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July 31, 2016
Galaxy rally to 1-1 draw with Seattle

Jelle van Damme blocked two shots off the line to preserve the Galaxy's 1-1 draw with Seattle on Sunday.
Jelle van Damme blocked two shots off the line to preserve the Galaxy's 1-1 draw with Seattle on Sunday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
SEATTLE--The LA Galaxy escaped CenturyLink Field with a fortunate 1-1 draw against Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday afternoon.

Sebastian Lleget leveled the score in the 78th minute, on one of only three Galaxy shots on goal. Cristian Roldan opened the scoring for the Sounders, playing their first match under interim head coach Brian Schmetzer.

The Galaxy remain third in the Western Conference at 9-3-9 and 36 points. Ninth-place Seattle improve to 6-12-3 (21).

The teams sparred their way through a scoreless first half, with Seattle taking most of the initiative and creating by far the most dangerous chances. Jordan Morris helped orchestrate two sterling opportunities from the run of play. In the 28th minute, he battled his way into the right side of the box, cut toward the center, then backheeled a ball for Clint Dempsey, whose shot went straight to netminder Brian Rowe. seconds later, Joevin Jones unleashed a long low attempt that passed just outside the right post.

The play of the half on both sides came six minutes later. Seattle newcomer Nicolas Lodeiro cut a quick ball back from near the right endline for Morris, whose short-range shot was dodgily blocked off the shoulder of defender Daniel Steres. Dempsey's follow beat Rowe only to be saved off the line by Jelle van Damme.

The Galaxy's largely counterattack-based offense, missing injured starter and team third-leading scorer Gyasi Zardes, mainly resulted in long balls easily picked off by netminder Stefan Frei, but Robbie Keane did force the Sounders 'keeper to save a solid shot in the 32nd minute.

Seattle remained on the front foot after the intermission, and took a 1-0 lead on Roldan's goal in the 49th minute. Valdez did the heavy lifting, outbattling defender Jeff Larentowicz deep in the box before poking the ball back up top for the onrushing midfielder, who finished with an in-stride 17-yard shot to the lower left side of the goal.

Two minutes later, Lodeiro led a Sounders break down the center of the field before dishing off to Jones, whose shot from the left side of the penalty area went into the outside netting. And in the 55th minute, Steres had to scramble to chase down Morris after he outran AJ de la Garza for a leading pass from Valdez. To the relief of the Galaxy backline, that was Valdez's last contribution to the proceedings. he already had signaled to be subbed out, and was replaced by Herculez Gomez in the 56th.

Lodeiro brought the raucous home crowd to their feet in the 65th minute with a wide-open shot from the left side that appeared to go into the net, but had actually passed behind the net and bounced off the boards.

The Galaxy showed a rare sign of life in the 68th minute, when Ashley Cole earned a corner kick, but could do no better than a long -- and well off-target -- shot from Cole for their trouble. The ball soon went back to the other end, however, and only another heroic play by Van Damme kept the Galaxy within striking distance. In the 70th minute, Lodeiro lofted a ball over the Galaxy defense for Morris, who dribbled around Rowe and teed up from point-blank range, only to have his shot blocked out of bounds by the Belgian defender.

Robbie Keane, who like the rest of the Galaxy attack had been largely silent after the intermission, created a rare scoring chance in the 73rd, drawing a foul by defender Brad Evans 22 yards from goal. Steven Gerrard successfully bent his free kick around the wall, but the ball bounced wide of the right post.

Mike Magee, who entered the match for Larentowicz in the 71st minute, added some spark to the Galaxy offense down the stretch with sharp balls into the box, but it was Gerrard who orchestrated the equalizer. His 22-yard chip into the six-yard box was deflected by Evans and misjudged by Frei, leaving Lleget with an easy finish.

The Sounders had a golden chance to snatch the win in the 85th minute, when Gomez drilled a pass through a hesitant Galaxy backline for Lodeiro, whose hard shot went into the left outside netting. Seconds later, Lodiero almost caught Rowe off balance with a 19-yard shot that deflected off a defender and forced the Galaxy netminder into a challenging off-balance save.

Both teams made the most of the two minutes of stoppage time, but were unable to move the needle. Keane blooped a volley over Frei in the first added minute, but the slow-moving shot was picked off in front of the goal by defender Chad Marshall. And as play drew to a close, Tyrone Mears found Morris inside the six-yard box, but the rookie shanked the ball over the bar.

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