LA Galaxy opened the 2011 MLS season with a narrow win over Seattle Sounders last night.
On-loan Brazilian Juninho hit a gorgeous strike from outside the box, to seal the game in the 58th minute.
A record attendance of 36,433 managed to sustain a scintillating atmosphere in the Qwest Park even after the Sounders had conceded. But it wasn't enough to spur their team on, and despite some added pressure in the final few minutees, Galaxy hung on to clinch the three points.
Both teams had a number of chances, with a lot of the shots on goal coming from optimistic midfield drives. Landon Donovan had the chance to double LA's lead on 65 minutes when he smashed against the woodwork.
But it was Juninho who stole the show with his goal that silenced the Sounders fans. His shot had just enough swerve to deceive Kasey Keller. The former Spurs and Fulham keeper managed to get across to make a touch, but wasn't strong enough to deny Juninho.
Without taking anything away from the strike, it's goalkeeping like this that condemned Keller to a back-up-only during his time in the Prem. He'd done the hard part by getting across, and a strong palm would have prevented the strike. Maybe a couple of hours down the gym and a few spinach butties would sort out old Kasey's case of chronic flaily arms.
I watched the game on ESPN, and although the commentary was very good, I couldn't help but laugh at some of the build-up! Sky Sports have recently started showing the players approach the camera during the line-ups just before kick-off, and that often gets a few laughs in the pub. But that's nothing compared to this, which is more reminiscent of the 90s Saturday night TV classic, Gladiators.
Shortly after the game, part-time Evertonian Landon Donovan had a bit of verbals with a fan over Twitter. After a Sounders supporter boasted about her team's support not being hinged upon signing David Beckham, the LA skipper stung back with the playground-esque Tweet: "at least we win games". What next? 'At least my dad's harder than your dad!'?
For highlights and comedy line-ups, give this a gander: