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MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders 3-2 LA Galaxy

Nelson Valdez, Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey

Seattle Sounders’ Nelson Valdez, left, celebrates with teammates Obafemi Martins, center, and Clint Dempsey, right, after Valdez scored a goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first half of an MLS soccer western conference knockout round playoff match, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


The game in 100 words (or less): Down go the champs! Down go the champs! The LA Galaxy, winners of last year’s MLS Cup and three of the last four, are one and done in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs following a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Sounders Thursday night at CenturyLink Field. A thrilling, head-spinning opening period saw the sides trade goals to the tune of 2-2 after 22 minutes — Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez for the Sounders; Sebastian Lletget and Gyasi Zardes for the Galaxy — before Erik Friberg scored the stunning winner on 73 minutes. If Sporting Kansas City defeat the Portland Timbers Thursday night, the Sounders will face the Western Conference’s no. 2-seed (and Cascadia rivals) Vancouver Whitecaps in the conference semifinals, which kick off on Sunday; if the Timbers defeat Sporting KC, the Sounders will face the no. 1-seed FC Dallas.

[ MORE: MLS playoff predictions | Preseason predictions revisited ]

Three moments that mattered

5' — Dempsey pounces on Ricketts’ spill, makes it 1-0 — What in the world is Omar Gonzalez doing? What in the world is Donovan Ricketts doing? I’ll tell you: not communicating with one another, because if they were, Gonzalez wouldn’t be tracking that ball and ducking out at the last second, and Ricketts would have been ready to catch that lazy ball over the top.

6' — Lletget curls it around Frei a minute later — It didn’t take long for the Galaxy to respond — 100 seconds, to be exact. Giovani do Santos played the ball into the box, Zardes applied the deft touch into space and Lletget curled it around Stefan Frei with the next touch.

73' — Friberg’s long-range golazo breaks the deadlock — There were a number of mistakes on this — AJ DeLaGarza for the original failed clearance; Ricketts for falling on the ground with no real reason; Steven Gerrard, the next Galaxy midfielder, who failed to track back and win the second ball — but credit goes to Friberg for a wonderful strike.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Andrea Ivanschitz

Goalscorers: Dempsey (5'), Lletget (6'), Valdez (12'), Zardes (22'), Friberg (73')

Follow @AndyEdMLS