The luster is almost gone. The Los Angeles Galaxy are a shell of the club that once dominated Major League Soccer, winning five championships, the last in 2014.
That didn’t stop the Sounders FC from having fun shredding the Galaxy’s defense Sunday.
Midfielder Cristian Roldan led with a brace in the 3-1 win at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Roldan, whose hometown Pico Rivera is an hour north of the facility, has scored six career goals against the Galaxy — his most against any MLS team.
“I would come to this stadium as a kid to watch the Galaxy and was inspired to want to play in that stadium,” Roldan said during a video conference call with media. “But these were my first two goals here in L.A., the other ones were in Seattle. Hopefully I can continue on this track. But it’s nothing in particular, honestly, just being at the right spot at the right moment.”
Forward Jordan Morris utilized his quick pace to get the Rave Green charged early.
Nouhou sent a ball into open space to set up a Morris race down the left flank. After breezing past his defenders, Morris sent a cross to Roldan at the mouth of the net. Galaxy keeper David Bingham tried to stop the pass, leaving Roldan open for a simple right-footed tap of the ball to score in the 12th minute.
Morris had one of his signature scores in the 38th minute. Midfielder Nico Lodeiro sent in a long service that dropped just ahead of Morris and Galaxy defender Rolf Feltscher. Morris had the edge, outwitting Bingham for the goal.
Roldan had a faceoff against Bingham in the 61st minute. Roldan chip shot the Joao Paulo assist over Bingham’s head for a crafty finish and 3-0 lead.
“I didn’t see Bingham (initially), and it was more of a reaction to seeing Bingham coming out and me wanting to chip it,” Roldan said. “Luckily it went in.”
The Sounders (7-3-3) shifted to a defensive focus in attempt to protect the clean sheet. But Sebastian Lletget eked one past the Sounders in the 88th minute.
“It was a well-taken goal,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said during a video conference call with media. “You give up a soft goal, then I might get a little bit upset. I thought that was a well-taken goal.”
Schmetzer substituted left back Brad Smith and right back Alex Roldan in for defender Kelvin Leerdam and forward Will Bruin in the 69th minute. Smith, who was signed as a free agent earlier this month, played his first Sounders match since helping the club win MLS Cup in November 2019.
The Sounders haven’t won against the Galaxy in L.A. since 2017 but have only lost to the Galaxy once in their past 10 regular-season meetings. The Galaxy (4-6-3) are 11th in standings in the 12-team Western Conference.
The Sounders played without forward Raul Ruidiaz. The club’s leading goal scorer served a one-game suspension and was fined for violent conduct during the Sounders’ loss against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday.
Ruidiaz’s absence moved Bruin into the starting lineup up top.
“Will did such a great job helping us get out of pressure,” said Morris during a video conference call with media. “We would play (the ball) to him and he would battle two guys, hold them off and those third-man runs came from him.”
Midfielder Gustav Svensson and center back Xavier Arreaga also started. Svensson, who recently completed a 10-day quarantine after traveling to Sweden to play with his national team, replaced Joevin Jones (sprained ankle). Arreaga wasn’t selected to play against Portland.
Bruin hasn’t started a match since June 2019 due to a season-ending knee injury.
Ruidiaz should be available for selection when the Sounders host the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.