In beating Chivas USA 2-1 Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders did something they hadn’t done all year: Win a match after conceding the first goal. The game winner came in the 89th minute when Eddie Johnson, after taking a fabulous cross from Fredy Montero, headed in the second his two goals, to the delight of 38,934. “It’s always good to come back to our home field and get a win like this,” said Johnson, whose two goals established a single-season franchise record of 13, breaking Montero’s previous mark of 12 (2009 and 2011). “We started out slow, but we knew if we played to our strength the game would come back to us.”
The win enabled the Sounders to move to 13-6-8 and into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference. Seattle has won five of its past seven MLS matches and lost just once (6-1-4) in its past 11. The Sounders are now just six points back of San Jose.
The Sounders matched a franchise record by defeating Chivas 6-2 Aug. 25 at the Home Depot Center, but came out sluggishly and conceded six shots on goal — to a Chivas team that hadn’t won in its last four matches — before taking one themselves.
One of the six, by Nick LaBrocca eight minutes in, whistled past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning just inside the right post.
It was the first tally allowed by Gspurning at CenturyLink Field since he ceded a penalty kick against San Jose March 31, a streak of 389 minutes.
The Sounders netted the equalizer in the 28th minute when Johnson headed in a free kick from Christian Tiffert. Johnson now leads MLS with nine headed goals.
Seattle kept possession more than 64 percent of the time in the first half, but Chivas USA managed just as many shots on goal as the Sounders, six.
The Sounders had multiple scoring chances in the second half, but couldn’t connect until Johnson’s header in the 89th minute.
The Sounders nearly scored in the 59th minute when Brad Evans hit the post. Johnson got into the box on a run after a ball from Zakuani. After a couple moves, he chipped a short cross to an open Evans at the far post, but his shot went off the woodwork.
Steve Zakuani made his first home start since scoring the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over Chicago April 9, 2011.
Seattle is 4-2-4 all-time against Chivas. Seattle defeated Chivas for the third time this season. After a 1-1 draw May 26, the Sounders scored a 4-1 win over the Goats in U.S. Open Cup play July 11 and beat them 6-2 Aug. 25.
The Sounders return to MLS action Saturday in Portland when they play a Cascadia Cup match against the Timbers. Seattle will not return to CenturyLink until Sept. 22 against San Jose.
Seattle Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans (Cordell Cato 84), Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert (Alex Caskey 61), Steve Zakuani (Andy Rose 75), Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Marc Burch, Sammy Ochoa, Jeff Parke.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 7; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 3.