With several regulars returning, the Sounders pulled together a lineup that came from behind Sunday night to prevail 2-1 over the worst team in MLS West, Chivas — only the second win in Seattle’s last six matches. Lamar Neagle’s score in the 57th minute sent home delighted a crowd of 38,463 at CenturyLink Field, extending the home unbeaten streak to eight, a club record.
Chivas stunned the Sounders early when prized rookie Erick Torres, a 20-year-old in his second MLS game, scored in the 16th minute after taking a cross that slipped past two defenders. A few minutes later, Torres barely missed on a second scoring opportunity when his straight-on shot was deflected over the crossbar by backup goalie Andrew Weber.
The Sounders regained their balance in the 23rd minute when Obafemi Martins slipped a sly roller forward between defenders that went to the feet of Brad Evans, who scored from 15 yards.
Evans and Martins returned to the starting lineup after injuries left them out of the previous game, a 1-1 home draw against Colorado. Also returning were defenders Djimi Traore (hamstring) and Patrick Ianni, starting his first game in nearly a year.
Despite a 10-2 shot advantage for Seattle, the game stayed tied into halftime. In the second half, Martins again played set-up, sending a long, rolling cross across the top of the area, where it was slightly redirected by Mauro Rosales to Neagle, who slammed it home from 12 yards. Neagle, starting in place of Eddie Johnson (national callup), scored for a personal-best fifth time this season.
The Sounders (8-7-4) improved their record against Chivas to 6-0-4 in the past 10 meetings. They began the day in eighth place, ahead of only Chivas, due in large part to having played only 18 matches, fewest in MLS. Chivas fell to 4-12-5. The three points moved Seattle past San Jose into seventh.
Late in the game, Martins had a flying collision with Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy and limped off the field with a sore right knee, only to return to play moments later.
The Sounders’ three-game homestand concludes with a 7 p.m. match Saturday against Dallas.
NOTES — Earlier Sunday in Chicago, the Sounders’ Eddie Johnson started and played a full game in a 1-0 triumph over Panama that gave the U.S. Men’s National Team the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Brek Shea scored the goal in the 66th minutes, 42 seconds after he was subbed in, tapping the ball from two yards after Landon Donovan’s more distant shot rolled to his feet. Johnson is expected to rejoin the team Monday . . . Chivas was the subject of unwanted national media attention when the HBO series “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on Tuesday looked at a discrimination suit filed by two former coaches of the Chivas academy who claimed they were fired because they were not of Mexican descent. A Chivas spokesman denied the charge, and MLS declined comment, citing the litigation.