Sounders FC rallies, beats Chivas USA, 2-1
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The comeback was coming.
Sounders FC had gone nearly 11 months without a victory after allowing the first goal, but that ugly trend changed Sunday night with a much-needed 2-1 home win against last-place Chivas USA before 38,463 at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle, upon conceding a sloppy opener, got goals from Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle to snap a three-game winless streak and get back in the playoff race in the competitive Western Conference.
“It was a big one for us, pushes us up on the table,” said defender DeAndre Yedlin, who leaves Monday for the MLS All-Star Game.
The Sounders (8-7-4) have gone eight straight home games without defeat, matching a team record and dating to the season opener against Montreal.
The numbers are even more impressive against Chivas USA. Seattle hasn’t lost in the head-to-head series since 2009, an 8-0-4 run that includes two wins in the U.S. Open Cup.
The Sounders’ last win after allowing the first goal came Sept. 8, also at home against Chivas USA and also by a 2-1 score.
“I’m pleased with our performance,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “I thought it was an upgrade over how we played last week and we have got to continue to concentrate on just playing good soccer.”
Seattle broke a 1-1 tie in the 57th minute on a nice series of passes that led to Neagle, a Federal Way native, slamming in his fifth goal of the season, matching his career high.
Designated players Obafemi Martins and Mauro Rosales had assists in the buildup as Neagle scored his first goal since capping another comeback win June 8 vs. Vancouver.
“There was a difference when we went down this time,” said Neagle. “We had confidence; we know as a group right away that we could get it back.”
The goal also snapped a 604-minute drought since Rosales had factored into a scoring play. The 32 year old has 30 career assists for Seattle, behind only the 34 of Fredy Montero in franchise history.
The comeback, Rosales said, showed “character, desire and effort.”
It seemed only a matter of time before Seattle would break through, as the hosts fired a season-high 20 shots.
Chivas USA (4-12-5) took the lead in the 16th minute, stunning the home crowd. The play started on a Sounders turnover but was compounded by a calamitous defensive mix-up that resulted in Erick Torres finishing past goalkeeper Andrew Weber.
Seattle came into the game with a 0-7-1 record when conceding the first goal, the lone point coming last week in a 1-1 tie against Colorado.
The Sounders didn’t need long to equalize, as Martins slotted a pass forward to Evans, in stride, allowing the midfielder to slot a near-post shot past Kennedy in the 23rd minute.
The winner came later.
“I think momentum is turning a bit,” said Weber, who had a highlight-reel save in the 30th minute en route to his first MLS win with the Sounders. “I think the guys are getting energized again.”
•Iannimade his season debut for the Sounders. His year got off to a rough start when he broke his foot in the preseason.
• Eddie Johnson is expected to return from duty with the U.S. men’s team Monday and be available for the Dallas game. The forward played all 90 minutes Sunday as the U.S. won the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 win in the final against Panama.