Major League Soccer

LA Galaxy Opens MLS Season With A Win

Juninho’s goal in the 58th minute stood to give the LA Galaxy a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders in the first match of the 2011 MLS season.

Despite a 6-2 disadvantage in shots on goal, Juninho made the Galaxy’s biggest chance count in front of a crowd of 36,433 at Seattle’s Qwest Field, the largest ever for a Sounders game at home.

Seattle held the better of possession for most of the first half, but did not have anything to show for it. Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders recorded five first half saves for LA, while the Galaxy didn’t record a shot on goal.

That changed quickly, as Kasey Keller was tested within the first minute of the second half.

The Galaxy took the lead through Juninho in the 58th minute, with Todd Dunivant earning the assist. It was the second goal from distance scored by Juninho against Seattle – his “no regard for humanity” goal similarly victimized Keller in 2010. Keller got a glove on this shot, but it was not enough to prevent the goal.

Seattle attempted to answer, with Osvaldo Alonso shooting a rocket just over the crossbar minutes later. Landon Donovan nearly made it 2-0 for Los Angeles shortly after, hitting the corner of the goalpost in the 65th minute.

O’Brian White had Seattle’s best chance of the second half. Nkufo’s replacement in the starting lineup redirected Zakuani’s cross just wide in the 72nd minute. Substitute Roger Levesque nearly tied it soon after, just failing to get a foot on Montero’s far-post cross.

Saunders made one last save to preserve the victory, diving near post to save an errant header from his own defender and assure LA the victory.

Both teams face a quick turnaround before their next league matches. The Sounders fly out Thursday for a Saturday match against the New York Red Bulls, while the Galaxy return home for a match against the New England Revolution on Sunday evening.