The main scoreboard faded to black in the second minute, the press-box lights flickered and large sections of the CenturyLink Field floodlights shut off, but the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy battled on in the fading twilight.
Given what followed, the home supporters likely wished they hadn’t.
Los Angeles scored three goals in the opening 36 minutes en route to a 3-0 victory Monday night, vaulting itself currently into one of the Western Conference playoff spots. The defeat halted Seattle’s six-game home win streak and delayed coach Sigi Schmid’s bid for MLS victory No. 200 for at least another few days.
“This week, it was very straight forward,” Galaxy forward Landon Donovan said. “You want to look at our lineup and theirs and say who won each matchup. I think tonight, there are at least nine or 10 check marks in our column, maybe 11.”
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There certainly was one in Donovan’s column, given his influence in his team’s opening two goals.
He timed an incisive run through the center of the Seattle defense eight minutes in, paused for a moment with the ball at his feet and dropped a pass for the charging Gyasi Zardes to fire past Seattle keeper Stefan Frei.
Creator turned beneficiary 10 minutes later as Donovan scored after pouncing on Marcelo Sarvas’ deflected drive with the Sounders defense on its heels.
Chad Marshall — after being in a car accident Saturday and suffering from back spasms, according to a team official – was a late scratch and that forced a reshuffling of Seattle’s back line. Jalil Anibaba moved into the middle and Dylan Remick, still shaking off the rust of a month lost to an injury, came in at left back. The makeshift unit looked unsettled from the start.
“Landon found space on DeAndre (Yedlin) on that side, but it wasn’t just him,” Schmid said. “… (Robbie) Keane found space, Sarvas had space, Juninho had space.
“We weren’t tight enough. When all those players have that much space, they’re going to show you how good they are.”
Two goals became three nine minutes before halftime as Stefan Ishizaki finished off a feed from Sarvas and — who else — Donovan.
Los Angeles fired off 11 shots to Seattle’s three in the opening half and had 10 crosses to zero.
Any comeback attempt by Seattle never gathered any real momentum despite some chances in the second half.
A botched clearance from Omar Gonzalez nearly led to a goal for Obafemi Martins early in the second half. Later, Clint Dempsey forced Galaxy keeper Jaime Penedo into a sprawling save.
“We’ve been here before,” Sounders defender Zach Scott said. “We’ve gotten slaughtered in New England (5-0 in May) and come back and put a pretty good streak together. Like (Schmid) said, ‘We’ve got to look at our body of work.’ ”
The Sounders still are six points clear of Real Salt Lake at the top of the conference with a game in hand, eight points above the Galaxy.
But the only number that mattered Monday was shining for all to see up on the scoreboard, having just kicked back on midway through the first half to display it.