Galaxy 2, Sounders 1

David Beckham set up goals by Edson Buddle with a corner kick

and Omar Gonzalez with a free kick in an 8-minute span of the first

half to lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 2-1 victory over Seattle

Sounders FC in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference semifinal

Sunday night.

Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made three saves for the Galaxy, who

will play host to FC Dallas after winning the two-game series

against Seattle 3-1.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena called Beckham’s set pieces

”terrific,” he said, especially after the midfielder played the

first game on a wet artificial surface in Seattle.

”That was the difference in the game,” Arena said of Beckham’s

set pieces. ”He had a tough week recovering from the field in

Seattle but he started coming around Friday.”

Steve Zakuani scored for Seattle Sounders FC to break a playoff

goalless streak of 386 minutes over two years.

”We still have to grow up a little bit,” Sounders FC coach

Sigi Schmid said. ”For a couple of guys on our team, the game was

too big for them. It was too big an occasion for them. They just

turned over the ball in bad positions, bad spots.

”We can’t give up goals on set pieces like that and we can’t

start to play 20 minutes into the game.”

Buddle scored his second goal of the playoffs in the 19th

minute. He escaped defender Tyrone Marshall’s grasp to head

Beckham’s corner kick inside the left post from eight yards.

Gonzalez made it 2-0 in the 27th minute. After Beckham took a

32-yard free kick, Gonzalez dived to head the ball inside the left

post from seven yards.

”It’s important for me to have players to put the ball on the

top of their heads or at their feet,” Beckham said. ”I know that

if I’ve got the ball in the right area, we have brave-enough

players and good-enough players to score.”

Beckham added that he is not completely in shape after missing

six months due to a torn Achilles tendon. He suffered the injury in

March while playing on loan with AC Milan.

”Obviously, it’s kind of my pre-season,” Beckham said. ”I’m

still trying to get fit. I’m still getting the aches and the pains

of pre-season. If I look after my body (the way I have) since I’ve

been back, hopefully, I’ll continue to progress.”

Zakuani ended the scoring with a 7-yard shot in the 86th

minute.

Ricketts kept Sounders FC from scoring in the 32nd minute by

deflecting Osvaldo Alonzo’s 29-yard line drive with both palms past

Seattle’s Zakuani and Blaise Nkufo.

Then in the 67th minute, a sliding Ricketts used his chest to

block Zakuani’s point-blank shot at the edge of the 6-yard

goalkeeper’s crease.