Johnson’s 1st goal for Seattle seals 2-1 victory
BRIDGEVIEW, ILL. – Eddie Johnson’s first goal for the Seattle Sounders turned out to be a winner.
What had once seemed an insurance goal became crucial when the Chicago Fire scored late and continued to swarm until finally falling to Seattle, 2-1, before a crowd of 14,166 at wind-swept Toyota Park.
“It’s very important to get the three points,” captain Mauro Rosales told the KONG broadcast team. “We came here for that. It was a tough game. It was very tough to play with the wind
but we did the stuff that we had to do.”
It was the 100th MLS regular-season game in Sounders FC history, and the club moved its all-time record to 48-25-27.
The Sounders moved to 4-1-1 on the season – the best start in their four MLS seasons. They also ran their record to 4-0-3 against the Fire.
For a time, it seemed this win might come easily.
Seattle jumped ahead in the 38th minute when Osvaldo Alonso launched a pass from midfield. Johnson received it down the left side of the penalty area, and carried it to the touch line, where he played it back to David Estrada. Estrada made a move to his left, and then knocked into the net what appeared to be his fifth goal of the season.
It was later ruled an own goal deflected in off Arne Friedrich.
Still, Seattle’s 1-0 lead seemed like it might have been enough for a defense that came into the game with a 248-minute scoreless streak.
However, Chicago was dangerous most of the night, with forward Dominic Oduro leading the Fire counterattack – including one apparent goal waved off for offside.
What seemed to be breathing room came in the 67th minute. The play began with Fredy Montero smacking a 33-yard free kick that Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopped but couldn’t control.
Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado got a piece of the ball in the resulting scramble in front of the goal before Johnson swooped in and sent in his first goal.
“I guess for a striker it’s good for confidence,” Johnson said. “The team sacrificed a lot bringing me here. It’s my second game and it’s important to get off to a good start. Without the effort from my teammates and the guys around me tonight, I don’t think that goal would have been possible for me. It wasn’t the best performance from us, but sometimes you have to win ugly. We’ll take the three points.”
However, that apparently safe two-goal lead was sliced in half in the 89th minute, when Marco Pappa sent a wind-aided corner kick in over goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
“It was really unbelievable,” Gspurning said. “We played the second half against the wind so I would say 70 percent it was a good corner kick, and 30 percent was the 50 mph wind picking it up so I had to step up, and by that time it had hit the post and gone in. I’m always a positive guy but I know it will be on all the season highlights now with this goal.”
The goal ended the Sounders’ shutout streak at 336 minutes. The Fire remained dangerous through the final minute of regulation and about six minutes of stoppage time before the whistle finally ended it.
“It was supposed to be four,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Then (the referee) added another two, then two turned into three, so it ended up being like seven.”
The Sounders meet the Los Angeles Galaxy at home Wednesday.
Staff writer Don Ruiz contributed to this report.