By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
CARSON, Calif. – The Seattle Sounders wanted to crush any Chivas USA upset hopes early Wednesday, and they did that, streaking to a 4-0 lead in the first 42 minutes before finishing with a 4-2 win at StubHub Center.
The Sounders went into the match with back-to-back wins, and they extended that to three while increasing their lead atop Major League Soccer.
Chivas had come in on a seven-game winless streak, and that was extended too. However, Marco Delgado’s goal in the 51st minute ended a 596-minute scoreless streak for the Goats.
Obafemi Martins and Andy Rose each had two goals for the Sounders.
“I thought we did a good job,” coach Sigi Schmid told JOEtv at halftime. “We talked about making sure we came out strong, we weren’t in a lull, and the guys responded really well.”
Seattle opened the scoring in the 11th minute, when Brad Evans sent a corner kick into the box, where Chad Marshall fought to redirect it forward and Martins knocked it in from a couple of yards out.
Martins scored again five minutes later, finishing a break that began with Clint Dempsey knocking a ball wide to Lamar Neagle behind the Chivas defense. Running two-on-one at goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, Neagle sent the ball over to Martins who knocked it into the open net.
Seattle got on the board a third and fourth time with near-identical goals just four minutes apart: Evans free kicks to Rose who finished from the left side.
By halftime, the Sounders were up 4-0, and having fun.
“I know Dempsey wants a goal, and he doesn’t want to come out,” Schmid said. “He doesn’t want to come out until he gets a goal, and Oba probably wants a hat trick. So you’ve got to take that into account as well. What we want to do is make sure we don’t get anybody hurt.”
Dempsey didn’t get his goal, and Martins didn’t get his hat trick, as Chivas got the only two goals of the second half.
The first came from Delgado, assisted by Eric Avila. The other came in the 60th minute on a penalty kick by Ryan Finley after a foul by Zach Scott.
However, the Sounders stopped the Goats’ run from there and the final half hour played out scorelessly.
“Anytime you go four-up in a half you kind of let up the breaks a little bit,” Evans told JOEtv. “Minds might be set into the next couple of days off. Important to get the three points, and that’s all that matters right now.”
Seattle moved to 16-7-3 on the season and five points ahead of Los Angeles and D.C. United in the Supporters Shield Race. It also was their seventh straight win over Chivas.
The Goats fell to 6-14-6 and remain last in the Western Conference.
As expected, the Sounders started Neagle at midfield in place of Marco Pappa, who scored two goals Wednesday in Guatemala’s Central American Cup-opening victory. However, there was one less anticipated change at midfield: Rose starting in place of Gonzalo Pineda.
Martins’ two goals allowed him to catch and pass Dempsey for the team lead with 12.
The Sounders return to league play at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 when Real Salt Lake visits CenturyLink Field.