Plenty was said about the cards dished out in the match between the LA Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders, but in the end it was a better performance that gave Seattle its first win on grass.
"The thing about winning away and on grass was more in the press," said goalscorer Steve Zakuani to Goal.com. "For us it was just good to win, win in general."
Veteran Pete Vagenas agreed with the rookie.
"Before this season I'd never won on turf," he told Goal.com. "It means nothing."
What did matter was a game-changing five minutes early in the first half. In the 17th minute David Beckham was sent off for for a studs-up challenge on Pete Vagenas. It took the Sounders five minutes to capitalize on its man advantage and score the opener.
"I don't know when that first red card was but it was pretty early on and they scored quickly after that," Galaxy defender Todd Dunivent explained. "The whole tone of the match changed."
The scorer of that initial goal was Zakuani. The attacker talked through his game-winning strike.
"Brad Evans made a good run on the right and then I saw him look up," Zakuani said. "Fredy Montero pulled out, so I knew that if I ran to the back post he could find me. He put a good ball across and it was just about getting good contact."
Later, in the second half, Fredy Montero also made good contact on a loose ball after a corner to double the advantage. Two goals to the good, Seattle briefly went down to an equal amount of players. Tyrone Marshall stood in the way of Landon Donovan as the Galaxy attacker tried to squirm past him, resulting in the Jamaican's second yellow of the night.
"Landon was coming down, and I knew he was going to try to touch the ball around me, so I stepped out to the ball," Marshall said to Goal.com. "He just kind of jumped into me, trying to create the foul, like basketball."
Marshall sees favoritism being shown toward the attackers or stars in the league in calls such as those.
"With Landon, you know he's going to get those calls every game," Marshall said. "They want to try to protect those types of players. What happens to the defenders, the guys who are trying to bust their ass every day?"
For Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena, there wasn't enough butt busting from his players on the night. He criticized a limp performance that put a halt to his team's six game streak without a loss.
"Not a good performance by our team tonight," he said in the press conference. "The initial red card put us behind the eight-ball. Not a good night tonight, didn't deserve any more than what we got."
Beckham rued the end to LA's good form, but held his hands up at the result of the game.
"It's a tough night for us because we went into it in such a good position and such good form, but you can't win every game," Beckham said. "The guys battled. It's always hard when you go down to 10 men."
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com
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