A burst of Seattle offense and a moment of Chivas USA ineptitude combined Saturday to give Seattle Sounders FC a 2-0 Major League Soccer win at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The Sounders scored what proved to be the winner in the 22nd minute when designated player Obafemi Martins took a pass from Lamar Neagle into the penalty area and calmly chipped a goal in over Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
The goal was the fourth of the season for Martins, and at 317 minutes it was the quickest any Sounders player has ever reached the four-goal mark.
The game’s only other goal was more blooper than highlight. Chivas defender Mario de Luna got his head to a Mauro Rosales cross and knocked it into his 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.”
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 what was described as a thigh muscle injury.
Then, in the 70th minute, referee Ricardo Salazar showed Martins a red card after Martins’ foot appeared to whack the head of Chivas’ Gabriel Farfan as the two went to the ground in a tangle.
Unless the red card is rescinded, Martins will miss the Sounders’ next MLS match Saturday, when Vancouver visits CenturyLink Field.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 – Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans (national team duty) and Shalrie Joseph (disciplinary suspension). There was no immediate prognosis on Alonso; but he walked off the pitch with a limp.
The Sounders (5-4-3) are becoming used to making do with makeshift lineups, after 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 against Chivas (3-7-2) gives Seattle 18 through 12 games – the second-best total at this point in the club’s MLS history. It also puts the Sounders on the 11/2-point-per-game clip that Schmid considers the safe zone for playoff qualification.
The win was Seattle’s fourth in five MLS games, while the Goats lost for the fifth straight time, and by a combined score of 15-1. Seattle also extended its unbeaten streak against Chivas to nine games (5-0-4).
“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.”
More information on the match is available atblog.thenewstribune.com/soccer