A game destined for a disappointing draw for the Sounders suddenly catapulted into the win column in the 94th minute when late sub Andy Rose scored from 15 yards to give Seattle a 3-2 triumph over Real Salt Lake Friday night at the Clink.
The fourth win in a row gave the Sounders the season series 2-1 over third-place Western rival RSL and a four-point lead over the second-place Los Angeles Galaxy in the race for the Supporters Shield.
Well-rested after a nine-day break, the Sounders nevertheless fell behind early before taking a 2-1 halftime lead, then lost the lead in the 50th minute.
Despite heavy pressure and a man advantage after RSL’s Nat Borchers was ejected in the 72nd minute, the draw loomed until a scramble at the box yielded the ball to an unmarked Rose, whose worm-burner went under a defender and under the hands of longtime GK nemesis Nick Rimando.
The game ended a minute later, to the delight of 38,976, who were joined in SoDo celebration five minutes later by the 29,090 at Safeco who witnessed the Mariners’ 4-2 win over the Oakland A’s.
Javier Morales opened the scoring in the 30th minute when he sent a screamer between the legs of defender Zach Scott and past GK Stefan Frei.
Seattle’s Lamar Neagle squared accounts in the 38th minute when he wheeled from nearly 30 yards and blasted the ball past a leaping Rimando.
The evening’s slickest goal came at 43 minutes when Obafemi Martins, who missed on three decent looks earlier, offered a backheel pass to Clint Dempsey, who returned a pass along the ground to a streaking Martins. He baited Rimando into coming off his line before sending a slow ball off the goalie’s right hand that trickled into the net.
But the Sounders’ momentum went away in the 50th minute when from 18 yards Joao Plata boomed a shot that glanced off defender Ozzie Alonso but stayed goal-bound, clanging off the far post and dropping behind a leaping Frei.
In the 72nd minute, the Sounders lost a chance for the go-ahead goal when Martins, on a breakaway, was pulled down from behind by Borchers, who accepted the red card without complaint and left RSL to play with 10 for the rest of the game.
The Sounders play Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup championship in Philadelphia against the Union.