David Estrada working tirelessly for Sounders FC
Sounders FC's leading scorer ended a long drought in Saturday's 1-1 tie against Chivas USA, but goals might not be the best way to measure his impact.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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CARSON, Calif. — Ten games and 863 minutes passed in between goals for David Estrada.
But strange as it may sound, goals probably aren't the best way to measure the impact of Sounders FC's leading scorer. Proof of that came in Estrada's reaction to breaking his scoring drought with a 61st-minute equalizer Saturday to help Seattle salvage a 1-1 road tie against Chivas USA.
"It's always nice for a forward to score goals," said the California native, who played in front of about 50 family members, "but I'm mainly trying to open up space and try to have Fredy (Montero) be the one that scores."
Estrada leads Seattle (7-3-3) with five goals, but is more than happy to be a facilitator at the expense of individual glory.
In the past few weeks, he has started at three positions — forward, right midfielder and left midfielder — and often interchanged within games. His versatility and tireless work rate have been indispensable amid the busiest stretch of games in Sounders history.
"I think he worked hard," coach Sigi Schmid said before catching himself. "I mean, David always works hard and gives you that (effort)."
Estrada is one of two Sounders who have played in all 15 games this season, including two CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal legs in March. The other is Montero, who Schmid thinks was starting on Saturday to feel the effect of a team-high 1,286 minutes played.
That meant more running for Estrada, the most in-shape Sounder according to fitness coach Dave Tenney.
"I'm more than willing to do that," Estrada said.
• A two-week break from MLS action will serve the Sounders well. Schmid said Montero and midfielder Alvaro Fernandez were among those that looked tired Saturday, and that some of the defenders were "playing on fumes." Seattle plays a U.S. Open Cup game Wednesday — the team's ninth match in 32 days — but doesn't have a league game until June 16 at Montreal.
• Chivas USA defender James Riley, who played for Seattle from 2009 to 2011, went over to spend time with the Sounders fans at The Home Depot Center on Saturday. A former fan favorite, Riley said he wanted to thank the fans he came to know well. He called the first game against his former team a "special" day for him.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com. On Twitter @joshuamayers.