Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Marcelo Sarvas' second-half strike proved to be the difference on Sunday as the Los Angeles Galaxy claimed a 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at the StubHub Center in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship tie.
The Galaxy entered the contest rested and riding a nice wave of confidence after dispatching Real Salt Lake, 5-0, on aggregate in the West semifinals, while Seattle reached its second Conference final after knocking off FC Dallas via the away goals rule.
It was a tense affair from the opening whistle, but both clubs created numerous scoring chances in the first half, forcing both goalkeepers to make several upstanding saves.
The sides went into the break scoreless, but Los Angeles had the jump in the second half and grabbed the game's only goal in the 52nd minute.
Sarvas did well to corral a pass from defender A.J. DeLaGarza at the top of the penalty area and have a strike on target. The ball took a deflection off Seattle's Chad Marshall and wound up past Stefan Frei in the back of the net to give the hosts the lead.
The Galaxy continued to surge forward looking for a second goal and had another great chance in the 65th minute when Stefan Ishizaki lined up a free kick from 20 yards out and blasted it off the crossbar.
Seattle was ultimately unable to create an equalizing tally, but the Rave Green will have the opportunity to turn things around in the second leg of the tie at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 30.