CARSON, Calif. — So it wasn’t quite the star-studded affair it was billed to be.
Saturday’s clash between Sounders FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy was disappointingly played without Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, as the U.S. internationals were out with injuries, but the Western Conference showdown still didn’t lack for talent or quality goals.
The game did lack a dramatic winner, however, as the teams split a pair of first-half goals and settled for a 1-1 tie in front of 27,000 at a soldout StubHub Center.
Seattle’s five-game winning streak was snapped, but the visitors maintained the best record in MLS at 15-8-5 despite having to play the final minutes a man down due to Zach Scott getting ejected after earning his second yellow card.
The Galaxy (13-10-6) still hasn’t lost at home to the Sounders since 2009.
Dempsey didn’t travel for the game due to a hamstring strain suffered late during training late in the week. Donovan was out with a sprained ankle after failing a pregame fitness test.
Both teams had chances for a late goal in a back-and-forth, physical battle — most of which came from the hosts.
The Galaxy appeared to have scored off a free kick in the 60th minute, but a dubious foul call by referee Silviu Petrescu negated the goal. L.A. also couldn’t convert in the 77th minute on a chance by Marcelo Sarvas or in the 83rd minute through Gyasi Zardes — neither shot even forcing a save from Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
Seattle had to hold on desperately up to the final second as the Galaxy missed on a dangerous free kick in the first minute of stoppage time and earned a corner kick in the closing seconds that was cleared away.
The Sounders’ best chance for a late goal came in the 83rd minute, but Lamar Neagle narrowly missed wide on a header set up nicely by substitute Brad Evans.
Seattle is 0-5-2 on the road against the Galaxy since 2010, having been outscored 14-3.
That history didn’t appear to matter in the 25th minute, when the Sounders opened the scoring. Eddie Johnson was left wide open on a Mauro Rosales corner kick that Johnson powerfully finished with a header.
The goal, which tied Johnson for the team lead with eight this year, ended Seattle’s road shutout streak against the Galaxy at 388 minutes dating to Nov. 7, 2010.
The assist was Rosales’ 34th with the Sounders, tying Fredy Montero’s franchise record. He has connected with Johnson for 10 of those.
The visitors had a couple chances to extend the lead, first by Johnson on an open chance from the top of the box in the 39th minute that required a diving save from goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Forward partner Obafemi Martins fired wide on a clear chance a minute later.
The Galaxy would make Seattle pay in stoppage time just before halftime, as Juninho curled a picture-perfect free kick into the bottom corner of the net from 25 yards out, the first goal Gspurning had allowed in 209 minutes.
L.A. had perhaps the best chance early in the half when Zardes ripped a right-footed shot that Gspurning was just able to tip away in the 19th minute.
The Sounders improved their unbeaten run to 38-0-9 when scoring first, the longest active streak in the league