Sounders beat Chivas USA 1-0

  • By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
  • Wednesday, September 4, 2013 9:46pm
  • SportsSports

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders’ 1-0 win over Chivas USA on Wednesday pushed them to the top of Major League Soccer in points per game.

It also drew them even with Los Angeles for second place in the Western Conference, with a game in hand.

And it also said a lot about the Sounders’ depth, as they pulled off the victory despite the absence of stars and starters such as Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson (U.S. national team duty), Obafemi Martins, Brad Evans, Shalrie Joseph, Steve Zakuani (injury) and Leo Gonzalez (red card suspension).

“Certainly some guys I think stepped up today,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “David Estrada hadn’t played in a long time, and he stepped up with a really good effort. … (Marc) Burch is a guy who has had to play a lot of left midfield for us because we’ve been short people there — he stepped up and played well. We needed Zach (Scott) to go to outside back because we tried to keep more veterans on the field, and he came on and did well. You always want to have a team that has good depth.”

All of the absences had been known in advance with the exception of Martins, whom the Sounders had hoped would be able to help compensate for the loss of forwards Dempsey and Johnson. However, Martins’ sprained ankle failed a pregame fitness test, and he was ruled unavailable for a fourth straight game.

With the Sounders’ top three forwards unavailable, Schmid moved Lamar Neagle from midfield to forward, and he responded with the game-winning goal.

That one came in the 24th minute, when Burch launched a free kick in front of the Chivas goal, where Neagle took a touch off his hip and then side-kicked the ball past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy from about 5 yards.

“The ball dropped right in my lap — literally,” Neagle said. “It dropped right over somebody’s head. It was kind of unexpected. I took a bad touch, but I ended up being able to get my foot up high enough to get (the ball) down.”

It was Neagle’s sixth goal of the season, a career high and one behind club co-leaders Martins and Johnson.

“Lamar has been great for us,” Schmid said. “… When the opportunity came he seized it, and he’s obviously done well. He’s obviously a very influential player for us this year.”

Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and the Seattle defense made that goal stand up, as they recorded their third consecutive shutout.

“It’s been an absolutely great team effort, and of course as a goalkeeper I like it very much,” Gspurning said. “It’s the way we want to create a momentum that makes it tough to score on us. We’ve achieved this now in three games, and that’s a good thing.”

The win moved the Sounders record to 13-8-4, good for a league-high 1.72 ppg. Chivas fell to 5-15-7.

The result also extended several streaks for Seattle: five straight wins over Chivas; unbeaten (4-0-2) against Chivas at home; unbeaten (7-0-4) over 11 straight games versus Chivas; a league best 6-1-1 since July 20; unbeaten (8-0-3) over the last 11 home games overall, and a league-high streak of 37-0-8 when scoring the first goal.

“It’s good that we have a positive run, but nobody forgot about the start of the season,” Gspurning said. “We took our lessons. We know this is hard work to get back here. We fighted back after this bad start. Of course, if there is a chance to take (Supporters Shield) we want to take it.”

The game was played before a crowd of 38,317 at CenturyLink Field — Seattle’s smallest home crowd of the season. The match originally had been scheduled for April 7 and was moved to accommodate the early season CONCACAF Champions League schedule.

The Sounders’ three-game homestand continues Saturday when the Chicago Fire visit. Schmid said Martins’ status is day-to-day and therefore unsettled for the weekend match.

More in Sports

WSU defensive lineman voted a first-team All-American

Washington’s Pettis and WSU’s O’Connell make the second team; UW’s Vea earns a spot on the third team

BLOG: Carter Hart named WHL Goalie of the Week (yes, again)

Carter Hart has been named the WHL Goaltender of the Week for… Continue reading

It’s official: NL MVP Stanton now slugging for the Yankees

The Yankees announce they have acquired the slugger from the Marlins in a four-player deal

An ugly ending as Seahawks lose to Jaguars, 30-24

The other bad news: The Jacksonville Jaguars intercepted Russell Wilson three times.

All Cs and Ds: Grading the Seahawks in loss to Jaguars

Seattle’s defensive unit earns one of its lowest marks of the season.

Seahawks gave the Jaguars a scare in the fourth quarter

Down 27-10, Seattle rallied with a pair of long touchdown passes.

Silvertips run their winning streak to nine straight

Bryce Kindopp scores the winning goal with 18 remaining in a 4-3 victory over Tri-City

Williams leads No. 12 Gonzaga to 97-70 rout of Washington

The contest was the first game in Seattle between the in-state foes since 2005

Seahawks Notebook: Eddie Lacy inactive for game with Jaguars

The decision not to use the veteran running back saved the Seahawks $62,500

Most Read