The lead-up to Landon Donovan’s final regular-season home game featured the lead singer of Five For Fighting providing the soundtrack to a video montage, Boyz II Men belting out the national anthem and a Donovan-specific tifo courtesy of the home fans.
The ceremonies didn’t seem to affect Donovan once the match started — he headed a shot off the crossbar just 10 minutes in — but Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was less than thrilled about the distraction that has come from his midfielder’s farewell tour.
“I think we need to start focusing on playing,” Arena said. “We are real pleased that the process is now complete.”
The Sounders are no strangers to emotional buildups themselves, having rung in their 40th anniversary prior to last weekend’s home match against Vancouver — one that also ended with a less-than-satisfactory result, a 1-0 defeat.
Come next Saturday, though, there will be no overshadowing the stakes on the field. One match to decide the Supporters’ Shield, and only a Galaxy win can prevent Seattle from lifting it for the first time in front of its home fans.
“It is incumbent upon me now to get back to the soccer part,” Donovan said. “I have made that clear to everyone that I am going to appreciate this and enjoy this, but that now it is time to get back to soccer. I am able to compartmentalize, so I am frustrated professionally tonight because of the result but I wouldn’t let that take away from all the amazing things that happened tonight.
“I will put them both in their respective places and move forward accordingly.”
By the numbers: 13-11. Seattle’s advantage in attempts on goal by an appropriately slim margin. The Galaxy outshot the Sounders 6-5 in the first half but Seattle owned an 7-5 edge after the break.
In their own words: “I thought that was tactically the best game we have had here against L.A. They have always had our number, especially here. We’ve had a couple of good results against them in Seattle but here they seem to always have our number” — Brad Evans, Sounders midfielder.
Up next: Sounders vs. L.A. Galaxy, Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at CenturyLink Field.