Los Angeles didn’t just beat Seattle over two legs. The Galaxy made playoff hash of Seattle. It was men against boys. Or, as I said in another piece, one team was playing checkers out there, the other was playing chess.
Los Angeles was more committed, far more purposeful. They got more players around the ball. They figured things out. Seattle just didn’t.
I saw one little sequence just before halftime that said it all. Seattle’s Sanna Nyassi finally (finally!) got a little room, removing the handcuffs Eddie Lewis had so skillfully applied. But Nyassi wasn’t up for it. He just was not quick enough of action or thought to take advantage. Rather, Landon Donovan, doing what he did so reliably over 180 dogged, determined minutes, hustled back to cover for Lewis and snuffed the crossing attempt. On the ensuing throw-in, A.J. DeLaGarza was allowed to head the ball away completely unchallenged. Sounders striker Blaise Nkufo was nearby but didn’t bother to go make things hard on DeLaGarza.
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid summed it up later: “The game was too big an occasion for a couple of guys on our team.” Exactly.
On that point, he was spot-on. But Schmid didn’t make himself look good with some other comments. He was upset about that clever old David Beckham.
Schmid felt that Beckham took a corner kick on the wrong side at one point. It turned into Edson Buddle’s goal, so it certainly was a meaningful moment.
What Schmid said: “Beckham's very clever. He's actually too clever for the referees, as well. … [When] they scored the first goal on the first corner, the ball goes out on the [left] side of the field. The corner's supposed to be taken on that side of the field, and Toledo, the referee, has got to make sure it happens there. … Beckham just picks up the ball and carries it to the [right] side of the field. He's too clever for our own referees; our referees need to be more clever, because the players are more clever than they are.”
He owes referee Baldomero Toledo an apology. And maybe a beer.
Becasue here’s all you need to know: Toledo immediately pointed to the right. Beckham was just following the referee’s instruction on a ball that, as replays showed, went out directly over goal, right in the middle.
So, two complaints here: Schmid should have known where Toledo pointed. And so should have the ESPN crew. They did show the ball going out in the middle of the goal. But I backed up the broadcast enough to clearly see Toledo point to the right. Why couldn’t ESPN do the same? At that point, it’s case closed.
Here’s what Beckham said:
“The ref pointed over to the side where I went,” he said. “To be honest, I wanted to take it over the other side, because I'd taken [three already from the right] side, and we hadn't scored. So I was more than happy to take it to the other side, but the referee told me to go there.”