Edson Buddle

Buddle Buries Seattle

SEATTLE— Edson Buddle scored on a stunning volley in the 38th minute and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and the Galaxy defense did the rest on Sunday, earning the Galaxy a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders in their Western Conference semifinal series at Qwest Field.

The goal was the third in Buddle’s postseason career but first in the playoffs with the Galaxy, who now take a valuable lead in the aggregate-goal series back home to The Home Depot Center for the final leg next Sunday (9 pm ET, ESPN).

The Galaxy won for the third time this year against the Sounders after decisive 4-0 and 3-1 victories during the regular season. They also upped the record for road teams in this postseason to 2-2 after the New York Red Bulls topped the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.

Seattle, meanwhile, are still winless all-time in the postseason (0-2-1) dating back to last year’s inaugural season.

Buddle broke open a scoreless tie and hushed a boisterous Qwest Field crowd of 35,521 fans on a seemingly harmless ball out of the back from defender Omar Gonzalez. Buddle gathered the pass in front of Seattle’s Patrick Ianni, turned to his right and looped a right-footed volley from roughly 35 yards out that beat Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller to the far post.

Buddle had not scored in the postseason since he scored for Columbus in 2004. He also added one during the 2002 playoffs during his days with the Crew. Buddle scored seven game-winning goals for the Galaxy during the regular season before scoring the winner on Sunday night.

Ricketts made six saves to pick up the shutout. None were bigger than a point-blank save on a header from Seattle striker Fredy Montero in the 23rd minute off a Nathan Sturgis corner kick, perhaps the Sounders’ best scoring chance of the night.

Seattle appeared to take the early lead just 30 seconds into the match, but Steve Zakuani’s goal off of an Osvaldo Alonso rebound was ruled offside. Zakuani also rattled a shot off the post in the 64th minute, but was ruled offside during that attempt during what was a somewhat frustrating night for Seattle’s second-year star.

The Galaxy nearly scored in the 8th minute off the foot of David Beckham, who logged all 90 minutes as he continues to regain his fitness since returning to the Galaxy fold on Sept. 11. Beckham curled a free kick into the goal mouth from a difficult angle near the end line, but Keller was up to the task and tipped the shot over the bar for the better of his two saves on the night.

Keller also tipped a tricky shot over the bar off the foot of Landon Donovan in the 30th minute.

Seattle struggled in the second half to find the equalizer to Buddle’s magic, and nearly gave up a costly second goal when Galaxy midfielder Juninho trickled a shot wide in the 85th minute.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena’s starting XI contained a few surprises, with Eddie Lewis starting making his first start since the season opener for injured left back Todd Dunivant (right hamstring strain). Seattle, meanwhile, fielded the same lineup they’ve used for the past three months.


LA -- Edson Buddle 1 (Omar Gonzalez 1) 38

Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Lewis (Gregg Berhalter 84), David Beckham, Juninho, Dema Kovalenko (Chris Birchall 70), Landon Donovan, Mike Magee, Edson Buddle (Jovan Kirovski 73).

Substitutes Not Used: Tristan Bowen, Alex Cazumba, Chris Klein, Josh Saunders.

Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke (Tyrone Marshall 65), Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi (Alvaro Fernandez 74), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis (Nate Jaqua 81), Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo.

Substitutes Not Used: Michael Fucito, Roger Levesque, Zach Scott, Terry Boss.


LA -- Juninho (caution; Reckless Foul) 48

SEA -- Fredy Montero (caution; Reckless Foul) 49

LA -- Dema Kovalenko (caution; Persistent Infringement) 65

LA -- Jovan Kirovski (caution; Reckless Tackle) 82

SEA -- Blaise Nkufo (caution; Goalkeeper Interference) 93+

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

Referee's Assistants: Thomas Supple; Peter Manikowski

4th Official: Alex Prus

Attendance: 35,521