Juan Pablo Angel wins the high ball over Seattle's Tyson Wahl during… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)
Eighteen minutes into his Major League Soccer debut, Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk faced a decision: Left or right?
Perk chose right, literally and figuratively, and blocked Seattle Sounders forward Fredy Montero's penalty kick to preserve a scoreless draw.
"Just looking at him, I thought he was a crafty player," Perk said. "Thought he'd show me one way and then go the other. That's what he did. Lucky I guessed the right way."
The penalty kick came after Montero took a shot that appeared to be destined for the back of the net until the elbow of Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez deflected the ball directly to Perk. The accidental handball resulted in Montero's penalty kick.
"Give Perk a lot of credit in his first game," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said. "I don't think he was tested a whole lot, but certainly a penalty kick is as much of a test as you're ever going to face."
Perk's debut included one other save as he held the backline steady so the Galaxy (9-2-9) could survive without its top two goalies. By the end of Monday's match, the Galaxy had also lost two of its defenders because of injury, but Seattle (8-4-8) failed to capitalize against the depleted defense.
Montero caught Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza with a kick to the face in the 13th minute, and DeLaGarza left the game 10 minutes later. His linemate Gonzalez suffered a left hip pointer that forced him out of the game in the 80th minute. Arena described both defenders as "fine" after the game.
"When Omar went down I was thinking maybe we should take a draw," Perk said. "Zero-zero without our two center backs is OK."
The Galaxy also played without forward David Beckham for most of the match. Beckham sat out the team's last two games battling a back injury, and Arena waited until the 68th minute to release Beckham from the bench, delighting the sellout crowd of 27,000 fans at the Home Depot Center.
"Beckham we knew could play about 20 to 25 minutes tonight," Arena said. "I thought David did well having been out a couple of weeks, so that was OK."
Beckham's entrance came moments after the Galaxy's best threat of the night and the only time Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller was tested. Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan crossed the ball to forward Juan Pablo Angel. After dancing around one defender, Angel took a shot across the goal. Keller used every inch of his 6-foot-2 frame to deflect the shot off the far post.