[HTML1]A moment of Seattle brilliance and another moment of Chivas USA ineptitude combined Saturday to give Sounders FC a 2-0 win at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The Sounders helped themselves in the 22nd minute when designated player Obafemi Martins broke free in the penalty area and calmly chipped a goal in over Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
However, the scoring ended with an embarrassing error by Chivas defender Mario de Luna, who headed in an own goal in the 33rd minute.
“The first goal was a good goal,” coach Sigi Schmid told KONG-TV at halftime. “I thought Oba finished that really well. We told him Kennedy goes down early sometimes. We got a little fortunate on the second goal. We had a couple of other chances.”
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Seattle coasted to victory from there, but the win could come at significant cost.
MLS Best XI midfielder Osvaldo Alonso – who returned to action after recovering from a groin injury – left the game in the 22nd minute after suffering a thigh injury.
Then, in the 72nd minute, referee Ricardo Salazar showed Martins a straight red card after Martins became tangled with Chivas’ Gabriel Far fan and Martin’s foot seemed to contact Far fan’s head as the two went to the ground.
Unless the red-card is rescinded, Martins will miss the Sounders next MLS match Saturday, when Vancouver visits CenturyLink Field. In that case, he would join the growing list of would-be starters already known to be out for that game, including Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans (national team duty) and Shalrie Joseph (disciplinary suspension). There was no immediate prognosis on Alonso; however he walked off the pitch with a notable limp.
However, the Sounders (5-4-3) are becoming used to making do with makeshift lineups, as Schmid started his 12th different group of starters in 12 league games Saturday.
And for all of the frustrations of the season, the three points picked up at Chivas (3-7-2) gives Seattle 18 through 12 games – the second-best total at this point in club history. It also puts the Sounders on that 1 ½-point per game clip that Schmid says is usually the safe zone for playoff qualification.
The win was Seattle’s fourth in five games, while the Goats’ winless streak grew to eight games.
“This was the right time for us to move forward, and that win I think will give us confidence for the rest of the season,” Seattle defender Djimi Traore told KONG. “The main thing for us was don’t concede a goal. Keep a clean sheet and the strikers will do the rest.”Attendance:
75-76 minutes: Sounders make final subs: Estrada and Burch on for Rosales and Martinez.
71' Red card to Obafemi Martins. Seattle will play a man down, and Martins, of course, will miss the Whitecaps' visit next weekend.
Second half: ... has just begun.
Halftime: Sounders 2, Chivas 0.
36' Yellow on Mauro Rosales ... earned.
33' GOAL Seattle. Horrible tell-your-grandchildren-you-saw-it own-goal header by the Goats. Sounders, 2-0.
22' GOAL Sounders. Neagle slips nice pass to Martins who goes 1-on-1 with Dan Kennedy and beats him with a sweet scoop. Seattle, 1-0.
19' Osvaldo Alonso goes off after apparently re-injuring his groin. Andy Rose in.
First 15 minutes:Feeling out. No real chances yet. Last five minutes opening up a bit for Seattle.
First kick: ... has been struck. We're under way, Sounders in rave/rave, Goats in red stripes/blue.
Lineup: For Sounders: Gspurning; Yedlin, Scott, Traore, Gonzalez; Rosales, Alonso, Carrasco, Martinez; Neagle, Martins. Reserves: Hahnemann, Hurtado, Burch, Rose, Caskey, Estrada, Ochoa.
Chivas starters: Kennedy; Vilchez, Velasquez, Burling, de Luna; Avila, Alvarez, Minda, Farfan, Villanfana; Correa. Reserves: Rivera, Borja, Bowen, Bolanos, McLain, Purdy, Iraheta.
Pregame: A couple of teams in need of points meet tonight at Home Depot Center: Sounders at Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m. The game will be shown on KONG 6/16, heard on the usual radio outlets, and tweeted @donruiztnt.
I'll also keep this blog post open through the game, and afterward add coaches and players quotes as they come in. First up, probably, will be the lineups, with Sounders coach Sigi Schmid once again having to put together a starting 11 made up of guys with enough energy in this third game in seven days. He'll also be without Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans due to national team duty, Shalrie Joseph due to disciplinary suspension, and Steve Zakuani and perhaps also Osvaldo Alonso due to injury.