The game has gone final, Seattle beating Chivas USA, 2-1, with Jesus Padilla getting the Goats goal in the second minute of stoppage time.
It's the Sounders' fifth straight league win and gives them a 14-9-6 record heading into the regular-season ender next Saturday at Houston. Chivas falls to 8-16-4.
“We wanted to keep our rhythm going even though we’ve clinched a playoff spot,” defender James Riley said. “We have a chance to get a different seed. Different seeds have some benefits if we get a conference championship at home. But the main focus was to keep guys in rhythm.”
One game from the end of their second regular season, the Sounders have now defeated every team in MLS. Chivas had been that stubborn last team -- and Seattle was not only 0-2-2 against the Goats, but had never scored against them.
“We talked about that before the game: that we hadn’t scored against them in league and that we hadn’t beat them yet in league,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “We didn’t want them to always be that boogie team that would always be on that side of the ledger for us. So from that standpoint, the guys definitely wanted to go out and change it.”
“I thought we started off the game really well. The two goals were well-taken: the individual effort by Zakuani off a good pass from Jeff Parke. The second goal was a great combination. … I was pleased pretty much with what we did for the first 60 minutes. I was a little bit displeased in the last 30. But sometimes when you get to this stage and things are going well for your team and you feel you have the thing in hand, maybe you take your foot off the gas pedal a little bit, and maybe that’s what we did. But on the same token, late goals are something that we’re not ever happy about.”
Scoring Summary:SEA--Zakuani 10 (Parke 1) 9SEA--Alonso 1 (Zakuani 6, Montero 10) 25CHV--Padilla 6 (Espinoza 3) 92+ CHIVAS USA--Zach Thornton, Mariano Trujillo, Jonathan Bornstein, Michael Umana,Ante Jazic, Rodolfo Espinoza, Jorge Flores, Michael Lahoud, Paulo Nagamura,Jesus Padilla, Giancarlo Maldonado (Sal Zizzo 76). TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Flores 4);SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 tied with 1);FOULS: 5 (Lahoud 2,Umana 2);OFFSIDE: 2;CORNER KICKS: 5;SAVES: Thornton 1; CAUTIONS: Nagamura26; EJECTIONS: None. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC--Kasey Keller, James Riley, Leo Gonzalez, Jeff Parke,Patrick Ianni (Tyrone Marshall 51), Sanna Nyassi (Alvaro Fernandez 60),Nathan Sturgis, Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua 87),Blaise Nkufo. TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Montero 4);SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Zakuani 2);FOULS: 13 (Gonzalez 3,Marshall 3);OFFSIDE: 4;CORNER KICKS: 5;SAVES: Keller 3; CAUTIONS: Zakuani 59,Montero 84; EJECTIONS: None. Referee: Edvin JurisevicReferee's Assistants: Craig Lowry, C.J. Morgante4th Official: Yader Reyes.Attendance: 36,356.Temperature: 50 and Clear.
84th minute: Fredy Montero just picked up a yellow card, meaning he will miss next week's season-ender in Houston, serving a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
Moments later, he subbed out with Nate Jaqua coming in.
Season attendance record: With tonight's crowd of 36,356, the Sounders end this regular season with an average attendance of 36,173 -- most in MLS history and breaking their own record of a season ago.
59th minute: Alvaro Fernandez in for Nyassi.
59th minute: Yellow card to Zakuani. However, if he happens to pick one up next week at Houston, he will be fined, but he will not have to miss the first playoff game. Yellow-card accumulations do not carry over into the postseason.
51st minute: Marshall in, Ianni out.
Second half: ... has just kicked off. No substitutes on either side.
Halftime: Sounders up, 2-0. Chivas looking very much like a team that's ready for this season to be over.
However, that isn't reflected in the stats where both teams have taken six shots, both put two on goal, both have taken three corners.
26th minute: Another nice Seattle goal, this one beautiful for its patience. Montero holds the ball in the area, lays it off to Zakuani who carries toward the endline before touching on to Alonzo, who knocked it to the far post from about six yards.
Ninth minute: SOunders move ahead 1-0 on what could be a goal-of-the-year contender: Steve Zakuani runs from the top of the area through four Chivas defenders, then jukes past Zack Thornton and into the open net. It all started with an assist from Parke.
That is the Sounders' first-ever MLS goal vs. Chivas, after 368 scoreless minutes.
First three minutes: Sounders swarming with several offensive chances, most off of some terrible Chivas passing.
Kickoff: The game has begun. Chivas in red-and-white vertical stripes/blue; Sounders in green/blue.
Cool night: It's right around 50 degrees. The whole Chivas lineup wore jackets while the anthem played. And several Sounders are going with long-sleeve jerseys.
Banner unfurled: A banner acknowledging the Sounders' second U.S. Open Cup has apparently been unfurled. I say apparently because it's hanging pretty much over the press box, so I can't really see... but that seems to be what the crowd is cheering.
Golden scarf: It goes tonight to USA national team and former UW star goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Lineup: Even with little on the line tonight, the Sounders are going with a pretty typical starting lineup against Chivas.
Sounders: GK, Keller; D Riley, Parke, Ianni, Gonzalez; M Nyassi, Alonso, Sturgis, Zakuani; F Montero, Nkufo. Reserves: Boss, Fernandez, Fucito, Jaqua, Levesque, Marshall, Wahl.
Chivas: GK Thornton; D Trujillo, Umana, Jazic, Bornstein; M Espinoza, Lahoud, Nagamura, Flores; F Padilla, Maldonado. Reserves: Guppy, Borja, Braun, Cuesta, Romero, Zemanski, Zizzo.
Pregame: It's a beautiful evening for Sounders' Fan Appreciation Night and the final home game of the regular season, vs. Chivas USA at 8 p.m. at Qwest and on ESPN2.
Chivas is out of the playoffs no matter what. And the Sounders can't get home-pitch advantage for the first round no matter what -- but they could still finish fifth through eighth, along with any seeding/opponent/second round advantages that may or may not come with that.
We will keep this post open all evening with pregame, in-game and postgame news, notes and quotes, along with your comments.