Galaxy’s scoring play with a short pass to Buddle, who launched a shot from 30 yards out that went just over Keller’s outstretched hands.
The Sounders, who made the playoffs last year as an expansion team but then went scoreless for all 210 minutes of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, were kept off the board again.
Seattle thought it had broken through just 32 seconds in to the game when Steve Zakuani, playing a yard outside the 6-yard box, put in the rebound of Osvaldo Alonso’s shot. But it was nullified by an offside call.
Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts did his part to preserve the Galaxy’s first-half lead, making saves on seven of Seattle’s 10 shots. Two of those were on last-moment dives to his left, denying Freddy Montero in the 23rd minute and Nathan Sturgis in the 42nd. Ricketts stopped Montero again at the start of the 24th minute, leaping to tip Montero’s diving header over the crossbar.
He then stopped a 1-on-1 try by Nate Jaqua in the 87th minute.
Ricketts finished with eight saves. Keller made four.