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Thursday, July 4, 2013 - Page updated at 10:30 p.m.
Sounders knock off United, 2-0
By Joshua Mayers
Seattle Times staff reporter
Letting fans into the stadium, however, was another matter.
New security measures, particularly screenings by handheld metal detectors upon entry, led to a half-empty stadium at kickoff and massive lines outside that stretched across the street to Safeco Field.
“We never want our fans to miss any parts of our game,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “As a team, we want to make sure they know we missed them.”
The team also apologized on Twitter and its website for the unanticipated delays — 40 minutes, according to some fans — and even stopped using the metal detectors once the game started.
But Seattle had little to apologize for on the field.
Forward Obafemi Martins scored in each half, becoming the new team leader with six goals, and goalkeeper Michael Gspurning made four saves to earn his sixth shutout. The Sounders (7-5-3) have won four straight at home, matching a team record, and six of their last eight overall.
“We didn’t play our best, but the important thing is to get the three points,” Martins said.
Trailing 1-0 in the second half, the best chances to tie the game for D.C. (2-13-3) came through Chris Pontius, who had shots on goal in the 56th and 64th minute turned away by Gspurning. In the 86th minute, D.C. midfielder Perry Kitchen found some space for a shot in the penalty box, but Gspurning dived to keep it out.
Martins sealed the win in stoppage time with a hard-fought insurance goal just before the final whistle as Seattle set a team record with 13 goals in a span of four home games. The designated player became the quickest to six goals in franchise history at 636 minutes.
“I talked to Oba and said next time it’s better if he scores the second one a little earlier,” Gspurning joked.
The first score Wednesday came in the 19th minute when midfielder Brad Evans sprung Martins on a breakaway, which the veteran calmly finished past goalkeeper Joe Willis.
“I had him in my sights the whole time,” said Evans, whose three assists are tied for the team lead. “I was lucky to squeeze (a pass) through a small little gap and the finish from there was top class.”
The implications of the early strike weren’t good for the visitors, who came in 0-11-1 this season when allowing the first goal.
Seattle, for that matter, is 32-0-8 when scoring first, the longest active unbeaten run in MLS that dates to the end of the 2010 season.
“It was one of those games you just have to roll up your sleeves and grind out,” Schmid said. “You have to find different ways to win games throughout the season, and today I thought we accomplished that.”
• Sounders FC’s next game is on the road Saturday at Vancouver. The two teams met less than a month ago, a 3-2 home win for Seattle on June 8.
• Seattle was without midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (quad) and defender DeAndre Yedlin (shoulder) but both are expected back against the Whitecaps.
• Fourteen of Sounders FC’s 21 MLS goals have been scored by Martins, Eddie Johnson or Lamar Neagle.
• Wednesday’s crowd was Seattle’s third-largest for an MLS game this season.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.
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