Sounders dominate lowly Chivas for 2-0 victory
Obafemi Martins scored, as did a Chivas defender on his own goal, as the Sounders improved to 5-4-3 in MLS play.
Special to The Seattle Times
Latest from the Sounders FC blog
Thursday notes: Leo Gonzalez in doubt for Saturday with hamstring injury NEW - 4/24, 03:13 PM
CARSON, Calif. — Sounders FC bounced back from a difficult week with a far better showing than in their last trip to The Home Depot Center just six days ago, pulling out a 2-0 victory over Chivas USA that served as sort of a microcosm of this up-and-down campaign.
Obafemi Martins scored a nifty goal in the 21st minute and the Sounders were gifted another one 12 minutes later on an odd own goal, and the three points felt good after last week's debacle against the Los Angeles Galaxy and the U.S. Open Cup loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies three days later.
"I don't think we played brilliant. I think we did what we needed to do to win the game," coach Sigi Schmid said.
The win was marred by another red card, the team's fifth of the season, to Martins in the 71st minute, and another injury for Osvaldo Alonso, who returned from his groin injury but lasted just 20 minutes before he felt something in his quadriceps.
Martins teamed with Lamar Neagle up top, and they connected on the opening goal, finishing a superb sequence up the left wing. The Sounders carved up Chivas' defense with three quick passes, from Leo Gonzalez to Mario Martinez to Neagle and into space for Martins, who streaked alone into the box and chipped goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
The Sounders were gifted the second goal. Mauro Rosales took a pass into the box from DeAndre Yedlin and sent a looping cross toward the far post that was several yards away from Martins, the only attacking player nearby. Chivas right back Mario de Luna tried to nod it back to Kennedy but hit it too hard, sending the ball past his goalkeeper and into the net for an own goal.
"I thought our character was good," Schmid said. "We got up the first half 2-0, started off the second half slowly, but I thought we were getting close, getting some chances again, and then at that point the game changed as we had to roll up our sleeves and just work to get out of here 2-0."
It changed when Martins was sent off by referee Ricardo Salazar, hardly a Sounders favorite, after tangling with Gabriel Farfan near midfield. They battled, fell to the turf, and Martins scraped his feet over the Chivas midfielder as he got up.
"For me, I didn't do anything," Martins said. "I was trying to get up and get the ball back, and (Farfan), he screamed, and the referee just looked at him, and they gave me a red card."
Salazar refused to talk to the media, and Schmid didn't want to discuss the call.
"Sometimes you agree with calls, sometimes you don't agree with calls," he said. "The league doesn't care what my opinion is, and the referee doesn't care what my opinion is.The thing I will says is in the NBA you foul out when you commit six fouls. When you have a player on the other team that is committing six, seven, eight fouls, he should foul out. He should be off the field. How he can stay on the field and get a yellow card after his seventh foul and you have other players getting yellow cards after two is amazing to me."
Farfan was cautioned following his seventh foul, four minutes later.
Martins nearly netted a third goal twice before halftime. The Nigerian forward couldn't turn on a ball from Andy Rose in the goal mouth and knocked it over the cross bar in the 38th minute. Two minutes later, Kennedy made a fine reaction save on Martins' header from 7 yards, and defender Joaquin Velazquez smothered the ball to prevent Martins from getting off a second shot.
• The Sounders will be missing a lot of key guys for the Vancouver game. Martins will be out after the red card, and midfielder Shalrie Joseph has one more game on his suspension. Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans are with the U.S. for another 2 ½ weeks, and Mario Martinez now joins Honduras' national team.
• Chivas, in turmoil following head coach Jose Luis "Chelis" Sanchez Sola's dismissal this week, managed just two decent opportunities, and goalkeeper Michael Gspurning dealt with both of them, a first-half shot from Jose Erick Correa off a through ball and Tristan Bowen's blast, parried past the post, in the 89th minute.
• The victory gave the Sounders their second-best MLS record, with 18 points, following 12 games. Their best mark, 7-3-2 for 23 points, was posted last year.
• Chivas USA was guided by Sacha van der Most, its academy director, after Chelis' ouster Wednesday. Jose Luis Real, a former technical director for Mexican club Guadalajara and its crosstown rival Atlas, arrives next week to take the reins.
|Seattle||2 0 — 2|
|Chivas USA||0 0 — 0|
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Lamar Neagle, Mario Martinez (Marc Burch, 77th), Mauro Rosales (David Estrada, 76th), Osvaldo Alonso (Andy Rose, 21st), Servando Carrasco, Obafemi Martins.
Chivas USA — Dan Kennedy, Walter Vilchez (Tristan Bowen, 70th), Mario De Luna, Joaquin Velazquez, Bobby Burling, Carlos Alvarez, Eric Avila, Gabriel Farfan, Jorge Villafana, Oswaldo Minda (Marvin Iraheta, 64th), Jose Correa (Miller Bolanos, 61st).