CARSON, Calif. --
Giovani dos Santos took his first steps as a LA Galaxy player on Thursday, but he knew this marquee match against Seattle Sounders represented his first opportunity to show his powers on a grand stage. He did not disappoint as he scored one goal and set up another on his MLS debut as the Galaxy secured a 3-1 victory at StubHub Center on Sunday afternoon.
Seattle forward Chad Barrett gave the Sounders a shock lead inside the opening minute, but Gyasi Zardes restored parity from a Juninho diagonal after 13 minutes. Giovani prompted Robbie Keane's eventual winner with a cushioned back pass two minutes after halftime and then struck his first MLS goal just after the hour to provide the margin of victory.
More from FoxSports
The final score proved a reasonable reflection of the proceedings on the day and the potency of this Galaxy side even when at something less than full flight. Seattle clogged the midfield and toiled away earnestly, but the Sounders lacked the precision usually supplied by the injured Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins and succumbed to the pressure after the break.
"I feel very happy," dos Santos said. "I think it was a difficult game. "We conceded a very early goal in the first half, but I think the team did a great job. I'm happy for my goal and the victory for the team."
It proved yet another sign of intent from a remodeled Galaxy side still trying to figure out how to put all of its pieces together. On this evidence, the component parts -- including a strong supporting cast including Sebastian Lletget, Juninho and Zardes -- may yet prove enough to overpower teams even as the Galaxy figure out how to wield Giovani, Keane and Steven Gerrard in the same starting XI.
Seattle procured a foothold within the opening minute to spur the quest for a result onwards. Friberg picked his head up at the right time and served an enticing ball behind the line. Barrett darted between A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez and turned home at the first attempt to snatch his fourth goal of the season. He celebrated earnestly enough to pick up a right hamstring injury in the aftermath and trudge off the field in frustration.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid highlighted the visitors' dearth of forward alternatives by opting for midfielder Cristian Roldan as Barrett's replacement and sliding Lamar Neagle inside to compensate in his selected 4-2-3-1 setup. The alterations reinforced Seattle's desire to frustrate in midfield, but the Galaxy soon drew level from the remnants of the set piece.
The hard work fell to the ascendant Lletget as he earned a corner from very little in the left hand corner and dug out the remnants from Giovani's resulting set piece. Lletget shepherded the ball back out to Juninho in space on the right. Juninho hit a diagonal toward the back post for Zardes to tuck inside the far post from a sharp angle to restore parity.
Zardes' intervention appeared to set the Galaxy on course, but the home side labored for much of the first half against an organized and spirited Sounders outfit. The numerical advantage in midfield limited Gerrard's influence and prompted Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo to bypass the ball with balls over the top. The attack often stagnated as a result with the intricate work required to break Seattle down lacking that necessary bit of sharpness.
Most of the threat came down the other end as the Galaxy buckled under dead ball scrutiny. Chad Marshall saw his goalward header charged down by Zardes, while Zach Scott nodded into the net only to see the assistant referee flag for offside. Those forays punctuated Seattle's competent and well-drilled first-half performance, but Keane's effort over the bar on the stroke of halftime provided more of a sign for the second half to follow.
Keane eradicated those first-half frustrations by slotting home two minutes after the break. DeLaGarza advanced up the right and slung a low cross through the goal area. Seattle failed to clear the initial service. The ball wriggled free for Giovani to extricate from the mess at the back post and shuffle the ball back toward Keane inside the penalty spot. Keane picked his stop and thumped home to give the Galaxy a lead it would not relinquish.
The second goal stretched this entertaining affair out even further. The extra space pulled apart the Seattle shape and urged the Galaxy to make good use of the corresponding room afforded. Giovani blasted over the bar as the home side as the Galaxy searched for a third, though Sounders substitute O'Neil Fisher squandered an enticing opportunity after intercepting a horrid Gonzalez back pass.
Giovani essentially settled matters with his second Galaxy goal in four days after 64 minutes. Keane played the part of creator with a sumptuous, outside-of-the-foot pass into Giovani's run off the shoulder of the defense. Giovani collected behind the line and slotted home from close range to open his MLS account and send the Galaxy on the way to the points.
The back-and-forth continued after Giovani's third with both teams willing to commit numbers forward. Gordon -- inserted in place of Giovani with 20 minutes or so to play -- hit the post when he should have scored, while Robbie Rogers cleared Andy Rose's effort off the line moments later after Donovan Ricketts somehow allowed his shot through.
Those exchanges provided a fitting end to an open and entertaining affair. Seattle played a proper part despite the absences of Dempsey and Martins, but the Galaxy sauntered away with the points nevertheless. There is more to come from a side still finding its cohesion and its shape with all of these new parts, but this performance proved good enough on the day to vanquish the Sounders once more.